NETHERLANDS - Pension insurer Swiss Life's asset management arm has promoted Karel Altena to head Dutch investments, director Rob Delfos announced.

Altena, previously the group's senior portfolio manager fixed income, started the new function on August 1.

The move follows the earlier appointment of Gerard Sirks as successor to Zwitserleven's former chief investment officer Hans Molenaar and as director of Swiss Life Asset Management (Netherlands) in June this year. Altena will report to Sirks in his new position.

SLAM has over €12bn of assets under management from clients and Zwitserleven, the Dutch part of worldwide operating Swiss Life. SLAM reported a rise of 7.5% during 2005.

The news comes as Swiss Life, headquartered in Zurich, announces the sell of its Italian insurance business to bancApulia for an amount between €15m and €20m.

"The transaction has not been closed, hence we cannot give an exact amount yet," said a spokeswoman. The transaction is expected to be concluded at the end of this year.

Earlier this year Swiss Life already said it would be withdrawing form the Italian insurance market by selling both of its Italian insurance subsidiaries - staffing 23 people, generating CHF 20m (€11.9m) in gross premium income in 2005.
"For the bancApulia group this acquisition represents further expansion in the area of bancassurance," the firm said.