SWEDEN - Occupational pension customers in Sweden are most satisfied with Länsförsäkringar, while Nordea Liv is falling in customers' estimation, according to a study by Svenskt Kvalitetsindex (SKI), the Swedish arm of the Europe-wide Extended Performance Satisfaction Index (EPSI).

Länsförsäkringar is the only company with a rating above 70 in the 100-point scale.

The lowest rated in terms of customer satisfaction was Nordea, which is just below 65 on the scale.

Alecta and KPA were ranked below Länsföräkringar. Alecta's position is explained by improved service quality, while Nordea's fall relative to last year's study was linked to a perceived decline in image and value for money.

According to SKI, perceived quality of service varied significantly, resulting in Länsförsäkringar's unique position, with more than 80 points in the index, almost 5 above that of KPA, which is ranked second.

Quality of Service (2010 in brackets)

Länsförsäkringar: 70.2 (72.3) KPA: 69.7 (69.5) Alecta: 68.9 (65.7) Other: 67.8 (67.2) Industry average: 67 (66) Skandia: 66.8 (66.1) SEB Trygg Liv: 65.5 (64.9) Nordea Liv: 64.7 (68.6) SPP: 61.1 (61.6)

However, private clients have lost confidence in Länsförsäkringar Liv, Handelsbanken Liv and SEB Trygg Liv, SKI said.

Despite the fall in confidence, customers are still most satisfied with Handelsbanken Liv.

Länsförsäkringar lost 4.6 points compared with last year, Handelsbanken Liv 3.8 and SEB Trygg Liv 3.6.

The three highest-rated companies have 65-70 units, the remainder between 60 and 65, with the exception of SPP, which only has 55 units.

The only company that increased its rating was Skandia Liv, which went from 59.6 last year to 60 units in this year's study.

Ranking among private clients (2010 in brackets)

Handelsbanken Liv: 68.4 (72.2) Other: 67.1 (69.4) Swedbank: 66.6 (66.7) Länsförsäkringar: 64.7 (69.3) Nordea Liv: 64 (65.7) Folksam: 63.9 (64.8) Industry average: 63.4 (64.7) SEB Trygg Liv: 60.5 (64.1) Skandia: 60 (59.6) SPP: 55.4 (57)

In other news, less than a week after Gustav Karner stepped down from his role as director of finance and head of asset management at Länsförsäkringar, Cecilia Ardström has been named as his replacement.

Ardström is currently heading up the treasury department at Tele2, the phone operator. She will join on 1 March, 2012.

Sten Dunér, chief executive at Länsförsäkringar, said Ardström's role would initially be to develop the firm's asset management capabilities. The ultimate goal will be to improve returns and product-mix over the longer term.

Finally, the Swedish Pensions Agency is launching a new fund selection guide, replacing the old system, Lotsen.

The new guide will focus on issues such as fees and risk levels, with the view to shifting the focus away from past performance numbers.

In the new guide, members will chose the level of risk first and then different categories and markets.

Funds will be listed in the guide so that those with the lowest fees are shown first.

Some 700,000 Swedes are members of the national defined contribution pensions system, PPM.

The first part of the guide was launched in June, when four tools were introduced so that choice would be facilitated.

This second part to the guide will enable members to change funds directly.