Swedish pensions and insurance group Folksam announced it has formed a new company for the occupational pensions activities currently part of its life insurance division, and is applying for it to become an occupational pension company (tjänstepensionsföretag) under the country’s IORP II regulations.

Folksam said the newly-formed limited company, Folksam Tjänste, was applying to the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) with the aim of getting approval for the change in status from 1 July 2022.

Anna-Karin Laurell, head of the Folksam Liv business and the life insurance operation’s subsidiaries, said: “Folksam Liv is now laying the foundation to be able to carry out occupational pension operations in a separate occupational pension company in order to create the best conditions for our customers.”

Folksam said its life insurance subsidiary would continue as the parent company of the new occupational pension company following the transfer of the portfolio.

Folksam Liv will mainly conduct other life insurance operations, it said, and will comply with Solvency II regulations.

Folksam Tjänste will be about half the size of the parent company Folksam Liv, a spokeswoman for the firm told IPE, and about a fifth of the size of the whole life insurance group.

Folksam Group had total assets of SEK483bn (€47.1bn) at the end of 2020.

Mia Liblik has been appointed chief executive officer and board member of Folksam Tjänste. She has been working as strategic adviser for Folksam’s life insurance business area since March, and has previously been CEO of Folksam’s municipal pensions subsidiaries KPA Livförsäkring and KPA Pension and has headed up Folksam LO Pension.

Liblik has also chaired the European Association of Public Sector Pension Institutions (EAPSPI).

Folksam has held off seeking IORP status under Sweden’s regulatory regime based on the EU’s IORP II directive for longer than some of the country’s other large life-insurer pension providers.

Back in May, the group complained it was only customer-owned insurance companies that suffered “unjustified tax effects” when converting to occupational pension companies, while limited companies could avoid those drawbacks.

In today’s announcement, Folksam said it was still pushing for competitive neutrality in the tax area.

On 5 November, it said, the Ministry of Finance had submitted a proposal for changes to the tax legislation in order to address this.

“However, the Ministry of Finance’s proposal is narrowly designed and needs to be broadened, partly through the introduction of exemptions for stamp duty, in order to achieve competitive neutrality in practice,” Laurell said.

The spokeswoman for the company told IPE Folksam was currently working on its statement of opinion to the Ministry.

Sweden’s two biggest occupational pension providers, Alecta and AMF, applied for conversion earlier this year.

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