SWEDEN - The crisis in the Swedish mutual life insurance market is leading to a shake-up in the pensions industry, Alex Inkapool writes.

Carnegie has lost its entire nine-strong staff to a start up in investment and pension consulting, Söderberg & Partners. There are even more entrants in this arena and two very surprising ones are asset managers and private bankers such as Brummer & Partners and HQ Private Bank.

Swedish mutual life insurers manage over 1.5 billion crowns and have an annual premium income of 120 billion crowns. The new entrants are set to capture a large portion of this very savoury cake.

Carnegie Pension Consulting AB and its CEO and chief actuary Gustaf Rentzhog has been very successful in the Swedish pension fund market as well as one of Carnegie’s more profitable business areas. They helped Saab to set up one of the first corporate subsidiary unit linked insurance companies Lansen. He now joins and become CEO of Söderberg & Partners.

“I can confirm that I have given notice to Carnegie and am going to Söderberg. Everything is very new,” says Rentzhog.

Mats Olof Ljungquist, CFO of Carnegie, said that there were differences in opinions between Rentzhog and Carnegie regarding pension consulting. Carnegie wanted to proceed with its strategy to separate asset management and private banking whilst Rentzhog preferred to keep the pension consulting as a separate entity.

Lars Risland, chairman of Carnegie Pension Consulting AB, said: ”We still have very competent staff but will also recruit externally."

Brummer & Partners, hedge fund managers, is launching their own pension insurance contract during the fourth quarter. According to Robert Lindblom, CEO of Brummer & Partners Liv & Pension AB, it will be done either by setting up their own life insurance company or by white labelling.

“We are not aiming for the mass market but for the more sophisticated investor as our funds require a SEK 500,000 minimum,” says Lindblom. He added: “The pension consulting part has already been active in setting up pension funds.”

HQ Private Banking has also recently made inroads in the Swedish pension fund market and is cooperating in this venture with KPMG.

One of the few independent actuarial firms, Försäkringsmatematik AB, is also pushing heavily for independent administration as well as the setting up of independent vehicles for retirement provision.

Earlier this year Mercer acquired one of the few independent Nordic pension consultants and administrators Benefit Networks which were selected as consultant and manager in the largest Retirement Provision Mandate so far in Sweden – a joint search by AstraZeneca, SonyEricsson, Ericsson, Electrolux and Saab.

The Swedish landscape for pensions and investments seems to be set for a complete restructuring and one has to remember that Sweden have in the past led the way to the future in pension funds such as the Swedish AP funds and its premium pension system.