“We have a legacy and a proud tradition here. We’ve been in the mutual fund industry for over 50 years. In the last few years we’ve strived to evolve from that legacy to become a more modern asset manager with a more dynamic business model,” says Swedbank Robur Chief Investment Officer, Erik Andersson.
He took on the role as CIO one year ago, coming from a position as head of global equities at the bank-owned asset manager.
“We’ve invested to have a more complete offering to our broad client base. We are not where we want to be, but we have come quite far,” he states.
Investments into marketing and distribution combined with strengthening of the investment team is part of the plan for bringing Swedbank Robur to a more dynamic role than has been the case for the last couple of years.
A stronger foothold and more growth in 2020
“We are a very Nordic house. We want to have a stronger foothold across the Nordics and in the Baltics. We have a large market share of mortgage and retail banking in the Baltics and in 2020 we plan to launch Swedbank Robur funds in the Baltics,” Andersson says.
He adds that more emphasis across the Nordics will also be addressed through 2020, Andersson reveals.
When asked if the main purpose is to boost assets under management, Andersson shakes his head and holds his hands up as if to mitigate the question.
“You need the growth to develop and to be state of the art to be on top of things – you need some growth to challenge you to take the next step," he explains.
"But not growth for the sake of AUM growth – because that does not say anything about what value you create for the client, which is obviously why we exist. And it doesn’t say anything about your profitability," he underlines
The effects of a money laundering scandal
One might fear that continuous growth in AUM would slow down if one is related to a money laundering scandal. When the story of money laundering of billions of euros hit the frontpages during 2019, the consequences for Sweden’s oldest lender, Swedbank, were obvious.
Bad press, and a goodbye to the chief executive and the chairman, were some of the consequences. The mothership, Robur, was shaken - but the aftermath hasn’t directly affected Swedbank Robur, says Andersson.
“It affects all of us in an indirect way. However, I think we’ve not been directly affected at Swedbank Robur. It has given us a second thought about being even more modest in what we do and how we do our KYCs (know your clients, ed.) and our AML (anti money laundering, ed.) processes as well,” Andersson says.
He underlines that Robur hasn’t seen outflow due to the money laundering scandal.