SWEDEN - The equities team at AP1, one of the Swedish national buffer funds, has been strengthened with two new hires. The appointments take the number of portfolio managers to five, divided into Swedish and European teams.

Anders Jacobsson has been recruited to the Europe team and will focus on the banking and financials sectors, among others. He joins AP1 from SEB Investment Management and will start on June 29. Peder Tiricke has been recruited internally to AP1's Swedish equities team. He joins from AP1's department for external asset management and will be transferring in May.

Elsewhere, the Swedish Pensions Agency, the average performance for a premium pension portfolio was 31.1% in 2009, which compares well to the loss of 29% in 2008.

The investors who refrained from switching between different funds available within the system achieved the best performance, last year with an average return of 33.7%. Those who made more than 20 changes benefited the least from last year's equity rally and only saw an increase of 21.6%. The 58% of the premium pension members that make active portfolio selection returned 32.6%, whereas those who end up in the default option returned 28.9%. Since launch, premium pensions have returned 3.7%.

Separately, the Swedish Investment Fund Association is launching their own website offering advice on how to make the best choices within the premium pension system and which aims to answer some of the most common questions from investors - i.e. how to make a selection.

This comes as a number of recent surveys in Sweden have found member knowledge of pensions still remains limited.

A study by Länsförsäkringar, the pension insurer, show that three out of four do not know how much of their salaries are put into pensions. In particular, 80% of single parents said they are not aware of the amounts involved.  Some 78% of women said they do not know how much of their salaries are paid into pensions, and 73% of men agreed.

In another study by Collectum, the administrator of the Swedish supplementary pensions for salaried employees, 35% of pension investors said they do not believe that fees charged by the provider has an impact on their pension capital. Among those under the age of 30, at least 43% have this opinion. Collectum said the findings causes concern, particularly because young people are not aware that if they chose a fund manager with lower fees their pensions will be higher in value.

A survey by PTK, the Council for Negotiation and Co-operation - formerly known as the Federation of Salaried Employees in Industry and Services - also found only 25% of their members choose a pension provider because they believe that particular company can provide them with the best pension.

Fewer than four out of 10 believe manager selection is of importance while a quarter could not give a reason for their selection.

Anna Allerstrand, pension expert at PTK says it is disheartening to find so few think rationally about their pensions, and argued if you chose a provider for other than financial reasons you should at least be aware of the potential negative consequences this could have for your future pension. PTK is a joint organisation of 27 affiliated unions, representing 700,000 salaried employees in the private sector.

These stories were first published by Pensionsnyheterna, a Swedish-language specialist news service, and translated in agreement with IPE.com.