SWEDEN - Senior executives at pension manager AMF have given back their bonuses after a local paper reported the firm gave out over SEK1m (US$118,473).
Ingvar Skeberg executive vice president and head of pension markets returned SEK1m. Chief executive officer Ingrid Bonde returned SEK50,000, despite being at the fund for only a month.
AMF had earmarked SEK419,000 for chief executive of the mutual fund business Fredrik Nordström, who has also forfeited a bonus, said Safarti. His actual bonus amount for 2008 had not been calculated but would have likely been less than the SEK419,000 amount, she added.
Chief investment officer Peder Hasslev did not receive a bonus because the system posted negative total returns in 2008, but stated that had he received one, he also would have returned it.
Sarfati said: "This is a personal decision in agreement with the board."
The fund posted a -6.6% return for 2008 and an early cut in equity holdings helped to stave off further losses. The MSCI World Index was down over 42% in the same time period. (Global Pensions, 20 February 2009)
Bonuses have become a contentious issue in Sweden as the financial crises rages on. Pension buffer fund AP1 has reportedly been criticized by the government for paying SEK1.6m to some 30 employees.
AP1 managing director Johan Magnusson told Global Pensions that the staff that received bonuses added more in alpha than they took home in incentive pay. Meanwhile, senior executives at the fund did not receive bonuses.
The pressure on pension plans comes against a backdrop of increased scrutiny of Swedish financial players. Swedish bank SEB came under fire last week for offering pay raises to senior management in lieu of bonuses. The SEB eventually scrapped plans to hike pay.
Pension managers in others countries are making moves similar to those at AMF. T. Britton Harris, the investment chief at the Teachers Retirement System of Texas, said in February he would forfeit his bonus pay estimated at $167,838. (Global Pensions, 16 February 2009)
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