AMWatch

New head of Nordics: “I had to fight for every win for the first couple of years”

New Head of Nordics at Allianz Global Investors, Erik Rosensvärd, considers entering the asset management industry after working at a start-up company to be the biggest change in his career. He entered the industry at the worst possible time - immediately after the financial crisis. But it was also a great to time prove your worth quite fast as most banks were firing rather than hiring. Erik Rosensvärd tells AMWatch his story.

New Head of Nordics at Allianz Global, Erik Rosensvär Photo: PR / Allianz Global Investors

Which career path did you envision for yourself when you were younger?

"When I first started to think about work, I saw myself working in the small family business that my father ran. It was a premium menswear brand in Stockholm founded in 1989 and I worked there on and off during my youth, so I knew the business quite well. I liked being part of the shop as I enjoyed the interaction with the customers, and I learned a lot about listening to a customer’s needs and figuring out how to fulfill them. But in the end, I felt like doing something else, which my father completely supported.

From an early age, I was always intrigued by seeing capital grow. I started saving half of the money I occasionally got as birthday or Christmas gifts when I was a child and as I got a little bit older, I started investing in equities. That fascination grew during high school."

Which part of your education have you used the most in your career?

"To be honest, I would say that what I have used the most is not a specific part of my education, although my education as a whole has been of great value. It gave me knowledge in finance, macroeconomics and understanding numbers and statistics which I use every day. But mostly what I have been using is the experience that I gained from my work life through seeing professional people work and learning from them.

I firmly believe that no matter what product or service you might be selling or advising on, in whatever industry, from selling premium menswear to investment solutions, one of the most important things is to be able to understand and listen to your client's needs and then find the right solution or product.

I have always liked interacting with people and doing business. But you also need social skills. That’s not something they teach you in school, but something I feel is of great value.

Which part of your resumé represents the biggest change in your career?

"That was in late 2008 just after Lehman had gone bust. During a 6 month stay in California working for a startup, I decided to go back to Sweden and try my luck in finance and asset management. This had been my plan a year earlier, but a friend of mine had started his own business and he asked me to join him and that led me to California. The timing was not great as California was hit hard by the financial crisis, and I went back to Sweden and started my career in finance, working for a smaller Swedish Bank and asset manager.

You could say that it was the worst time to go into banking, but it was also a perfect opportunity to show your worth during a period where banks were firing rather than hiring. I had to fight for every win for the first couple of years, nothing came easy, and it was a very steep learning curve."

Which leader in the business has inspired your career the most?

"A bit of a cheesy answer perhaps but I do think that Warren Buffet and his approach to investing is very compelling, understandable and extremely impressive. Sometimes financial markets and investment banks have a tendency to overcomplicate things, to say the least."

What occupies you the most right now?

"Without question, the growing demand in private markets currently consumes approximately 2/3 of my time. We have seen fantastic growth in that segment around Real Assets such as infrastructure equity, infrastructure debt, renewables and recently also Impact.

Since a lot of what we can offer our clients are strategies and investment platforms that have been serving our parent company Allianz for many years, we have the benefit of having built a large book of business with very strong teams and a track record we can be extremely proud of. AllianzGI is now a market leader in infrastructure debt with assets under management of EUR 17 billion and through Allianz Capital Partners, manages in excess of EUR 30 billion in infrastructure equity, private equity and renewables. Since 2019, Allianz Capital Partners’s expertise has been available to third party investors to invest alongside Allianz.

The fact that in a lot of the above mentioned asset classes we can allow our third party clients to co-invest alongside Allianz is quite unique and creates strong alignment of interest. That’s something which is really well perceived within our Nordic market."

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