Signal for other funds to take same steps
The Basel-based Novartis Pension Fund, the pension scheme of pharmaceuticals and health-care group Novartis, believes it was the novel idea to ‘monetise’ its real estate portfolios that led the IPE Awards judges to pick it as country group investment strategy winner for Switzerland.
One judge commended it on the grounds of it being a “straightforward, common-sense approach”. The fund has a “clearly stated problem, a clear solution and clear benefits,as well as evidence of leadership”.
“This was a sound piece of innovation on our part and we feel very proud to have won the country leader award for investment strategy as a result,” says Daniel Weiss, a portfolio manager at the company.
Weiss says Novartis is well aware of the benefits winning the award could bring. “We hope it is a signal for other funds to follow suit and start ‘monetising’ their real estate holdings, thereby enhancing the liquidity of their investments, which in turn leads to greater investment flexibility,” he explains.
However, Wiess says the work doesn’t stop there. “The IPE Award not only enhances our reputation externally, but acts as a perfect motivator. It reaffirms our aspirations to become one of the most innovative and best-in-its-class pension funds in Switzerland. We will continue to endeavour to find state-of-the-art solutions to pension fund issues for the benefit of our active members and pensioners,” he comments.
Weiss is also aware of the benefits the award could bring internationally. “We naturally welcome the exposure winning the award will bring for us across Europe. It is a great marketing tool and provides a perfect forum to meet and exchange ideas with our peers in all areas of the pension fund industry,” he says.
Overall, Weiss confirms the award is a great honour and will encourage the Novartis pension fund to achieve its goals. “Receiving an award of this type is indeed a great honour. Not only does it acknowledge all the hard work we have put in up till now, but acts as a driving force for future success.”