SWEDEN - Johan Held, chief investment officer of AP2, the second national pension fund in Sweden, has resigned and is leaving after just under 18 months at the helm.

Held, who joined AP2 in May 2008, is taking up the role of CIO at AFA Försäkring, which has SEK200bn (€19.6bn) in assets under management. He will replace Lars Öhrstedt who is retiring in the first half of 2010.

Held said he is looking forward to continuing the successful investment work at AFA and developing the operations further, albeit step-by-step.

"Perhaps the most important task will be to secure the means to meet new challenges in the capital markets and the regulatory changes affecting the business", said Held.

It is not yet clear who will step into his shoes at AP2. But during his time there, Held has focused on efficiency and streamlining the investment team, which resulted in three redundancies.

The team is now divided into equity and fixed income teams. The earlier structure was not divided according to asset class and his intention with this freer structure was to diversify the different sources of alpha internally. This turned out to be difficult when the markets took a nosedive in 2008 so a more traditional structure was put in place by Held.

AFA invests in Swedish and global equities and bonds, private equity as well as Swedish real estate. Its premium income totals SEK13bn.

It is owned by Sweden's labour market parties: the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) and the Swedish Federation of Salaried Employees in Industry and Services (PTK). AFA insures employees within the private sector, municipalities and county councils. 

AFA is also a non-profit organisation so the profits are used for various research, education and information. In particular, AFA supports medical research and the prevention of work-related illness and injuries.

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