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).
FTI is perhaps more interested in looking at interesting products from those with a local presence. Acquisitions are not unknown: last year, FTI acquired Rensburg Fund Management in the UK, rebranding it in the process.
Silfverling echoes the view of other international groups active in the Nordic region, when he says the individual markets need to be recognised as significantly different.
"If you compare, say, Sweden and Denmark and how the average portfolio will look, then they, generally speaking, will be inverted," he says.
"A Swedish portfolio will be 80% equity, 20% liquidity or similar in a long-term portfolio - perhaps 70/30. In Denmark it will be the opposite, with 30% risk - perhaps equities - in the portfolio."
Dealing with these differences is a challenge for people FTI speaks to on the pan-Nordic buy side, particularly when looking for the building blocks for portfolio construction. Teams working in each of the markets may approach FTI with different requirements, even though these selectors all work in the same organisation.
Bringing something unique to the discussions with the buy side is important, especially when trying to develop a relationship. FTI can call on personalities known to professional investors, such as Michael Hasenstab in fixed income or Mark Mobius in emerging markets, but there is also demand for localisation.
This has led to developments such as share classes hedged against currency risk given that these are, except Finland, non-euro markets. Relationships with selectors remains a key focus for FTI, Silfverling says. Last year, the firm hired Lars Hagerud, formerly of Danske Bank, to focus on local institutional sales. Managing this segment successfully poses another challenge for international players such as FTI.
Because it can be difficult to organise meetings with these global managers, it increases the pressure to put people of the right calibre in place locally. In this way, FTI can manage the expectations of investors who may be more used to dealing face-to-face.
However, Silfverling argues this challenge should be put in perspective against the successful cross-border growth of management groups such as FTI.