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Former Publica head returns to Swiss buy-side at canton pension fund

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Werner Hertzog, the former director of Switzerland’s largest pension fund, Publica, and former managing director at Aon Hewitt Switzerland, has taken over as director of Bernische Pensionskasse (BPK), the CHF12bn (€11bn) public pension fund for the canton of the Swiss capital.

Hertzog took up his role last Monday, 12 December, having been appointed to the position by the board of directors in June.

He replaces Hansjürg Schwander, who is retiring after having been the head of BPK since 2009.

The Bern pension fund’s board referred to Hertzog as a “proven expert”, having led the Pensionskasse for the country’s federal public sector for seven years.

Hertzog was the head of Publica from 2004 to 2011.

He subsequently moved to Aon Hewitt, where he was the managing director for Switzerland until 2014.

He told IPE that, with his appointment at BPK, he was “back in the industry”.

“I’m on the buy-side again,” he said.

Hertzog parted ways with Aon Hewitt over what he said ultimately amounted to cultural differences, and differences of opinion that left him as a “persona non grata” within the firm.

However, he said he believed his reputation in Switzerland was enhanced rather than damaged as a result, and that he had been welcomed back by many.

Hertzog said it was too early to comment on any plans for BPK following his appointment.

The Pensionskasse had some CHF12bn in assets under management as at the end of December 2015.

It counts 36,000 active members and 14,000 pensioners, and 137 participating employers.

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