The AP Funds to conduct a strategic review of the Council on Ethics

The First, Second, Third and Fourth AP funds will jointly conduct a strategic review of the Council on Ethics, as ESG and responsible investment practices are increasingly integrated into the AP Funds’ asset management strategies and objectives. In connection to this, John Howchin, Secretary General of the Council on Ethics since 2009, announces that he is leaving his role.

The Council on Ethics of the AP Funds was formed in 2007 as a collaboration between the First, Second, Third, and Fourth AP Fund with the aim of influencing global portfolio companies through dialogue and engagement to improve their work on environmental, human rights, and corporate governance issues. Since its formation, the Council on Ethics has engaged thousands of listed foreign companies in dialogue. Sustainability and responsible investment practices has gained in importance and been more widely in the strategies and processes of the AP Funds in recent times, including in their legal mandate. It is against this background that the funds have now jointly decided to review the Council of Ethics’ mission and strategy.

Kristin Magnusson Bernard, CEO AP1, Eva Halvarsson, CEO AP2, Kerstin Hessius, CEO AP3, and Niklas Ekvall, CEO AP4, speak jointly:

“Through dialogue and engagement, the Council on Ethics plays an extremely important role in driving positive change at foreign companies where the Swedish AP Funds are owners. The purposeful work has highlighted dialogues as an effective tool for improved sustainability work and better long-term returns – a work that will continue and be further developed. With great commitment and strong leadership, John Howchin has played a central part in taking the Council on Ethics to where it is today. We would like to thank him for his important contributions and wish him every success in the future.”

Secretary General John Howchin comments:

“The AP funds and Council on Ethics today holds a strong position, both nationally and internationally, and is seen as a good example when it comes to responsible and sustainable investments. It has been an educative and interesting time where I have had the opportunity to contribute to sustainable development as well as closely follow the rapid positive developments in sustainability that have taken place within management and governance. The strategic review which is now initiated is a natural opportunity for me to leave the role of Secretary-General after 12 years. I want to thank the AP funds for the trust I have received during this time, and it is with pride that I finish my mission”.

An acting Secretary-General responsible for day-to-day operations will be appointed shortly.

For more information, please contact:
Peter Lundkvist, Chairman of Council of Ethics,, Mobile +46 709 517 244

Council of Ethics of the AP Funds

Since 2007, the First, Second, Third, and Fourth AP Funds have been coordinating their work on environmental and ethical issues through the joint the Council on Ethics. The Council on Ethics sees its mission as encouraging companies, on the basis of the business they conduct, to address relevant sustainability issues, to have in place fit-for-purpose guidelines and to apply control and follow-up systems to enable the business to be operated in as responsible way as possible. The Council on Ethics does this both by driving forward and participating in preventive initiatives and by acting to bring about positive change in a number of companies associated with violations of international conventions on the environment and human rights.

The Swedish National Pension Funds, AP Funds

The AP Funds manage buffer capital in Sweden’s national pension system for the benefit of current and future pensioners, on behalf of Swedish Parliament and the Swedish people. The AP Funds (AP1–AP4) share the same mission but have different asset management strategies, and they are governed by the National Pension Insurance Funds Act (2000:192) (the AP Funds Act). At the end of June 2021, net assets totalled almost SEK 1,810 billion. The AP Funds balance payments into and disbursements from the pension system, and have since the beginning paid SEK 220 billion into the system. These assets comprise approximately 16 per cent of total assets in the pension system.