The Swedish Investment Fund Association (Fondbolagens förening) took a number of key messages to the annual gathering of political parties, lobbyists and representatives from across sectors of the economy in the medieval town of Visby, located on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.
The so-called Almedalsveckan has been held for half a century, offering a week of debate and discussion around policy – both existing and proposed – as it affects Swedes. This years event also took place ahead of a general election on 9 September. It has also coincided with proposals to significantly alter the country’s pension system, particularly in respect of the role of the PPM pension, which has fallen victim to a number of scandals in recent years, which have threatened the assets of long term savers. Recently introduced requirements for funds to be listed on the PPM platform, which has been run by the Swedish Pensions Agency, are like to see the number of funds reduced to a level similar to that when the platform launched – around 450 funds, one speaker at one of the panel sessions hosted or co-hosted by Sifa argued.
In light of the PPM changes and the possible implications for use of investment funds for long term savings puroses, the Association has also noted the recent publication of figures by the SCB, Statistics Sweden, which suggest households added SEK25bn (€2.4bn) on a net basis to bank accounts in the first quarter this year – the highest noted for a first quarter since 2007, when a certain type of wealth tax was abolished.
Sustainability and investments was a theme that arose across a number of the ‘town hall’ style meetings organised by various financial institutions at the Almedalsveckan, and it was noted that there is an increasing amount of information available to investors within fund documents about how the issue is being tackled.