SWEDEN – The investment returns of Swedish life insurance companies hit a six-year low in 2000, according to a report by the country’s financial supervisory authority Finansinspektionen.
Swedish insurers’ investments returned only 4.9% last year, compared to 20.2% in 1999.
While investment in domestic bonds and shares fell, exposure to both classes rose overseas.
Last year, the life insurance firms invested SEK80bn in foreign bonds, compared to SEK37bn a year before, and SEK22bn in equity listed abroad (SEK15bn in 1999).
The figures mean that the companies now invest more in foreign equity (SEK348bn) than they do in domestic shares (SEK291bn).
At SEK256bn, Swedish government bonds still have a slight lead against overseas bonds at SEK245bn.
The life insurance companies sold Swedish government bonds to a total of SEK78bn and domestic listed shares worth SEK55bn last year, compared to SEK20bn and SEK80bn, respectively, the year before.
Consequently, the firms were net buyers of domestic shares in the second half of the year, whereas in the first half they were net sellers.
The total market value of the life insurers’ investments rose to SEK1.83trn in 2000 from SEK1.76trn the previous year. Meanwhile, overall investment abroad reached SEK646bn, up from SEK510bn in 1999.