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AP4 says active management added SEK1.4bn in 2014

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Sweden’s AP4 praised its approach to active management for generating a benchmark outperformance worth SEK1.4bn (€147m) last year, while only costing the fund around SEK90m to implement. 

Presenting its 2014 annual report, the buffer fund said it made an annual total return of 15.7% after expenses, down slightly from 2013’s 16.4%, but nevertheless outperforming its fellow buffer funds. 

AP4 said active management meant it outperformed the benchmark index by 0.7 percentage points before expenses, compared to 0.5 percentage points the year before, giving a positive contribution to earnings of SEK1.4bn — up from SEK900m in 2013.

Mats Andersson, the pension fund’s chief executive, said: “We are very pleased that AP4’s talented managers have outperformed the index for the twelfth consecutive half-year. 

“The contribution over the past six years totals almost SEK8bn, which can be viewed in the context of an annual cost of about SEK90m to conduct active management,” he said.

Overall, AP4 said its management costs remained low, with the management cost ratio including commission expenses at 0.11% last year, the same as the year before.

In absolute terms, management expenses had totalled SEK296m, up from SEK277m. The emphasis on performance, and outperformance, comes amid continued uncertainty about the future of the existing buffer funds, which the previous Swedish government agreed should be reduced in number from five to three

Net profit was SEK40bn in 2014, up from SEK37bn the year before, and fund capital rose to SEK295bn by the end of December from SEK260bn.

Andersson said AP4 had increased its holdings in low-carbon investments in 2014, and added that the pension fund wanted to increase strategic investments with a horizon longer than three years.

The buffer fund paid out a net SEK5.1bn last year into the national pension system, down from SEK6.9bn the year before, it said.

To see how other pension funds have fared over the course of 2014, see IPE’s coverage of pension scheme returns

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