Swedish asset managers awarded mandates in the first procurement for the reformed premium pension funds platform have been expressing what the win means for them, with AMF Fonder admitting the tender process was tough, but also rewarding.

On Monday, Sweden’s Fund Selection Agency (Fondforgsnämnden, FTN) announced the results of its first tender, with six firms granted fund agreements for actively-managed large/mid cap European equity funds.

The six firms stand to share the SEK11bn (€960m) of premium pension savers’ assets that are currently invested in the European equity category, via funds listed on the existing platform, though the proportion that each mandate winner will run depends on a number of factors.

Tomas Flodén, chief executive officer of AMF Fonder, the funds arm of the Swedish blue-collar occupational pensions manager AMF, said he was very happy the FTN had picked his firm’s European fund as one of six selectable actively-managed European funds on the new procured funds platform.

“This form of procurement is new for us and it has been a long and solid process, which has been tough but at the same time good for our development and rewarding,” he said.

“But this is just the beginning and it will be exciting to see how we can continue to develop management within this new framework, so that savers will get the best return possible over time,” Flodén said.

The CEO told IPE that AMF Fonder had not participated in any tender processes before. “So we had a lot to learn and consider, as we engaged in this process,” he said.

Flodén said the firm understood it had scored very well in every aspect that was evaluated by the FTN.

“For us, this was a little bit of a surprise. We are proud of how we run our company and our funds, but we didn’t expect that we would rank so high, in so many evaluated areas, not least considering our relative size, and our limited experience, compared to many of the other much larger competitors,” he said.

Flodén said that for AMF Fonder, the tender result had been an important quality check, and a confirmation that what it was doing was highly competitive.

At Swedbank Robur, CEO Liza Jonson said: “It shows that our product offering is attractive in terms of the market and stands up well over time also in an international context.”

Pride in having won in a contest among managers from several countries win was similarly expressed by SEB, with Javiera Ragnartz, head of SEB’s asset management division, saying the award “reflects the high quality and attractiveness of our offer, also from an international perspective.”

FTN was forced to delay the deadline for bids in its inaugural tender process last September because of the sheer volume of questions from asset managers it had to answer, and it extended its deadline for bids for a second time, citing clarifications made in response to the questions from asset managers.

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