Alecta, the Swedish pension fund embroiled in the SVB fallout and the country’s recent real estate turmoil, has announced that its chairman will leave with immediate effect.
(Bloomberg) — Alecta, the Swedish pension fund embroiled in the SVB fallout and the country’s recent real estate turmoil, has announced that its chairman will leave with immediate effect.
Ingrid Bonde’s departure comes in the wake of a management clearout at Sweden’s largest private pension group following $2 billion of losses from failed investments in three US banks earlier this year. Those missteps have already forced out the fund’s chief executive officer and equities boss.
Pressure has since resurfaced for the Stockholm-based pension fund over its investment in struggling landlord Heimstaden Bostad AB. The real estate company, which represents Alecta’s biggest single holding, is racing to plug a capital shortfall to avert a credit rating downgrade.
The fund’s new chief executive, Peder Hasslev, said last month that the investment in the landlord should never have been made.
The property gamble has weighed down Alecta’s alternative-investment returns in the second half of the year, which were negative 0.9%. In April, the fund said it had written down its holding in Heimstaden Bostad by 3 billion Swedish kronor ($273 million) but that number could increase given the company’s exposure to one of the world’s worst property routs.
With personnel changes happening on the management level, Alecta’s board has also faced its share of questions for its role in overseeing the investments. Bonde, in particular, has been subject to renewed pressure in local media in recent weeks over the fund’s 49 billion-krona investment in Heimstaden Bostad.
“In a situation where there has been too much focus on me as person I have decided to resign,” said Bonde in a statement on Monday.
Bonde in April said that she had already offered to quit in the aftermath of the US failures, but that she had been rebuffed by the board.
Read More: Chairman of Sweden’s Top Pension Fund Says She Offered to Quit
Sweden’s financial watchdog is probing Alecta over both its US banking investments and the Heimstaden Bostad stake.
Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority “has been asking Alecta questions about the investments in Heimstaden Bostad for some time.” Part of its mission is to investigate and assess whether the pension funds are following the rules for investments or not, the FSA said last month.
The board’s first vice chairman, Jan-Olof Jacke, will now take over as board chairman until a new chairman is elected, according to the statement.
(Adds further context, company comment)
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