SWEDEN - Exclusive: Sofia Ericsson, former vice president at investment bank Lazard, has quit the firm to head up AP1's first foray into alternative investments.
Ericsson will join Sweden’s first national pension fund on August 15 in the newly created position to advise on a potential 3% allocation, including real estate, hedge funds and private equity.
Ericsson had been at Lazard in Stockholm since 2001. Prior to Lazard, she led mergers and acquisitions at European Internet consulting and solutions provider Framfab in Stockholm.
William af Sandeberg, managing director of API, said that Ericsson’s initial focus will be on private equity in which the fund has already made an undisclosed commitment to a Swedish manager.
“We haven't decided exactly what kind of strategy [but] in the long-term we will have a diversified strategy, not just in Sweden or the Nordic region.”
Investments are likely to be made using fund of funds vehicles and to consist mainly of venture capital.
All national funds are subject to a 3% strategic cap when it comes to alternative investments.
On real estate, AP1 currently holds 3% of its SEK 117.1bn assets in Swedish property through the national property company, the AP fastigheter. The company is divided between AP funds 1 to 4.
Sandeberg added that the fund will look at internationalising their portfolio here too: “I think we will keep the AP real estate company [AP fastigheter] but we could see more long term diversification from outside Sweden to Europe and the rest of the world.”
He said that a decision on hedge funds will be made in the autumn.
Separately, AP1 project manager, Steffan Ifvarsson, said that the fund was busy shortlisting a total of 15 applicants for a e150m active pacific (ex-Japan) equities brief and a e350m active Japanese equities brief.
Tenders are deadlined for June 30, with an appointment expected by August 31.
Both mandates will be seeded from an existing passive global equity mandate run by Barclays Global Investors.
The moves are advised by Mercer Investment Consulting.
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