Swedish pension and insurance industry association Insurance Sweden announced it is applying for membership of Europe’s main pensions industry lobby group PensionsEurope – a move it said is needed because of the new IORP II legislation.

Christina Lindenius, chief executive officer of Insurance Sweden, said: “I look forward to Insurance Sweden being a constructive and strong member of PensionsEurope, in the same way as we are in Insurance Europe”.

Insurance Sweden said it was applying for full membership of PensionsEurope, which includes a seat on the association’s board, and that the membership was set to take effect on 1 January 2022.

Under Sweden’s domestic implementation of the EU’s IORP II solvency directive, pension providers which have been incorporated as life insurance companies have now been given the option of transforming themselves into occupational pension companies (tjänstepensionsföretag) – a new type of entity, which is subject to IORP II solvency rules rather than those of the insurance framework Solvency II.

Insurance Sweden said it now had both insurance companies and occupational pension companies within its membership, and that for both types, there was a “strong development” of the EU rules which largely determined their operating conditions.

“Insurance Sweden has long been a member of the European industry organisation Insurance Europe, which at the EU level represents insurance and reinsurance companies.

“But with the new Swedish occupational pension regulation, Svensk Försäkring also needs to be a member of PensionsEurope in order to be an effective industry organisation for occupational pension companies as well,” the Swedish association said.

Lindenius said it was necessary to take part in EU regulatory work at an early stage, and then follow and influence it until the legislation was in place.

“With membership of PensionsEurope as well, we can contribute with knowledge of the characteristics and needs of the Swedish occupational pension market,” she said.

As things stand, PensionsEurope has two member organisations from Sweden – the Occupational Pension Fund Association (Tjänstepensionsförbundet) and the Swedish Association of Pension Foundations (SPFA).

The former represents seven pension funds (pensionskassor) including government staff pension fund Kåpan Pensioner, the banking sector pension fund SPK and the church pension fund Kyrkans Pensionskassa, while the latter represents 33 pension foundations (pensionsstiftelser), such as the collective municipal pension foundation Kommunernas Gemensamma Pensionsstiftelse (Kgps) and the corporate Ericsson pensionsstiftelse.

Even though Tjänstepensionsförbundet members manage assets totalling more than SEK180bn (€17.7bn) and SPFA’s member asset total is just over SEK200bn, this is dwarfed by the pension saving sums managed by the likes of Insurance Sweden members Alecta and AMF – Sweden’s first and second largest occupational pension providers, which manage SEK1trn and SEK760bn, respectively.

Both Alecta and AMF do already belong to PensionsEurope as corporate and supporter members, but other pension providers that belong to Insurance Sweden, such Skandia, Nordea Liv & Pension and Folksam, do not.

Alecta announced in April that it would apply for conversion to an occupational pension company, with AMF having said the previous month that it was seeking conversion.

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