SWITZERLAND - Reto Kuhn, ex-Pension Fund Services' (PFS) chief executive will head a new division at Zurich-based Sustainable Asset Management (SAM).

The Swiss asset manager has hired the former head of the CHF3.4bn (€2.1bn) multi-employer scheme to help develop and sell sustainable alternative investment vehicles like "green" hedge funds and innovative products around water, climate, CO2 and renewable energy investments.

SAM has already announced the launch of its first sustainable hedge fund for the first half of this year.

Before co-founding PFS, Kuhn ran the pension fund for the Swissair flight staff one of the schemes which were joined together to form PFS, and which is now open to all companies.

He is now set to join SAM on February 1 but Kuhn left PFS in August together with another partner Heinz Ehrensberger. (See earlier IPE story: Swiss multi-employer scheme loses CEO and CFO)

"I am fascinated by the entrepreneurial and innovative environment at SAM as well as the potential in the field of sustainable alternative investments," Kuhn commented.

Reto Ringger, founder and chief executive at SAM, said he was glad to have hired "a successful entrepreneur and proven expert for alternative investments".

In 2007, the first year after Dutch investment manager Robeco bought into SAM, the Swiss sustainable assets manager increased its assets under management, through both institutional and private clients, from CHF10.2bn at year-end 2006 to CHF15.1bn. (See earlier IPE story: Robeco takes 64% stake of SAM Group)