PFA announced this morning that its long-term leader is leaving after seven years, at the same time as releasing 2021 figures showing the commercial pension provider – Denmark’s biggest – beat the previous year’s investment return with a DKK39.2bn gain.

Allan Polack, PFA’s chief executive officer since 2015, is to leave the company on 7 March when the annual general meeting takes place, and will afterwards “devote his time to board directorships”, the DKK647bn (€87bn) pensions firm said.

In his comments in PFA’s statement on the leadership move, Polack gave no particular reason for deciding to quit, and the company said the change was “a natural part of a generational succession”, and that the process of finding a new group CEO had been in progress for some time.

Polack will be replaced next month by group executive vice president Mads Kaagaard as interim CEO. Kaagaard has been at PFA since 2016, most recently in charge of products and development.

Polack said: ”I am happy and humble to have been at the head of PFA. Since 2015, I have worked to ensure that PFA generates strong long-term returns, has the best qualified advisers in the industry and offers the widest and best portfolio of products and services.”

In its annual report for 2021, PFA said the overall return on market-rate pensions rose to 12.5% from 4.9% in 2020, while the return on its average-rate products fell to minus 2.5% from 6.6%.

In absolute terms, it reported a 2021 investment return of DKK39.2bn, up from DKK31.0bn the year before.

Group solvency dipped to from 278% between the years.

Polack said strong levels of growth and easy monetary and fiscal policies had taken the equity markets to new highs in the year, adding that “generally, most companies have skilfully navigated the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and emerged in a strong position”.

Alternative investments made a 16.3% in the year for PFA, including the “unfortunate loss” on an investment in the aeroplane leasing company, Nordic Aviation Capital, the company said.

PFA outlined a series of adjustments it had made to its investment strategy since 2020, including dialling up risk and introducing a tool to allow it to work more flexibly in adjusting risk up and down swiftly.

This refers to the equity overlays chief investment officer Kasper Ahrndt Lorenzen told IPE about last April.

“In addition, late in the summer of 2021 significant changes were implemented to the equity portfolio and the composition of assets in PFA’s high-risk and low-risk funds which generate the return for PFA Plus,” the firm said.

“The adjustments have begun to have an impact on the return, and the effects are expected to materialise further in the coming years,” it said.

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