The regulations of the fund boards only allowed investments in fixed income securities. The management of the capital of the three fund boards was coordinated in one organization. The ATP-system was based on the fact that the Swedish people's pension payments were financed through compulsory employer and employee contributions.
The Fourth fund board was formed in 1974 to manage part of Sweden's public pension capital and was also allowed to invest in Swedish listed shares. Subsequently, the Fifth Fund Board was established in 1988, also allowed to invest in listed shares, and the Sixth Fund Board in 1996, with the task to invest in venture capital market.
However, forecasts showed that the ATP-system was not financially stable and there was a risk that the AP Funds would be emptied well into the 2000s. The Pensions Working Group (Pensionsarbetsgruppen) was introduced in 1991, and in 1994 it presented a policy proposal for a reformed old-age pension system, which subsequently entered into force 1 January 1999.
In connection with the reform, the first five fund boards were transformed into four AP funds (First, Second, Third and Fourth). The organization that made up the First-Third Fund Boards became Första AP-fonden. A new management organization was established for the Second Swedish National Pension Fund. The Fifth Fund Board changed its name to the Third Swedish National Pension Fund. The Sixth Fund Board and the newly established Seventh Fund Board were renamed the Sixth and Seventh AP Fund, respectively.
The First-Fourth and Sixth AP Funds became buffer funds in the new income pension system that in the long term would manage pension capital in the long term based on the same investment rules, which provide the opportunity to invest in diversified asset classes.
The funds should maximize returns in the long term and at a low risk level. They must operate independently and have their own risk management plans, investment and ownership policies. Collaborations have been established for information exchange over time and to achieve cost-effectiveness.
AP4 - A force to be reckoned with over time
Over time our asset management has made a major contribution to Sweden’s public pension system. When AP4 was established in 1974, its mandate was to invest in Swedish equities. At the time, ownership of equities was not as common as today, neither among institutional investors such as pension funds nor among private persons. The decision to establish an AP Fund to invest in Swedish equities was therefore questioned at the time, but it subsequently proved to be a wise decision. At the same time, AP4 has been a source of equity capital not least for listed Swedish companies and a contributing force in the work on establishing rules for ethics and conduct in the Swedish stock market. A favourable return on the fund capital contributes to a strengthening of the pension system and allows promised pensions to be paid out.
The world we work in
Engaging in a dialogue with the AP Funds’ stakeholders provides guidance to the Funds in their sustainability work and a clearer picture of stakeholders’ views of the AP Funds’ mission and operations in relation to sustainability and returns. Every three years the AP Funds conduct a stakeholder dialogue and materiality analysis. The last time this was done was in autumn 2020, and due to the prevailing pandemic at the time, it was conducted in the form of a web-based survey that was sent to representatives from AP4’s various stakeholder groups.
Our most important stakeholder groups are:
- Portfolio companies
- Industry peers
- Society in general
- Interest organisations
Overall the survey showed that the stakeholders have relatively good awareness about the AP Funds’ operations and are highly confident that we are living up to our mission to deliver long-term returns through responsible asset management, They also have high confidence in our work with, and integration of, sustainability matters in our asset management. The stakeholder groups also noted the importance that the AP Funds advocate for the climate transition in Sweden and internationally.
We are addressing this through our efforts to achieve the highest possible return over the long term and manage the fund capital in an exemplary way through responsible investments and responsible ownership.
To do this we need to understand and manage sustainability risks and opportunities in the portfolio, such as climate change. All our employees contribute to this mission through their expertise and commitment, with values that increase learning and promote professionalism in their relations with partners and other stakeholders.
This is how we illustrate the process: