Think locally, grow globally, says Nordic head of Franklin Templeton

The ability to diversify products over time, and taking account of regional markets, are two of the keys to success identified by Patrik Silfverling, the Nordic region director for Franklin Templeton Investments (FTI).

The brand has scored well with investors in recent local surveys, including those conducted by strategic research consultancy Prospero. Silfverling puts this down to ­long-term commitment to crack the stronghold of local providers and distributors, such as the big Nordic banks.

He also argues the survey findings suggest the presence of FTI is greater than some believe. As an international provider operating in each of the region’s local markets, Silfverling continues, Franklin has managed to project a suitably professional capability.

“When I started seven years ago, a single distributor accounted for 80% of assets, and they had one fund also accounting for some 80% of assets,” he says. “Today, it has grown ten-fold, and there is no single fund or product that accounts for more than 20% of assets.”

The aim remains constant: to become the leading ­international asset manager in the Nordic region. That said, Silfverling recognises the challenge that presents, because of the way banks dominate the markets.

Broad product range

What is working in FTI’s favour, he adds, is its ability to offer a broad range of products. “Seven years ago, we talked about completely different products with our customers,” Silfverling says. “It is not that the products we talked about then have become bad, but the appetite has turned to new products across our range. It could be growth, value equities or bonds.”

While adding new offerings, FTI has been wary of adopting a ‘me too’ approach to products. Silfverling s­uggests this is another reason the Nordic business has continued to grow.

The company is built on a business continuity strategy, established by the founding Johnson family, which, he suggests, brings discipline. This does not mean, however, that FTI would avoid picking up a local competitor should the right conditions present themselves, Silfverling says.

“I am totally convinced there will be consolidation in the fund business in the Nordic region – indeed, not just in the Nordics, but globally,” he says. Alluding to the strong position of local banks in the fund markets of the region, this means consolidation is likely to move in a certain direction.

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