SWITZERLAND - Werner Hertzog, head of Publica, has said he is leaving Switzerland's largest public fund this summer.

He has been director of the fund since July 2004 and will be leaving on 30 June to "pursue new interests", according to the CHF33bn (€25.4bn) fund.

Publica's Kassenkommission, the body responsible for electing the new director, said it accepted Hertzog's decision with regret.

Hanspeter Lienhart, the commission's president, said no date had been set for the election of a new Publica head.

He added: "The commission will now have to discuss the manner of selecting a new director, and the next scheduled meeting is 24 February."

For 2010, Publica reported a 5.1% return. The fund also announced a cut in the conversion rate from 2012.

In other news, the CHF27bn first-pillar pension fund AHV has reported a preliminary return of 4.2% for 2010.

The fund said the result was dampened by a 10% exposure to foreign currencies, but that further losses could be stemmed by a hedge of 80% of the FX exposure.

The "good condition" of most bond markets influenced the result positively, it said.

Meanwhile, the AHV has now been split into three funds: the old-age fund (AHV), the disability fund (IV) and a fund for maternity and military payouts (EO), with each having separate asset allocations according to risk profile and return expectations.

Existing mandates were transferred into 'managed accounts', and three separate money market funds were set up for the three major currencies - euros, dollars and Swiss francs - to "simplify the treasury" for the three funds, which are still managed jointly.

Lastly, the pension fund-founded Swiss shareholder group Ethos has called on its members to oppose the executive remuneration scheme that pharmacy company Novartis will propose to shareholders at its next annual general meeting in mid-February.

Ethos said the variable remuneration of executive management was too high compared with the fixed remuneration.

Further, the various incentive plans are "not described in sufficient detail" to allow the establishment of a "clear link between remuneration received and achievement of pre-defined performance targets".