SWEDEN - Swedbank's income from premiums increased by 37% for the first half, amounting to SEK12.9bn (€1.4bn) compared with SEK9.4bn at the end of 2009.

The increase was mainly the result of a boost to endowment-type funds, which increased by 62%, the company said.

Assets under management also increased to SEK89.2bn, compared with SEK80.4bn at year-end 2009.

Pre-tax profits were up 47% to SEK191m compared with SEK130 at year's end.

Swedbank's traditional pension products returned 2.3% during the first half.

Meanwhile, assets under management at Handelsbanken's life operations increased by 19% to SEK70bn against SEK59bn during the same period last year.

Net savings in fund and depository products increased by 60% during the period.

Operational profits for the second half were SEK186m compared with a loss of SEK172m during the same period last year.

The boost was a result of an allocation to deferred capital of SEK277m during the period.

The second quarter on its own saw profits down SEK4m to SEK91m.

Lastly, the majority of Swedes would like to see tax relief for private pension savings, according to a survey by Länsförsäkringar, the pension and insurance provider.

The survey showed 82% of respondents did not believe the state and statutory occupational pensions would be sufficient for a reasonable standard of living at retirement.

There was strong support for the existing tax-deduction laws for private pension savings, with 62% supporting tax relief for private pension contributions.

Some 20% said they would reduce their contributions to private pensions should the tax relief system change.