Tucked away in Gothenburg and focused solely on unlisted assets, the Sixth Swedish National Pension Fund (AP6) is somewhat less known than its peers in the Swedish capital. The fund’s sustainability ambitions, however, are just as high. Only this month, AP6’s long-time Head of Sustainability, Anna Follér, tripled her resources by recruiting two experts, Per Norberg and Anna Grgic (pictured). In a series of interviews, NordSIP gets to know the new team members better as they are onboarding their respective positions at the fund.
As it turns out, the role as AP6’s ESG Integration Manager is not entirely new for Anna Grgic. Since she joined AP6’s investment team in 2019, she has already done some work on integrating sustainability into the investment processes. Grgic is also highly aware of the many peer-to-peer conversations, industry initiatives and government regulations developing around sustainability. “I wanted to be a part of AP6’s sustainability team to gain a deeper knowledge and work on developing our integrated approach to sustainability,” she explains.
Grgic joined AP6 from a position as an investment analyst at Future Super, an ethical Australian superannuation fund based in Sydney. Upon returning home to Sweden, what attracted Grgic to the pension fund was primarily its important mission of managing a portion of the public pensions and its long-term commitment to sustainability. “More specifically, I wanted to join AP6 because of the fund’s focus on investing only in unlisted assets and the position it has gained as a sustainability frontrunner within the private equity community,” she adds.
Commenting on AP6’s narrow specialisation, Grgic stresses that it is one of the fund’s main strengths. “AP6 invests only in private equity, both through fund commitments and through co-investments,” she explains. “This allows for multiple interaction points for dialogue and collaboration with our managers. The asset class itself provides excellent opportunities for implementing sustainable processes as it is often characterised by a majority ownership model, with a clear agenda for the value creation plan during the ownership period.”
Admittedly, private equity has gained a lot of momentum in recent years. The ongoing development of regulation, industry standards and initiatives for collaboration between limited and general partners have yielded progress and further alignment. “There is still a need for increased transparency in LPACs [Limited Partner Advisory Committees] and reporting,” says Grgic. “But perhaps there is, even more, need for an industry consensus on standards. Going forward, it is important to keep collaborating through initiatives and actions to reach consensus more efficiently,” she adds.
Responsible investing means committing to allocating capital and resources to businesses’ sustainable development, according to Grgic. “Sustainability is essential to the well-being of future generations but also to delivering long-term high returns. As investors, we have a responsibility towards global sustainable development and an opportunity to make a positive impact,” she concludes.
Image courtesy of AP6