Swedish blue-collar pension fund AMF plans to invest at an earlier stage in companies’ development, and stay invested for longer, according to CIO Thomas Flodén.

In the SEK649bn (€61.5bn) fund’s interim results statement, Flodén said: “We want to invest to a greater extent early in companies, we want to stay for a long time and are happy to contribute to the transformation of the economy.”

As a traditional pension manager, AMF had a long investment horizon and a high degree of freedom to act, which it wanted to make use of, he said.

Flodén also highlighted the fund’s recent forestry investments, which included increasing its stake in Swedish firm SCA and becoming the majority shareholder in Bergvik Skog Öst. On sustainability goals, he cited investments in two Swedish firms with sustainable characteristics during the first half of the year: battery manufacturer Northvolt and solar cell developer Exeger.

Meanwhile, AMF chief executive Johan Sidenmark warned of “dark clouds on the horizon”. The strong return the fund recorded between January and June – 8.1%, compared with 3.5% in the same period last year – was a sign of the turbulent state of financial markets, he said.

Sidenmark added: “The stock markets have performed strongly during the spring, and our other assets have also developed relatively positively. This is of course welcome, but it should be borne in mind that the upswing is partly because signs of a weaker global economy lead to expectations of a less tight monetary policy.”

AMF also reported a lower solvency ratio of 186%, compared with last year’s 198%. It said this was due to SEK11.2bn being set aside in 2018 to back guarantees.

Premium income amounted to SEK15.5bn, compared with SEK14.7bn in the first half of 2018, with premiums for unit-linked insurance totalling SEK1.9bn, down from last year’s SEK2.3bn.

Folksam rides out Swedbank scandal

Folksam reported a 6.8% return in its life and pensions division in the first six months of this year, according to its interim report.

Chief executive Jens Henriksson described the financial results as strong despite the drop in the Swedbank share price in the wake of a money-laundering scandal at the bank.

Folksam was the second-largest shareholder in the bank when the scandal broke in March, with a 7% stake. Swedbank shares fell by 25% between 26 March and 29 March, before recovering slightly.

The Swedish life and non-life insurance group said its total assets under management increased to SEK441bn, from SEK416bn at the end of June 2018, with group business in the six-month period mainly driven by the pensions side.

Continuing its work against money laundering while keeping costs down was one area of focus Folksam highlighted, along with digitisation and compliance.

Henriksson said the firm’s total premium volume grew by SEK400m during the reporting period to SEK35bn, while costs were beginning to decrease, he said.

Folksam’s group business growth between January and June came primarily from collectively-agreed occupational pensions within KPA Pension and Folksam LO Pension, the company said.