SWEDEN - Financial markets minister Mats Odell has told the Swedish parliament that the future of the Swedish AP buffer funds is a matter for the parliamentary five-party Pensions Group.

There has been significant debate recently about how the six national pension funds - that are supposed to work as a buffer in the Swedish national pension system - should operate.

Most debated has been the question of cost efficiency in a system with six competing buffer funds, or whether their number should be limited through mergers.

The idea of merging has been favoured by minster of Finance, Anders Borg of the conservative party. But Odell, of the Christian Democrats, have been more reluctant to merge the funds, and has instead been arguing for diversity and competition.

The Pensions Group consists of representatives for the five parties that made the pensions agreement; the foundation of the national pensions scheme. The group’s purpose is to keep the system stable and always decide in consensus.

Since the group consists of the four parties in political majority as well as the social democrats who are in opposition, Mats Odell by this proclamation has defused the otherwise infected question about the AP-funds, at least until after the parliamentary elections this autumn.

Elsewhere, the Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux has made additional contribution to its group pension funds worth SEK3.9bn (€380m) in the fourth quarter of last year, Electrolux reported in its latest financial statement.

This extra contribution should help Electrolux regain appropriate funding levels and reduce its balance-sheet risk exposure to pension commitments, as it decreases provisions for post-employment benefits from SEK6.86bn SEK2.16bn.

This included payments to pension funds in Germany, the US and the UK. The payments have reduced the group’s net pension debt, limited its risk exposure and reduced the volatility in pension liabilities.

This story was first published by
Pensionsnyheterna, a Swedish-language specialist news service, and translated in agreement with IPE.com.