AMF, Sweden’s second-largest occupational pension fund after Alecta, today reported a 2.9% return on investments for the first quarter – a slimmer gain than its larger peer – while highlighting the broad diversification of its portfolio.

A fortnight ago Alecta posted a 3.2% overall return for the first quarter.

Releasing its first set of quarterly figures for 2023, AMF also announced its total assets increased to SEK766bn (€67.6bn) by the end of March from SEK639bn at the end of 2022.

The group’s solvency ratio, meanwhile, was little changed at 227% at the end of March compared with 228% at the start of this year.

Johan Sidenmark, AMF’s chief executive officer, said: “The economic downturn is believed to be more protracted than expected, and more and more households and companies are feeling the tough situation.

“At the same time, Swedish industry is largely still strong, and the stock market has developed positively a the beginning of the year,” he said.

The firm’s chief investment officer Tomas Flodén said all AMF’s asset classes in the life portfolio – which holds the bulk of AMF’s assets under management – had delivered positive returns, and that its equity funds were also “turning around after the tough last year” and performing well during the quarter.

“Despite a positive start to the year, the outlook is still very uncertain, but I feel confident that with our well-diversified portfolio and our strong financial position, we are well equipped to face even an uncertain future,” Flodén said.

The reference to a well-diversified portfolio strikes a particular chord at a time when Alecta is in serious trouble in Sweden after sustaining heavy losses on investments in three US niche banks.

Criticism has focused on the relatively concentrated nature of Alecta’s listed equity portfolio.

According to data on their websites, at the end of 2022, Alecta’s listed equity holdings included 42 Swedish stocks and 58 foreign equities, whereas AMF had 57 Swedish listed stocks and around 400 foreign stocks at the same point.

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