SWEDEN – The 13.9 billion euro AP Fonden 3 Swedish pension fund says it has hired consultancy firm CoreRatings to provide socially-responsible investing advice, adding that it will take an active role in the companies in which it invests.

AP3 said in a statement that it has awarded CoreRatings a mandate “to provide SRI research on AP3’s equity holdings as the pension fund decides to introduce a socially responsible engagement overlay to its investment policies”.

AP3 declined to say how much the deal with CoreRatings is worth.

Under Swedish law, the state AP pension funds must take SRI into account, without relinquishing the overall goal of a high return on capital.

The fund felt it needed external expertise, said spokesperson Pernilla Klein; it chose CoreRatings due to its “extensive experience in the Nordic region”. AP3 looked at between five and seven suppliers before decided on CoreRatings, Klein said.

“AP3 will seek to implement our SRI-policy by the means of active management with the companies that we own shares in,” said Tomas Nicolin, AP3’s chief executive.

“Rather than adopting a policy of negative screening, where certain companies or sectors are excluded from the portfolio based on SRI-criteria, we believe in using our shareholder influence to make a difference. We chose ‘voice’ rather than “exit’.”

Nicolin was quoted by the Financial Times as saying in an interview that AP3 has pushed for higher dividend payments and changed voting structures at some of the companies in which it invests.

AP3 has separately named two new portfolio managers. Mats Andersson, formerly head of Deutsche Bank’s Stockholm office, is name portfolio manager, equities. Cecilia Sved, formerly an equity portfolio manager at Lansforsakringar Kapitalforvaltning, becomes portfolio manager, external managers.