You're one of the 3.8 million people whose pension savings are invested with AMF. Our aim is for your pension to be as high as possible, through low charges and high returns. We're better positioned than other providers, because all the profits AMF generates are returned to our customers. Our owners, the Swedish Trade Union Confederation and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, want us to offer value-for-money, attractive pension solutions to companies and employees covered by collective agreements, but also to other savers that choose AMF.
Our customers can expect AMF to generate high returns on their pension savings for low cost. High returns and low cost mean higher pensions and a bit more to live on. We want to be seen as easy to deal with, secure and having a human touch, and these are the goals we work towards every day. Easy to deal with, secure, and having a human touch, means you, the customer, should feel sure your pension savings are being invested wisely, that you're getting good service and information, and that your questions are answered clearly.
I am proud to manage the pension company that has generated the highest returns for its customers in traditional pension plans. No other Swedish pension company has achieved such high growth on its customers' pension savings over the past 10, 15 and 20 years. Despite the difficult situation facing the global economy, our returns were as high as 8.0% in 2012.
AMF's funds have also produced good returns. In the past year, 7 funds out of 12 have outperformed their comparative index and the value of all of our funds has increased. Out of the 9 funds we have offered for 5 years or more, 5 outperformed their comparative indices over this period. Our funds are also highly rated by independent commentators. Morningstar rates our funds an average 4.1 out of a possible 5. This rating indicates that our funds are a good long-term savings option.
AMF has some of the lowest costs of any pension company. The charges we collect that we don't need to cover our costs are returned to customers, and in 2012, we were able to return SEK 519 m of charges to our customers. We will also be reducing charges for over 1 million of our customers in 2013. To ensure we keep our costs down in future, we kept working on increasing efficiency in 2012. This included bringing more parts of our IT system into operation, which enabled us to cut our mailing costs by 50% by migrating to Internet-based communication with our customers.
We regularly ask our customers what they think of us. In the most recent customer satisfaction survey, we were rated 4.4 out of 5. After taking the views of our customers on board, we launched a series of improvements to our Internet and mobile-based office. We also extended our collaboration with Min Pension ('My Pension') so our customers can get a better overview of all their pension savings.
If you save in a traditional AMF pension plan, you can be sure of receiving your guaranteed pension. AMF is very strong financially, and has the biggest financial buffer of any Swedish pension company. This also means great freedom when managing your money. In other words, we can take more risk, if and when the future economic prospects look right. So AMF is better positioned to keep producing better returns than other companies over time, without jeopardising the pledges we have made. This brings the possibility of an extra allocation of funds in addition to your guaranteed pension.
If you're saving in unit-linked assurance, you have no guaranteed pension. The performance of your pension depends on the progress of the funds you have chosen.
Long-term returns are the primary target for AMF when we manage your pension savings. When we're thinking about how to invest your money, we also consider how the companies we invest in conduct themselves towards their employees, wider society and the environment. Companies whose business considers the environment and people tend to be stable over time and can be expected to generate the best returns. Our work is compliant with standards including the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, the UN Global Compact and the Ottawa Convention.
AMF is managed according to mutual principles. This means that all profits are returned to you and the other customers that save in AMF's pension plans, and no profits are paid to our owners, the Swedish Trade Union Confederation and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. We think it's important for each customer to be treated fairly in relation to other customers. We design and price individual products and operations so that over time they can bear their own costs and their own risks.
I see a lot of challenges for the Swedish pension system over the coming years. The global economy is going through its worst crisis for decades, we have an ageing population and individual pension savers are taking more responsibility for their own pensions. Simultaneously, competition for your pension savings is increasing, but the implications of the various alternatives aren't always easily understood.
However, I do view AMF's future with confidence, as I do for our customers. Our financial strength is enabling us to stand firm in an uncertain world, and we can offer guaranteed pension disbursements. In a lower-growth economy, our low costs are an additional strength because they don't put your pension assets under strain. The fact that all our profits are returned to our customers also means we only have one interest to protect—yours!
Chief Executive Officer
Stockholm, Sweden, February 2013