Swedish pension fund AMF revealed in its annual pension transfers report that the popularity of traditional, or with-profits pensions has seen a rapid rise in 2022 – a year when relentless stockmarket declines have hit market-rate pension savings particularly hard.

AMF, the default provider of the SAF-LO contractual scheme for blue-collar workers, also said in its latest annual report on pension transfer activity in Sweden that transfers of occupational pension capital within the SAF-LO collective agreement increased by around 43% in 2021.

“The increase is large on an annual basis mainly because of the suspension of pensions migration between May and November 2020,” AMF said.

In the 2022 report, which is based on 2021 figures but on opinions gathered in the late summer of this year, AMF said: “In 2022, the propensity to take risks among those who move clearly reduced compared to the year before, with 49% wanting to have traditional insurance compared to 43% for market-rate fund insurance.”

The corresponding preference percentages in the 2021 report were 35% and 57%, respectively, AMF said.

While a large number of people had transferred their pension away from AMF as the default provider in 2021, AMF – Sweden’s second-largest commercial pension fund with around SEK700bn (€62.2bn) of assets – said in the report that 36% of people switching had not been aware that a move had happened.

Malin Omberg at AMF

Malin Omberg, AMF

This figure for this lack of awareness is higher than the 34% AMF reported in the 2021 report.

Malin Omberg, chief of staff at AMF, said: “It is worrying that the percentage who are unaware that they are moving their occupational pension continues to increase from already high levels.”

This was a particular concern in a situation where the occupational pension was becoming an increasingly important part of people’s livelihoods after ordinary working life, she said.

“The fact that it is still just over half of savers who compare different options before making the decision to move their occupational pension does not make matters any better,” Omberg said.

The survey carried out by the firm Demoskop, which included 1,193 interviews from 21 August to 22 September 2022. The interviews were done with customers who had moved their occupational pension away from AMF.

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