Sweden’s AP7 has revealed it is not seeking to replace its departing head of strategy, with its new chief investment officer instead taking on his role as part of her own, as the SEK1.1trn (€99bn) national pension fund devises a new strategy involving new asset classes.

Pontus von Essen has just left AP7 and his job as head of strategy at the Swedish national pension fund for a new job at Deutsche Bank, where he will be advising family offices and foundations in the Nordic region.

Asked whether AP7 would replace von Essen, a spokesman for AP7, which manages the default option in Sweden’s defined contribution premium pension system, said the strategy part of his job would now be more a part of CIO Lena Fahlén’s responsibility, and not broken out as a separate role.

AP7 has been under new leadership since May last year, when chief executive officer Pål Bergstrom replaced the pension fund’s longstanding CEO Richard Gröttheim, with Fahlén having started work in September, replacing former CIO Ingrid Albinsson.

The change at the top coincides with changes to AP7’s mandate which have allowed it to add real estate and infrastructure to its equity and bonds asset mix, and increase private equity.

Fahlén told IPE: “We are grateful for the valuable contribution Pontus von Essen has made to the fund during these years and wish him the best of luck in his new role.”

She said: “We are currently in an exciting phase of planning the future strategy of AP7.

“In 2023, we started to adapt the fund’s management to new conditions with changes in the AP Funds’ Act that has made it possible for AP7 to invest up to 20% in alternative assets, such as real estate, shares in venture capital funds, and in infrastructure,” she said.

The CIO said the entire premium pension system was also maturing, and it was important to understand how the allocation and investment decisions that AP7 made affected different generations.

“All in all, it is both challenging and exciting work ahead of us where we will broaden our existing competent team with various roles,” Fahlén said.

In an interview with Swedish financial news website Placera, Bergstrom said at the end of last month that Fahlén was spending a lot of time finding new colleagues in private equity, real estate and ESG.

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