Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – The vacant CIO position at Finnish pension fund Varma has been filled with an internal candidate. Markus Aho, appointed as Head of Private Investments at the beginning of January this year, will take on the role of Varma’s CIO in June to replace Reima Rytsölä, who is leaving his role as deputy CEO and CIO to become the CEO of Solidium on August 1.
Markus Aho, Head of Private Investments since January 2022 after serving as Varma’s Head of Private Equity and Infrastructure since mid-2016, will also become a member of Varma’s Executive Group. He will report to Varma President and CEO, Risto Murto. Prior to his career at Varma, Aho worked at Pontos and Accenture, among other companies.
“I am pleased to announce Markus Aho as Varma’s Chief Investment Officer and a member of the Executive Group,” says CEO Risto Murto. “He is well acquainted with Varma’s investment operations, work culture and values. Markus is very well equipped to take on this demanding role.”
“I am pleased to announce Markus Aho as Varma’s Chief Investment Officer and a member of the Executive Group.”
“I am grateful for the confidence shown in me and I look forward to starting in my new role. Varma’s investment operations are very strong, and together we will carry on the organisation’s long-term work to secure investment returns and solvency,” comments Aho. Aho will leave his position as Varma’s Head of Private Investments when assuming the CIO role. Varma’s investment operations are still headed by Reima Rytsölä, who will assume the role of CEO of Solidium on August 1.
“I am grateful for the confidence shown in me and I look forward to starting in my new role.”
After Varma’s investment portfolio achieved its highest annual return of 18.5 percent in its history last year, the return on its investments was a negative 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2022. The value of its investments edged down to €57.5 billion at the end of the quarter from about €59 billion at the end of 2021.
Of Varma’s investments, the best returns in the first quarter were generated by private equities (5.5 percent), unlisted equities (5.2 percent), real estate funds (3.4 percent) and hedge funds (2.1 percent). Of the main asset classes, equity investments yielded a negative 3.5 percent with listed equities down 7.5 percent and fixed-income investments as a group yielding a negative 2.7 percent, where bonds returned a negative 4.5 percent. Last year, Varma’s hedge fund investments, which account for about 16 percent of the pension fund’s investment portfolio, generated a return of 15.3 percent.