SCANDINAVIA – Norway’s Storebrand Livsforsikring says it plans to open a branch operation in Sweden to offer occupational pension products.

“By opening a Swedish branch, Storebrand will be able to offer Swedish customers greater freedom of choice with pension products offering low transfer costs and a full interest rate guarantee on pension savings,” the group said.

Storebrand will sell its products through insurance brokers and pension advisers. It has submitted an application to the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway, which will then be considered by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority.

It expects to open for pensions business in Sweden from the start of July this year.

The group says it currently has around 28% of the Norwegian pensions and life insurance market – and that it has seen Sweden as an attractive area for expansion.

"The Swedish market offers good opportunities to expand our occupational pensions business,” said group chief executive Idar Kreutzer.

“We will offer competitive products, including better interest rate guarantees and transfer rights which are already the norm for Norwegian pension savers.

“We know that Swedish pension savers would like to have the choice of similar products."

Its first target will be senior executives and other high-income individuals.

Earlier this week, Storebrand Investments said Hans Aasnæs would replace managing director Allan Åkerstedt, who resigned last month.

Elsewhere in Sweden, asset manager Carnegie has reported an SEK7bn (E770bn) increase in assets under management to SEK62bn. Net profit for 2004 rose 87% to SEK396m.

"I am delighted about the results for 2004 - a substantial improvement due to hard work, competence and vigour resulting in a significantly consolidated market position,” said CEO Karin Forseke.