SWEDEN - Swedish Match, the tobacco company, has decided to close its pension funds PSA and PSF and transfer assets and risk to Alecta, AMF and Folksam in a move that is thought to be the first of its kind in Sweden.

The pension commitments total SEK2.2bn (€230m).

Alecta will receive the bulk of the assets of SEK1.2bn, relating to the office staff pensions, with Folksam and AMF receiving SEK450m each.

Folksam will look after the assets relating to the blue-collar workers pensions, while AMF will look after the premium-based, or defined contribution, pensions.

The new pension system at Swedish Match will increase security, as the terms are guaranteed for the long term for employees and pensioners, as well as increase choice and improve cost-efficiency, which will result in better pensions in the long run, according to Göran Hammarberg, director of global pensions at Swedish Match and chairman of PSA and PSF.

Historically, the members of the two funds have benefited from having the pensions secured in the funds.

During the 1990s, the funds played a major role in the restructuring of the company, but in hindsight the commitments have proven too costly, Hammarberg said.

The buffers have shrunk and been too small since 2000, he added.

The result has been that neither PSA nor PSF has been able to index the pension contracts and thereby adjust pension payments on an ongoing basis for several years because of their weak financial state.

The Swedish regulator has to approve the transfer before it is final.

Brummer & Partners Life has applied to the Swedish regulator, Finansinspektionen, for a permit to start a life insurance business.

Brummer is the largest domestic hedge fund provider in the Nordic region.

Should Brummer be granted a license, it will terminate its cooperation with Folksam, which has worked as the insurer for the company through white labeling.

Söderberg & Partners, the independent insurance and fund broker and advisor, and Inpension Asset Management, the independent life and occupational pension insurance broker, are joining forces.

Through the merger, the two will now have a joint platform for advice, tender processes and analysis.

Dick Simonsson, chief executive at Inpension, said they had been looking for a partner for some time and that Söderberg & Partners was a natural choice because of their similar views and the fact Inpension already uses their IT system.

Inpension was created almost two years ago through a management buyout from Kaupthing Bank.

The company, which has 20 employees, expects turnover to reach SEK50m this year. 

Söderberg & Partners' turnover for 2010 is expected to reach SEK850m, and it has some 700 employees.

The merger will be finalized on 1 July.