CEO of Denmark’s $120 Billion ATP Pension Fund Steps Down

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  • Former Citigroup banker started as CEO of ATP in 2013
  • ATP fund has started recruitment process to find a replacement

Carsten Stendevad is resigning as chief executive officer of ATP, Denmark’s biggest pension fund, in order to move back to the U.S.

The $120 billion fund has started a recruitment process to find a replacement, it said on Friday. The 43-year-old is leaving the fund to move back to the U.S. and be close to his wife’s family, where a “serious” health-related situation has arisen, according to the fund.

“At this point, I have no new job lined up,” Stendevad said by phone. “Contractually I have six month’s notice and so far we haven’t settled on any specific dates. We have the possibility to keep it flexible and have a good, orderly transition. There will be no overlap” with the new CEO. “I’ll take my time to consider my next step,” he said.

Carsten Stendevad

Photographer: Jens Honore/ATP

The fund says it hopes to find a replacement for Stendevad before the end of the year. The ATP CEO has headed the fund since 2013, replacing Lars Rohde when he moved on to become governor of Denmark’s central bank. Stendevad had previously worked at Citigroup in the U.S.

During his time at ATP, he oversaw a number of changes in the fund’s investment strategy, including altering the shape of its discount curve to take into account historically low interest rates. He also changed the fund’s approach to dissecting risk, so that instead of allocating each investment into one of five risk classes, it now decomposes each investment into four risk factors: inflation, interest rates, equities and a bucket labeled “other.”

“I was fortunate enough to have time to execute the plans I had, including adjusting our guaranteed investment product, the entire restructuring of our investment strategy, building out investment competencies and expanding the administration business,” Stendevad said.

ATP, which had total assets of 800 billion kroner ($120 billion), reported a net loss for the first half of 4.29 billion kroner, after setting aside almost 10 billion kroner for longer life expectancy. In its investment portfolio, the fund returned 6.85 billion kroner, or 6.7 percent, compared with 11.47 billion kroner a year earlier. It lost 3.48 billion kroner on long-term hedges against inflation increases, and 893 million kroner on a category it defines as other exposure to inflation. It made 3.94 billion kroner on bonds and 3.56 billion kroner on private equity.

Over the past three years, ATP’s investment return has averaged 14.3 percent, compared with a target of 9 percent. “I’m very pleased with that,” given that the fund was restructuring its investment strategy at the same time, Stendevad said.