Wealth Management

Johanna Englundh - similarities and differences between Nordic fund investors

Johanna Englundh, editor at Morningstar, on the main similarities and differences in mutual fund investments in the Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish markets.

Swedish fund savers are often described as the best in the world, but there are both similarities and differences between the Nordic countries' thoughts on risk preference, fund investing and market returns.

Swedish fund investors are often described as the best in the world, and rightfully so in my opinion. The fact that such a large proportion of the Swedish population has private fund savings has allowed many to see their savings increase in value, which hopefully has contributed to greater financial security. Thanks to healthy competition, with several different players and a wide range of funds, the fund market is easily accessible with a range that suits most people.  


In recent years, new platforms have entered the market, and I think we will see more of this in the future. The fund market we have today will probably not be the same in ten years' time. How digitalisation and new regulations will reshape the market will be exciting to follow. 

But what does the fund market actually look like in our Norwegian and Finnish neighbouring countries? What are the similarities and/or differences, and why are Swedes described as the best in the world when it comes to mutual fund savings?

6 similarities and differences between Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish fund investors

  1. The willingness to take on risk is high among Swedes and Norwegians. Both Swedish and Norwegian fund savers are risk-takers, and the majority of fund assets are in equity funds. This stands out in a European perspective, where fund savers generally take a lower risk and save more in fixed income funds than Swedes and Norwegians do. Finnish fund investors are more similar to other Europeans and have a higher proportion of savings in fixed income funds than Swedes and Norwegians.

  2. We have a home-bias. Despite the fact that Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish fund investors have followed the trend of global funds, where a majority of fund assets are invested in equity funds, it is clear that we have a home-bias. After the popular global fund category, Swedish savers choose Sweden funds, Norwegian savers choose Norway funds and Finnish investors choose Finland funds.  

  3. We are drawn to index funds. 27% is invested in index funds in Norway, compared to 15% in 2015. The same trend can be seen in Sweden, where wealth in index funds has grown from 8% in 2012 to 22% by the end of 2023. Finland is significantly behind in this trend, with only 12% of capital in index funds in 2024. 

  4. Fewer Norwegians and Finns save in funds. In Sweden, 70% save privately in funds, while the same figure in Norway and Finland is 48% and 36% respectively. With tax-favoured funds launched in 1978 and Allemansspar in 1984, mutual fund saving became a popular movement in Sweden. It is clear that tax incentives can act as an important catalyst, as it can also be seen in the US and the huge inflows into tax-efficient ETFs.

  5. The Swedish stock market has outperformed both Norway and Finland over the past ten years: Morningstar Sweden has returned 10% per year, while Morningstar Norway has returned 6.6% per year and Morningstar Finland 8.2%, measured in Swedish kronor. 

  6. There are significantly more fund management companies in Sweden, 82 different fund management companies compared to 26 in Norway and 32 in Finland. The number of funds also differs dramatically, with more than twice as many Swedish-registered funds as Norwegian-registered funds. Despite the wide range of funds and fund management companies, the two largest fund management companies in each market have a strong dominance, managing 48% of the capital in Norway and 58% in Sweden and Finland.


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