Sweden’s five national pension buffer funds are being kept in suspense for another three months after the original March deadline for a report into how some of them might be merged was extended until June.

IPE understands from sources that the official review into Sweden’s SEK2trn (€170bn) system of multiple buffer funds backing the state pension, launched in October by the Finance Ministry, is now due to deliver its report in June.

Swedish pensions news service Pensionsnyheterna has reported that the assignment must now be reported no later than 17 June.

Asked by IPE to confirm the delay, Tord Gransbo, the ministerial councillor leading the investigation, declined to comment.

When launched, the Gransbo investigation’s main tasks were stated as looking into the potential simplification and modernisation of the AP funds’ administration; probing how requirements for the buffer funds’ boards could specify appropriate competence; and investigating the integration of private equity specialist buffer fund AP6 into the buffer fund system, and particularly the option of merging it with the other Gothenburg-based buffer fund, AP2.

In January, the scope of the review was broadened to include considering consolidating the three Stockholm-based buffer funds – AP1, AP3 and AP4 – into two funds.

With its new scope, the current buffer fund investigation echoes the conclusion reached by the wide-ranging buffer fund inquiry led by pensions expert Mats Langensjö back in 2012, to reduce the number of buffer funds to three from five.

Proposals arising from that inquiry, however, were subsequently abandoned due to resistance from some opposition parties and changed priorities.

While the delay arguably gives the five buffer funds a three-month reprieve from the potential disruption and redundancies that any changes might bring, it also prolongs a state of uncertainty which could hamper their planning and ability to retain and attract staff.

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