Första AP-fonden (AP1) delivered a return of 9.7 per cent and reduced its carbon footprint and costs considerably in 2020

26 February 2021

During a challenging year AP1 delivered a high return of 9.7 per cent after costs, with net investment income amounting to SEK 34.8 billion. SEK 7.9 billion were transferred to the national income pension system. The Fund’s year-end assets under management amounted to SEK 392.6 billion. Costs were cut by SEK 123 million, a decrease of 29 per cent year-on-year, and the equity portfolio’s carbon footprint was reduced by 46 per cent during the same period.

CEO Kristin Magnusson Bernard comments on the results:

“I am incredibly proud of the Fund’s employees, who with great commitment have delivered on all aspects of our mandate –high returns, ambitious cost efficiency and sustainable value creation. During a challenging year, we have successfully steered the portfolio as well as nimbly adjusted both our exposures and our work practices. The Fund’s delivered return of 9.7 per cent comfortably exceeds the long-term goals set by our Board of Directors. The Fund’s costs were cut by SEK 123 million year-on-year, which puts us considerably below our peer benchmark.

Our sustainability work has also taken great strides forwards. The Board of Directors’ decision to stop investing in companies with fossil-fuel businesses was implemented during 2020, which led to a reduction of our listed equity portfolio’s carbon footprint by 46 per cent as well as reduced its financial risk. All of our asset management teams have further integrated sustainability aspects into their mandates during the year. In fruitful collaboration with our external asset managers, we have developed new sustainable, fossil-free funds which are also available to other investors. We have also set ourselves the goal to considerably increase our share of dedicated investments which serve to promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. As a major shareholder we also continue to practise responsible active ownership.

Looking ahead, we foresee continued complexity coupled with material uncertainty for global financial markets. The strong equity market performance during last year stands in sharp contrast to the situation in the service sector and parts of the labour market. These dispersed effects of the pandemic will probably linger, and affect us for a long time to come. How monetary and fiscal stimulus measures play out, together with the impact of geopolitical tensions, will be of crucial importance to markets, corporates and international trade going forward. Structural changes, such as the ongoing process of digitalisation and the shift towards a climate-neutral economy, will also continue to be driving forces.

Despite the uncertain future ahead, we feel confident in our ability to deliver on our mandate. Responsible investing and an active advocacy agenda will continue to help us produce both financials returns and shape our contribution to the sustainable transition of society,” concludes Kristin Magnusson Bernard, CEO of AP1.

Source: AP1
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