Switzerland’s Valais suspends pension manager

SWITZERLAND – The council of the Swiss canton of Valais has suspended the president of the investment committee for the Valais pension fund for teachers with immediate effect due to “irregularities”.

Following an enquiry by the canton’s finance inspectors into the investments of the investment committee between January 1 1997 and December 31 2002, it has been decided to suspend Ignace Rey, head of the investment committee, with immediate effect.

The head of the fund, Patrice Vernier, highlighted “irregularities in the management of the investments” to the council board at a meeting this week. A spokeswoman for the fund said that the exact “irregularities” would not be known until after a full investigation which is now underway.

However, Swiss asset management company IAM Independent Asset Management claims on its website that the suspension was as a result of “bad investments, notably in Canadian companies, which resulted in a loss of earnings for the fund of about ten million Swiss francs”.

The Swiss government has asked the canton council to propose a replacement for Rey today.

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