Sweden’s biggest pension fund Alecta has lured Skandia Investment Management’s chief investment officer to switch sides and head up its rapidly-growing real assets operation, amid indications from the fund that the expansion of its property and infrastructure allocation has much further to go.
Axel Brändström is set to join Alecta this month in the newly-created role of head of real assets, having worked at rival Skandia for almost 15 years, according to a spokesman for Alecta.
The news follows the departure of Fredrik Palm, Alecta’s former head of real estate, on 25 September last year, and his temporary replacement by Danor Ghersinich, who had previously been responsible for the fund’s directly owned properties.
Palm, who headed up the the SEK928bn (€88bn) pension fund’s real estate operation since 2013, left to start his own business.
The appointment of Brändström is part of an organisational change at the Stockholm-based pension fund, involving the creation of a Real Assets department, which will be sub-divided into International Real Assets and Real Estate Sweden.
Lena Boberg has now been appointed as Alecta’s new head of Swedish real estate, and is coming to the company from her most recent job of chief executive officer at ICA Fastigheter.
Meanwhile, Frans Heijbel will continue to lead International Real Assets.
Boberg has been CEO of Västerås-based property firm ICA Fastigheter since 2011, having joined the firm in 2007. Her previous jobs include that of chief financial officer of Skandrenting AB, and one of her current roles is supervisory board member of Ancore Fastigheter, which is jointly owned by ICA and Alecta.
Alecta told IPE that the pension fund’s real assets allocation – the vast majority of which is in real estate – had been growing over the last few years to around 10% in 2019 from about 7% in 2016.
This development was the main reason for creating the new role of real assets chief, the spokesman said.