SWEDEN – The Swedish National Audit Office has been highly critical of the country's regulator, Finansinspektionen, and the consumer watchdog, Konsumentverket.
In a report into so-called Riksrevisionen, those responsible for monitoring and communications in the occupational pensions industry, the audit office argues that the two agencies have done too little to ensure that consumers are able to make informed choices about their occupational pensions.
The office said occupational pensions information had been generally unsatisfactory, and basic monitoring subpar.
Assumptions used as a foundation for occupational pension payments were unaccounted for, nor did consumers receive information on interest rate assumptions or life expectancy calculations.
The National Audit Office's report highlighted the lack of information on certain fees, arguing that what information there was had been presented in an overly complex manner.
It was also critical of the fact that neither the regulator nor the consumer watchdog had taken steps to improve the information provided, "despite being aware of the inadequate provisions".
In a statement, Finansinspektionen acknowledged many of the problems in the occupational pensions market highlighted in the report.
But it also argued that the audit office had failed to take into account the work the regulator had already undertaken to improve the situation.
It said the audit office had based its work based on reports and sanctions already applied, whereas, in many cases, no reports or sanctions had been needed, with the watchdog instead engaging in dialogues with companies.
In other news, an increasing number of Swedes are selecting AP7, the government default fund, as their favoured provider in the country's national defined contribution system, the PPM.
Some 25,000 Swedes have now selected AP7 as a provider, investing more than SEK1.5bn (€173m) in the AP7 products that can be actively selected.
The new government portfolios were introduced into the system as Såfa, the default portion, replacing Premiumsparfonden, the Premium Savings Fund, in May 2010.
The selectable funds are a complement to those participants want to go beyond the pre-selected risk level, without having to make an active selection among commercial providers.
They are also a cost-efficient alternative to the commercial funds.
Såfa, the main product managed by AP7, today has assets of SEK118bn managed on behalf of 2.9m Swedes.