Sweden’s highest-paid CEOs keep getting richer

The best-paid CEOs in Sweden saw their collective paychecks balloon by nearly 100 million kronor ($15.1 million) in 2012, found a new review that also discovered that Sweden's highest earner last year was a woman.

Sweden's highest-paid CEOs keep getting richer
File photo: 401(K)/Flickr

An examination of data from the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) by the Dagens Nyhter (DN) newspaper revealed that the highest paid CEO of a publicly-listed company in Sweden in 2012 was Jan Carlson, head of automotive safety system manufacturer Autoliv. He earned 46 million kronor ($7 million) in salary, bonuses, and other compensation.

Carlson's earnings are nearly double what he earned the year before, due primarily to the exercising of certain stock options worth 21 million kronor.

"This is what happens with this type of compensation; it can be unusually high certain years," Autoliv spokesman Thomas Jönsson told DN.

The next highest-paid CEO was Hans-Holger Albrecht, head of media group MTG, who took home 31.7 million kronor, which was 28 million kronor more than the previous year.

Sweden's third highest-paid CEO, Johan Malmquist of medical products giant Getinge, earned 29.6 million in 2012, down by 1.1 million kronor compared to 2011.

Malmquist was the only one of Sweden's ten highest-paid CEOs to see his income drop between 2011 and 2012.

But the earnings of Sweden's highest-paid CEOS nevertheless pale in comparison to the income earned by Ane Maersk Mc­Kinney Uggla, heir of Danish shipping giant Maersk, who has long made her home in Stockholm and who earned 60 million kronor in 2012.

Maersk Mc­Kinney Uggla has served as vice chair of A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S since 2003 and is considered to be one of the ten richest people in Sweden with an estimated net worth of 32 billion kronor, according to a December 2012 report in Swedish business magazine Veckans Affärar.

Fourteen of the 20 people on DN's list of Sweden's best-compensated CEOs were included in the previous year's list. Making the 2012 list required one to earn 12.7 million kronor, up from 10.6 million the year before.

All but one CEO on the list, SEB head Annika Falkengren, are men. Overall, Sweden's 20 highest-earning CEOs took home 400 million kronor in 2012, 94 million kronor more than the previous year.

Sweden's 20 highest-paid CEOs in 2012

1. Jan Carlson, Autoliv: 46.0 million (+21.5 million)

2. Hans-Holger Albrecht, MTG: 31.7 million (+28.1 million)

3. Johan Malmquist, Getinge: 29.6 million (-1.1 million)

4. Anders Lönner, Meda: 29.4 million (+1.5 million)

5. Leif Östling, Scania (till Sept. 2012): 24.0 million (+12.9 million)

6. Johan Karlström, Skanska: 22.2 million (+5.8 million)

7. Mats Granryd, Tele2: 18.5 million (+8.3 million)

8. Peter Nilsson, Trelleborg: 17.7 million (+4.2 million)

9. Lars Nyberg, TeliaSonera (resigned 2013): 17.5 million (+1.4 million)

10. Jan Johansson, SCA: 17.0 million (no change)

11. Hans Vestberg, Ericsson: 16.1 million (-2.9 million)

12. Tom Johnstone, SKF: 16.0 million (+4.1 million)

13. Tomas Puusepp, Elekta: 15.9 million (+9.3 million)

14. Ronnie Leton, Atlas Copco: 15.0 million (+5.1 million)

15. Alf Göransson, Securitas: 14.4 million (-0.9 million)

16. Annika Falkengren, SEB: 14.2 million (+2.7 million)

17: Arne Frank, Aarhus Karlham: 13.8 million (-1.7 million)

18. Lars Renström, Alfa Laval: 13.1 million (-0.1 million)

19. Karl-Johan Persson, H&M: 12.8 million (-0.3 million)

20. Christian Clausen, Nordea: 12.7 million (-3.6 million)

Source: DN

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Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”