SWEDEN - The Swedish Premium Pension Authority (PPM), administrator of Sweden's premium pension, will launch its new fund rating service in the first week of March on its website ppm.nu.

The authority announced today it had awarded a contract to provide a fund rating on continental European funds to London-based Standard & Poor's and on the Nordic region funds to Swedish-based Wassum Rating.

The ratings, mostly of a qualitative nature, should give to the broader public a comprehensive overview of the funds in which members can invest their money, said Mats Öberg, head of the fund rating unit at PPM.

The move follows criticism from Swedish pension fund AMF Pension, which said last December that the PPM system - put in place in 2000 to give more saving responsibility to individuals - had met with little interest so far by the nearly 6m Swedes that save in the system.

"Roughly 100,000 Swedes enter the system every year, and only 8% of these are active, meaning that they choose a fund themselves for the money that goes into the system," AMF said.

The initiative is intended to reduce the number of passive savers and entice them to become active in the choice of the funds in which they want to invest.

Elsewhere, the Falkenbergs municipality has announced that it had awarded a SEK1.6m (€176.496) pension administration mandate to Swedish pension firm KPA Pension. The mandate was previously managed by SPP Liv Pensionstjänst, the administration arm of the Swedish pension insurance group SPP Livförsäkring AB.

"We were satisfied with SPP [but] when the contract ended we decided to go for the cheaper KPA," said the council.

The contract involves the entire pension administration following current agreements and older provisions for all employees, elected representatives and pensioners that are or have been employed at the west coast municipality. Falkenbergs council currently employs 4,060 people.

No consultant was used in the tendering and selection process, the council said.