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PENSIONS

AMF Pension sacks senior executive

The vice-CEO at Swedish pensions firm AMF Pension, Ingvar Skeberg, has been sacked after revelations of malpractice.

AMF Pension sacks senior executive

Before the firm announced payment cuts to pensioners, Skeberg used his access to the information to move his own pensions savings.

“Regrettable,” Skeberg told news agency TT.

“The board considers what has happened to be very serious and gave the CEO Ingrid Bonde instructions to act accordingly,” said board chairperson Göran Tunhammar in a company statement.

The revelations emerged as a result of an internal investigation, AMF Pension reports.

“With prior knowledge of the payment cuts one of the firm’s senior management moved his savings from the traditional insurance fund and thereby protected his capital. He informed the CEO of his actions yesterday.”

Ingvar Skeberg has responded to the criticism.

“The details are in principle correct, although I would like to underline that I acted in good faith,” he said to news agency TT.

According to Skeberg moving the savings last autumn was not in breach of the law, a fact confirmed by Ingrid Bonde.

“The reason for this is that I based my decision on information available in public documents. Naturally I should have considered the moral aspects. But I did not and that is regrettable,” said Skeberg.

AMF Pension announced in February that it planned to cut dividend rate payments to its pensions savers, the first Swedish pensions firm to do so.

The decision resulted in cuts in the pensions of those already in retirement but does not affect the 2.5 million customers of AMF Pension’s traditional pensions products.

AMF Pension’s solvency ratio amounted to 99 percent at the end of December and had by the end of January declined to 96.2 percent. It is now back at 105 percent.

A solvency ratio of 100 means that a pensions firm is able to meet its obligations to savers.

PENSIONS

Sweden to increase retirement age from next year

A proposal for changes to Sweden’s pensions system could see incremental increases to retirement age beginning next year.

Sweden to increase retirement age from next year
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

The proposal for reform to state pensions has been agreed on by parties on both sides of the political aisle, reflecting the political agreement which provided for the new Swedish government.

Later retirement age has been justified by the claim that people in Sweden “live longer and healthier lives”, but the last twelve years of life remain characterised by illness and failing health, news agency TT writes.

According to the proposal, the minimum age at which a state pension may be drawn will increase next year from 61 to 62 years. The right to retain employment, the so-called LAS age, will also be increased, from 67 to 68 years.

“We see a problem with the fact that people who want to continue working are not able to. We will now give people the opportunity to do that,” said Mats Persson of the Liberal party, who was part of the parliamentary group behind the proposal.

In 2023, retirement ages will increase again, with the minimum state pension age changing to 63 and the LAS age to 69. The so-called guaranteed pension, which is paid to those who have had little or no pension-qualifying income during their working lives, will also see an increased age limit from 65 to 66 years.

2026 will see further extensions, to 64 years and 67 years for the regular and guaranteed pensions respectively.

In a press statement, the government wrote that longer and healthier lives made the reforms to retirement age possible. Average life expectancy in Sweden has been found to increase by 3.5 hours every day.

But longer life expectancy does not necessarily correspond to better health in senior years, according to research.

International studies led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and the University of Washington recently found that Swedes have relatively high life expectancy – just under 82 years for both women and men – but that years with good health are considerably fewer, at just under 70 years.

Sweden fell outside of the top ten for countries with the most years of good health, the study found. Japan was the best-performing country, followed by Singapore, Andorra, Iceland and Cyprus.

The pensions proposal could therefore mean that retirement years will become increasingly unlikely to contain many years in which senior citizens can enjoy good health.

Persson told TT he disagreed with that conclusion.

“This agreement is based on the fact that we live longer as well as healthier lives. There is research to support that,” he said.

READ ALSO: How to manage your pension in Sweden – even if you're not planning to stay

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