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    Söderberg & Partners Downgrades Alecta

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – In its latest Hållbara Pensionsbolag (“Sustainable Pension Companies”) report, Swedish consultancy Söderberg & Partners review the sustainability performance of the country’s largest pension funds and consider SFDR implementation. Although rankings remained the same, one large pension fund has fallen while two have risen. Meanwhile, Söderberg & Partners pinpoint a number of challenges facing pension funds regarding SFDR.

    This is the eighth edition of the report, which analyses the sustainability work of 12 Sweden’s largest pension companies to help pension savers choose the most sustainable alternative. Pension companies are rated according to three factors: Sustainable investing process, engagement and sustainable ambition and value creation.

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    This year’s analysis includes 12 pension companies, of which three companies have received a sustainability rating change. Alecta has had its sustainability rating lowered from yellow to red and KPA and Swedbank have had their ratings raised from red to yellow. Otherwise, the total grades are unchanged.

    Of the three components of the analysis, only on its engagement (Påverkansarbete) does Alecta rank in the red. The report argues that as a large shareholder, Alecta has the opportunity to influence the sustainability profile of its investee companies but could do better. “We do not believe that they are exploiting their potential for influence in the way they could. Although the companies’ ESG group decides which ESG areas are to be prioritised, there is no clear process for the advocacy work,” the report says. In the nomination committee’s work, the report notes that Alecta also argues boards should have a strategic understanding of sustainability, but Alecta does not describe how crucial it is in their process to nominate board chairs.

    Länsförsäkringar’s three funds lead the ranks once again, followed by Skandia and SPP, all of whom were rated “green”. Folksam, KPA, Handelsbanken, Nordea, SEB and Swedbank were ranked “yellow”, while AMF and SEB gamla were rated “red” at the bottom, with Alecta.

    “The competition is tough out there. It is not possible to stand still. We are happy to see that our work has made an impact. We have a dedicated team, our own analysis model for assessing companies and in-depth analysis for selected companies,” Helena Hagberg, head of sustainability at Skandia, commented on this occasion.

    The 2021 report also focused on the EU’s action plan for financing sustainable growth, particularly on the taxonomy and the regulation on sustainability-related information for financial market participants and financial advisers (SFDR). According to the report, the implementation of SFDR presents pension companies with several challenges, the most significant of which is the lack of data and the ambiguous interpretation of the regulations. Asides from these two regulatory topics, Swedish pension savers can also learn more about the EU’s Green Bond Standard, the EU Ecolabel Standard and about the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

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