EUROPE – The vast majority of new entrants into Sweden's national defined contribution (DC) pension system (PPM) have opted for the government default option managed by AP7, according to the Swedish Pensions Agency.

The agency found that only 3% of Swedes made an active choice, while 97% chose AP7.

According to the agency's statistics, nearly 98% of savers in the system gained positive returns during 2012. The average return was 12.1% for 2012, while AP7 returned 17.5%.

In light of the relatively small number of new entrants choosing the active option, the agency said choice was "an opportunity but not an obligation", while pointing out that Sweden's default options were "generally good".

At the end of 2012, the PPM had more than SEK471bn (€56bn) in assets.

In other news, Katarina Utterström, CFO and head of business support and control at AP3, is leaving the buffer fund to take up a position as a consultant at Omeo Financial Consulting.

The fund has appointed Mattias Bylund as chief risk officer and head of business support and control.

Bylund, who joined AP3 in 2002, was formerly head of external management.

His successor in that role is Claudia Stanghellini, who has also worked for AP3 since 2002, latterly as portfolio manager in the external management department.

Lastly, SPP, the Swedish subsidiary of Norway's Storebrand, and Finland's Mandatum are to start a partnership with Zurich, the global insurance provider, to strengthen SPP's role as a global pensions provider.

The agreement aims to increase the opportunity for multinationals based in the Nordic countries to establish their own international pension plans for staff stationed abroad.

SPP said it saw increasing demand from multinational corporations for these types of solutions, and that its customers, through the partnership, would have access to a broader range of funds.

Lars Fitger, chief executive at SPP Liv Pensiontjänst, said there was also the potential to expand services to medium-sized companies with international operations.