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Winkler quits as CIO at Accuro in Zurich

SWITZERLAND - Zurich-based Accuro Asset Management is parting company with its chief investment officer Franz Winkler, following underperformance at the Accuro Global Top 20 Fund in excess of 12.5% against its benchmark MSCI World Index in Euro, in the first half of this year.

But there were other issues including differing views about investment tactics, according to Andre Ludin, who is on the board of Accuro. Ludin, who is head of capital investments of the Basle-based Novartis group, is taking over as new CIO of the fund.

The fund, for which Winkler was responsible, had outperformed the MSCI World Index since the autumn of 2000, when Winkler joined Accuro, immediately after leaving the PKE pension fund serving parts of the Swiss electricity industry. He had run the equity portfolio very successfully there.

Investors were puzzled why the fund had underperformed, particularly since its figures were below those of Novartis and its pension fund. Both funds use the same strategy and Novartis is widely regarded as the peer of the Accuro fund.

Novartis has recently issued its returns on assets, which showed that for the first half of 2002, it had a total performance of 3.6%. The pension fund equity portfolio is above the MSCI World, says Ludin, who expects equity markets to go sideways for a period.

He applies what he calls a flexible strategy, which includes substantial holdings of cash. “The outlook for equity is only positive with a strong valuation oriented strategy because markets are nervous and volatile. We are not conforming to a ‘buy and hold strategy’.

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