SWEDEN – Around 90% of SPP’s policyholders have voted to demutalise the life insurer, says SPP parent Handelsbanken.

“The vote was completed on Thursday and the preliminary results indicate that some 90% of those who voted are in favour of demutualization,” Handelsbanken said.

“Of the total number of eligible voters, considerably fewer than 10% voted no. This means that the voting requirements have been fulfilled by a broad margin.” Around 330,000 individuals and companies were entitled to vote.

"This gives us a very clear mandate to continue with the next stage of the process," said SPP chief executive Göran Holgerson. The move would make it the second Swedish life company to be demutualised following its demutualization of Handelsbanken Liv.

Handelsbanken bought SPP – or Sveriges Privatanstalldas Pensionskassa - in 2001 for 7.1 billon crowns (789 million euros), with the aim of taking it from mutual ownership.

The part Handelsbanken did not buy, which focuses on the ITP scheme, was renamed Alecta.

Handelsbanken said the next step is for the Supervisory Authority to examine SPP's demutualised model in detail – after which Handelsbanken will inject six to eight billion crowns in new risk capital.

As at the end of March, SPP managed 90 billion crowns in assets, up from 80 billion crowns. Profits rose to 1.2 billion.

Last week Sweden appointed Karl-Olof Hammarkvist, professor at Stockholm School of Economics, as special investigator to evaluate the pensions system.