SWEDEN - Arkitekternas Pensionskassa, the Swedish pension fund for architects, is in talks with four other pensions players with a view to setting up some form of cooperation that would enable them all to cut costs.

The pension fund lost out in Sweden's last selection process for the ITP collective DC programme for white-collar employees, but officials now hope the trimming of costs will enable it to compete in the next ITP 1 process in four years' time.

"We are in a project at the moment, doing an analysis, to see if we can cooperate in the future," Maritha Lindberg, AP's managing director told IPE.

She confirmed the other parties involved are:

Försäkringsbranschens Pensionskassa (FPK), the pension fund for insurance sector staff Sparinstitutens Pensionskassa (SPK) which runs pensions for employees of Swedbank, savings banks and other firms, pensions administrator Bankpension Sverige and the Swedish Match pension fund.

"For the moment, we are looking at IT systems to see if we can find a platform together," she said. "We are also doing some analysis of costs to see if we can cut costs in the future and if so, in what way."

In due course, a report would be presented to the institutions' boards, she said.

"We need to cut costs for my pension fund if we are to be in the new ITP system next time they look for new pension funds, in 2012," said Lindberg.

"We also want to cuts costs in the old DB part of our pension scheme. It's not an issue for the moment, but it's a run-off business, so we must have lower costs in future," she said.

AP has also released its results for the first quarter, but posted a negative return on investments of -3.8% for the period, down from a positive 2% in the year-earlier period. Looking at the different asset classes, equity returns were -14%, but hedge funds returned 3.6% for the fund.

Assets under management fell to SKR4.25bn (€450m) at the end of March from SKR4.45bn at the same time in 2007. AP made an after-tax loss of SKR288.4m, after a profit of SKR239.4m.

"The negative result was mostly due to the loss on the equities portfolio of SKR226m," which compared with a positive return of SKR78m won on the asset class in 2007's first quarter, the fund said in its interim report.

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