Skandia’s Nordic selection
Stockholm-based Jim Rotsman, Skandia‘s head of Nordic Investment Management
talks about the context of the local market for funds given Skandia’s global approach to fund selection via its 4P system.
Skandia is one of the best known financial services names in its original domestic market Sweden. For anybody working in insurance, getting a job at Skandia was for a long time considered the equivalent of getting a seat at the top of the pyramid. The links between its board and government were old, many and deep.
But, the corporate narrative has changed, and so has the approach to investments and funds distributed in Sweden. Jim Rotsman heads the Nordic asset management business, including holding responsibilities for the funds that are selected for local distribution via Skandia’s platform. As part of a group with a global asset management reach, Skandia’s Swedish approach to assets applies similar principles found elsewhere. In this, it is guided by the ‘4Ps’: philosophy, process, people, and performance (see box below).
The process has been followed for some time now, and is the reason behind the particular spread of funds available, Rotsman says.
This spread has grown organically over the years since Skandia established its relevant unit linked business in the 1990s. Currently there is little by way of passive investments selected on behalf of the spread of investment vehicles available via the company’s local market platform. There is limited demand for index funds, but Rotsman says that an index offering is under review – in line with the process for selecting funds.
It is worth noting here that one of the better known Swedish domestic manufacturing brands, Carnegie, pulled out of the ETF market in February 2011 on the basis that it wanted to focus exclusively on active management. In its case the ETF products came with the acquisition in September 2009 of HQ Fonder, subsequently rebranded Carnegie Fonder. The company said there were few “synergies” between the ETF business and the rest of its fund activities.
Skandia is one of the pre-eminent financial services names in Sweden. After 150 years as an independent blue chip company, it was acquired by South Africa’s Old Mutual in 2006, following a disastrous failure to properly manage internal bonus programmes and payments to senior executives. However, since then the company has gone on to thrive within the broader OM group in its role as a key brand in Europe’s long-term savings market. Skandia’s operations in Sweden are part of Skandia Nordic, which has operations in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Skandia Nordic is part of Old Mutual’s Long-term Savings division.