SWEDEN - AP6, the SEK19.9bn (€2.2bn) Swedish national buffer fund, has announced that its subsidiary company, AFL Affordable Luxury AB (AFL), was put into liquidation earlier this month.

AFL was set up by AP6 as an investment vehicle to provide funding to French fashion house Jean Charles de Castelbajac (JCDC), in which it owned a 99% stake.

AP6 becoming the major shareholder in JCDC was unintentional.  It held a minority stake in UK-based Marchpole Holdings, which initially had controlling interest in the fashion label.

However, following the collapse of Marchpole in late-2008, AP6 inherited JCDC, whose garments have been worn a number of celebrities, including Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

AP6's investment in AFL had totalled SEK100m (€11m).  In a statement confirming AFL's liquidation, the fund said several attempts had been made to find funding for the company and to sell it. A French court has since placed JCDC in administration and the company continues to trade.

The company's founder, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, is said to be mounting a takeover bid for JCDC  with undisclosed new investment partners.

Meanwhile, PP Pension, the pension fund for media, returned -0.3% in the first quarter of 2011, down from 3.2% during the corresponding quarter last year. The return is a result of turbulent markets affected by the uprisings in North Africa and the aftermath of the Japanese earthquakes.

In the quarterly statement chief executive Viveka Ekberg said the returns for the quarter were satisfactory, considering the market environment. PP Pension's assets increased to SEK9.7bn (€1.06bn) from SEK9.1bn last year and its capital reserves stood at 143.4%.

Finally, the average return for Swedish pension insurers for the quarter was 0.4%, according to statistics from Svensk Försäkring, formerly Försäkringsförbundet, the Swedish Insurance Federation.

As a result, Pensiongruppen, a multi-party working group on pensions, has asked the Government Offices, the integrated public authority comprising the Prime Minister's office, the twelve ministries and the Office for Administrative Affairs to investigate the viability of the country's pension system, as well as consider options that would strengthen the system's finances.

The investigation will analyse the finances over both a long and short-term time period, with the results to be presented to Pensiongruppen on in mid-May next year.

In addition, at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, the group will begin a discussion about transparency in pensions. By then the Pensionsmyndigheten, the Swedish Pensions Agency, will have completed an ongoing investigation, which will help Pensiongruppen decide if further regulation is needed to encourage transparency.