NORWAY – Storebrand says it set up around 460 new defined contribution pension schemes last year – taking the total number of DC client companies to more than 1,000.

“Storebrand set up some 60 new defined contribution pension schemes for corporate customers in the fourth quarter, bringing the total number of new schemes for 2004 to approximately 460,” the Norwegian group said in its fourth-quarter interim report.

“Around 1,020 companies have set up defined contribution pension schemes with Storebrand Fondsforsikring since it launched this product in 2001.”

The company, which earlier this month said it would enter the Swedish pension market, added that assets under management at Storebrand Investments rose by a net NOK6bn (€718m) over the year, to NOK165bn. Financial services group If, as previously announced, transferred NOK19bn in assets to its own management.

Net new business at the division fell NOK100m in the fourth quarter but was up NOK1.6bn in 2004 as a whole. It made a pre-tax profit of NOK8m in the fourth quarter, against a loss of NOK2m in the 2003 period.

Overall, Storebrand reported a group profit of NOK374m, up from NOK261m a year before.

"The fourth-quarter results confirm continuing successful progress for Storebrand,” said group chief executive Idar Kreutzer. “The business areas of life insurance, banking and asset management all report improvements in earnings from 2003.”

Earlier, Storebrand Investments named Hans Aasnæs to replace managing director Allan Åkerstedt, who resigned last month.