Finnish pension group Veritas Pension Insurance has poached Kari Vatanen from rival Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company to be its new CIO, effective March 1.
Vatanen replaces former CIO Niina Bergring, who left the pension fund in October to be director for business area asset management at Finnish private banking company Aktia Bank, effective Jan. 1.
It is hard to imagine a more exciting time than now to start working as a CIO in a pension insurance company,” Vatanen said in a statement. “Behind us we have more than 10 years of rising equity market and the rates have declined to the extreme low levels. The returns of traditional asset classes have been strong for many years, but in forthcoming scenarios risks seem higher than expected returns.”
Vatanen also warned that geopolitical tensions can drive all the markets down at the same time.
“Then there are no means left to diversify the risks in the investment portfolio,” he said. “In this economic environment it is valuable for institutional investors to be agile and able to update their investing beliefs.”
Vatanen was head of cross asset derivative strategies and allocation at Varma. He also was former chief risk officer of the pension fund. Prior to joining Varma, Vatanen was a senior portfolio analyst at Carnegie Asset Management, and before that was research manager/quantitative analyst at Evli Investment Management. For six years in the 1990s, he was head music manager of the Savonlinna Opera Festival.
He holds a master of science degree in engineering mathematics from Helsinki University of Technology, and a master’s degree in philosophy from University of Helsinki.
Veritas manages an investment portfolio worth €3.6 billion ($4 billion). The company´s investments consist of bonds, debt securities, real estate investments, and other investments.