One of Sweden’s largest pension funds removes CEO over losses in crisis-hit US banks

Sweden’s Alecta, one of the country’s largest pension funds, said Tuesday it was replacing its CEO, after the fund lost almost 20 billion kronor ($1.9 billion) from investments in crisis-hit US banks.

“The Board has now concluded that Alecta needs new leadership to implement the necessary changes in asset management and restore trust,” the fund said in a statement.

Alecta said CEO Magnus Billing would step down with “immediate effect,” and that Deputy CEO Katarina Thorslund would step in as CEO during the search for a permanent replacement.

The fund announced in mid-March that it had lost 19.6 billion kronor as a result of its holdings in three crisis-hit US banks: Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Signature Bank and First Republic.

Days before the collapse of SVB, Alecta told financial newspaper Dagens Industri that it had sold off its assets in two of Sweden’s largest banks in order to up its investments in US niche banks.

In early April, the fund announced it was replacing its head of equities and that it would be reducing the risk of having large stakes in private companies far from Alecta’s home market.

The dramatic collapse of SVB and, shortly after, Signature Bank in March unleashed turmoil across financial markets with fears of an international contagion.

However, Swedish financial authorities have toned down the threat to Sweden’s financial institutions and the country’s Financial Supervisory Authority FI said that neither stability in the system nor future pensions had been affected to any noteworthy degree.

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