Lannebo Fonder looks for controlled growth to branch out of Scandinavia
Anders Lannebo, founder and chairman of the boutique, is keen to grow the firm, but not so fast that it threatens its
status for quality asset management.
Anders Lannebo started his career some 30 years ago at what today is known as Swedbank Robur with fewer than ten other people. Over two decades this grew to some 100 people, on its way to becoming one of the Nordic region’s biggest fund providers, before Lannebo decided to strike out on his own.
Today he is known as ‘Mr Fund’ in Sweden, and chairs one of the best known local boutiques, Lannebo Fonder.
In the past few years Lannebo’s Swedish equity products have raised eyebrows for their performance, and this has helped the company transition from a small into what Anders Lannebo terms a “mid-sized” asset manager in the domestic market.
“These days if you perform it gets noticed much quicker by customers. People read about performance in newspapers and via other sources, and we see this in terms of the inflows.”
The firm has been a favourite of Swedish retail investors for several years now, particularly its Småbolag (Smaller Companies) fund, but increasingly also its Sverige (Sweden) and Mixfond (Mixed) funds.
“Our Smaller Companies fund [name] is our flagship, with about half our assets under management. And our reputation is primarily derived from this part of our business. In the past couple of years there has been a shift in focus to the Sweden and Mixed funds, which we think is healthy.”
Having established its position in the domestic market, it is natural to ask about the future. This is true not only in terms of products, but also in terms of foreign distribution. He believes that regulatory changes such as Ucits IV will make it easier to follow the company’s vision of growth.
Thus far it has been a Swedish house focused on the domestic market, with some business across the Nordics.
“We are Sweden focused to a large extent. The funds have been Sweden based. There has been some business across the Nordics but very little from outside the region.”
“Strategically for the firm it is the case that we have SEK30bn AUM. We are mid-sized in the Swedish context. So it is natural that we start looking outside the borders, and it is part of our vision to do that in terms of broadening the investment opportunities for existing products or launching new products, or in terms of our customer base. The customer base is Sweden-dominated currently, and that is something where we are very keen to go across borders.”
It will also depend on obtaining what he terms ‘the right people’. The point is to preserve the existing quality in equity investing that the company is known for, while any development will require people with the right skill sets.
“We have stated that we won’t do anything new unless we have the right people in place. That is important, because we want to protect our reputation for quality. Today, for example, emerging markets is an important area where we do not have the competence and are not present”
Given the company’s existing expertise in smaller company investing, Lannebo says this is an area it may focus on in order to crack other markets.
Lannebo has no particular targets in terms of the types of clients it may chase outside Sweden, instead taking the view that any money – retail or institutional – is welcome. That said, it is easier to get more money through fewer clients by targeting the institutional space, he adds.
The strategy is to grow organically, but Lannebo is not discounting the opportunity to make tactical acquisitions.
Whatever happens the overriding concern is on maintaining the company’s reputation for quality.
Growing too quickly could threaten that, he says.