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Swedish euro vote has little pension impact

SWEDEN – Sweden’s decision to reject the euro is not seen as having a major impact on Swedish pension industry.

“There’s lots of lack of impact,” said Crispin Lace, senior consultant at Watson Wyatt in Stockholm. He said that people had been making contingency plans in terms of portfolio rebalancing.

“In the normal course of events funds were assessing their positions,” he said. “People were factoring that into their thinking.” The diversification of portfolios would go on, with currency overlay management perhaps coming more to the fore.

The vote had no real impact on pension funds per se, lace said, though the impact on the wider Swedish economy going forward was a more complicated issue.

Swedish funds don’t have specific restrictions on foreign investment, Lace observed. “The rules are a bit more relaxed and open here.”

“I think that I was not alone among pension colleagues to hope for a Yes vote although almost all polls showed that the likely outcome would be a No,” said Alf Guldberg, secretary general of the occupational pensions body the Swedish Association of Institutions of Retirement Provision.

He said that the No vote eliminated a number of uncertainties that a Yes vote would have created, such as when and at what exchange rate to join the EMU.

But Guldberg said while there had been a lot of discussion about portfolio rebalancing, his impression was that most portfolio managers had been waiting to see the referendum result before actually doing any rebalancing.

He said that the problem of currency risks continues at the same level as before. Overall there was no broader impact on the pension funds’ investment profiles for the moment.

Swedes voted 56-42 against joining the single currency yesterday.

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