Finnish state pension fund Valtion Eläkerahasto (VER) has appointed Mikko Räsänen as its head of fixed income, with the expectation that he will broaden the team’s spectrum of skills.

Räsänen takes over from Jukka Järvinen, head of fixed income at the €18.7bn pension fund for 15 years before leaving the job in March.

Previously a vice-president at the OP Financial Group in Finland, Räsänen will start his job at VER today.

Timo Viherkenttä, chief executive at VER, told IPE: “With his strong experience, Räsänen is expected to broaden further the spectrum of expertise in VER’s fixed income team, which has been making good risk-adjusted returns over the years.”

The pension fund’s fixed income allocation currently consists of a broadly diversified portfolio with a relatively high exposure to emerging markets, he said. 

“In the present low-interest-rate environment, generating good returns with a fixed income portfolio is a particularly challenging task,” Viherkenttä said.

During his years at OP Financial Group, Räsänen headed several different teams in portfolio management and product development.

The pension fund said the fixed income team, since March, had been led by Sami Lahtinen, who combined the interim role with his job as the head of overlay and hedge funds.

Viherkenttä said Räsänen would assume responsibility for VER’s fixed income portfolio, worth approximately €9bn.

This equates to an allocation of nearly 50% of the pension fund’s total assets.

Viherkenttä is VER’s new chief executive, having taken over the role from Maarit Säynevirta in June.