SWEDEN - The first six months of the year saw financial and economic worries take their toll on global equity markets, resulting in meagre returns ranging between 1.1% and 3.7% for Swedish pension and insurance providers.

Länsföräkringar was the laggard, with a return of 1.1%, as volatility in the markets continued.

Its solvency ratio was 127% a drop of 14% from year-end as interest rates fell, putting further pressure on key numbers.

Länsförsäkringar has SEK174bn (€19bn) in assets under management.

Rival AMF returned 1.7% for the period. Both Swedish and international equities returned 0.6%, while fixed income returned 1.6% and real estate 2.4%.

AMF has SEK377bn in assets under management and 3.9m customers. Its solvency ratio grew 14% to 232%.

The best performer among the major pension and insurance companies was Folksam, which returned 3.7%.

The fixed income portfolio contributed to the performance in particular as a result of falling interest rates.

In addition, real estate and holdings in Swedbank also had a positive effect on returns, it said.

Folksam’s solvency ratio was 150%, up from 144% for the same period last year. It has SEK281bn in assets under management.

KPAPension, majority owned by Folksam, returned 2.6%, with fixed income performing particularly well. Its solvency ratio was 171%.

Meanwhile, pension funds such as Kåpan Pensioner, the pension fund for government employees, posted returns of 2.8%.

Equity investments in emerging markets detracted from performance, while equities elsewhere were slightly up, with fixed income showing the strongest performance.

Kåpan’s solvency ratio was 138%, down from 144% at year-end as a result of higher liabilities because of lower long interest rates.

AI Pension, the pension fund for architect and engineers, returned 0.4%, with real estate performing best at 6.1%.

Fixed income returned 3.2% and hedge funds 1.5%, while equities were down 3.3%. Assets under management stood SEK4.8bn and the solvency ratio was 138%.

In other news, Warburg-Henderson - the joint venture real estate company owned NM Warburg, a German private bank, and Henderson Global Investors - has bought a regional shopping mall in Sweden from Alecta, the pension and insurance provider.

The shopping mall, located in Eskilstuna in the region of Södermanland south west of Stockholm, had a price tag of SEK558m.

Warburg-Henderson has €4bn in assets under management and was advised by Cushman & Wakefield.