Private equity investments call for special skills

Career Path: Last week, private equity specialist Heidi Haurholm-Rasmussen entered her new office at Industriens Pension. She tells AMWatch about how she was introduced to private equity and why she has stayed with the asset class ever since.

Heidi Haurholm-Rasmussen is a new senior investment manager at Industriens Pension Photo: Industriens Pension/ PR

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

"I have never really had one clear career path that I wanted to follow. In my early youth, I was already very interested in parts of the financial sector and the investment world, and I had an idea that I wanted to work with some kind of financial investment.

Like many other students studying finance at CBS, I had a period where I thought that I wanted to be in investment banking. But after having my first child when I was writing my master’s thesis, that plan was changed along with my priorities."

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

"I have primarily used the overall way of thinking in finance, and of course how to calculate financial problems. In private equity, the financial skills are important, but at the same time, you are investing in people and for that you also need another set of skills that are not taught at business school.

As a private equity investor, we often invest in a fund where no investments have been made yet. We have to make sure that the people who set up the fund have the right background, experience and of course a proper investment strategy prior to the investment."

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

"Right after business school, I worked at Roskilde Bank and Nykredit where I worked with financial tasks in general. So, when I changed jobs and began as an associate at Danske Private Equity, it was definitely the biggest change in my career so far.

I have been working with – and been very excited about – investments in Private Equity ever since. I like that investing in private equity requires extra research skills as I cannot look up information on Bloomberg. I often need thorough information about different types of markets, industries and companies that is not common investment knowledge."

What's the most important skill or experience from your former job that is applicable to your next staff role?

"When I began working at Vækstfonden (The Danish Growth Fund, ed.) I primarily had experience from investing in buyout funds and less so in Venture funds. At Vækstfonden, I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time learning about the venture space and getting to know a lot of the managers within that area. It has given me a more nuanced view of the market and the opportunities that are out there."

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

"I have fortunately worked with many inspiring people both on the fund level and as colleagues. I can’t single one out, but I prefer managers who are willing to listen to their employees and who focus on personal development. I also have to mention my former colleagues at Danske Private Equity as they were the ones that introduced me to and got me excited about Private Equity."

What occupies you the most right now?

"The most current topic is of course how private equity is coping with the Covid-19 crisis and what impact it will have on the funds and the companies. But in the longer term I am thinking a lot about how private equity will embrace the increasing focus on the UN sustainable development goals and the green transition in general.

These are areas that are also very important for Industriens Pension, and the sustainability agenda will probably play an important part in my work going forward."

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