AMWatch

"In hindsight, moving away from banking towards asset management and the growing ETF business was a great move"

Career Path: In 2014, the new head of Nordic ETF at Invesco Fredrik Nilsson changed his career by leaving banking and entering asset management and the world of ETFs. He explains to AMWatch why he considers the decision one of the biggest changes to his career.

Invesco recently appointed Fredrik Nilsson as Head of ETF Business Development for the Nordic region. Photo: PR / INVESCO

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

"I have always liked the financial markets and equity trading growing up, so the possibility of gaining an international education and working for large global banks and asset managers was definitely a career path I aimed for. From an early age, I was very focused on my football training and I guess I hoped for a breakthrough as a professional football player as most young boys do."

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

"If I reflect back on my education, I think most of it has been relevant at different stages of my career, but the one thing that keeps showing up time and time again is my Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. It was hard work to complete while being a new graduate at work, but I firmly believe this is worth the effort in your career – as well as for personal development.

I think the CFA designation is very practical in nature and hence is very useful directly in the financial industry and its work environment. Whereas the University degree to a certain extent is very academical and not fully applicable to the daily work within banking or asset management."

Fredrik Nilsson serves as president of the Swedish CFA Society.

Which parts of your CV represent the biggest changes to your career?

"In hindsight,I would say moving away from banking towards asset management and the growing exchange-traded fund business was a great move.

I feel like the asset management industry in general has been better positioned for growth in this highly regulated environment of financial markets, which we have experienced after the financial crisis years. The industry has managed to become more professional in its dialogs with clients, and by doing so, it has captured parts of the business that have historically been reined in via the large investment banks. The asset managers’ fiduciary mindsets are another important aspect that is at the front and center of client discussions."

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

"I think I valued the experience of working in a smaller team with a lot of responsibility from day one, but at the same time, I will highlight working towards joint goals achieved through good teamwork and information sharing.

In my new role at Invesco, I will be the only one focusing on ETFs and will be working closely with three colleagues in our small office in Stockholm. In this small team of four people, coordinationand sharing information are key, considering the breadth and regional differences of our clients across the Nordics.

We need to be able to offer our clients the best within Invesco’s entire platform, and we need to do this in a structured and professional manner. Working in a local team away from the headquarter also requires a specific mindset in terms of communication and business approach."

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

"For me, an inspiring leader is all about inclusion and trust in one’s workforce. To be able to delegate responsibility and day-to-day client engagement to your employees while focusing on the more strategic objectives of the firm, for me, this is the key to a successful working environment and long-term business success."

What occupies you the most right now?

"At the moment I must say my role at Invesco is still new, and to get up to speed on our internal procedures as well as our strong product offering before getting to speaking to our clients, I need to understand the workflows and learn as quickly as possible.

Invesco is working on expanding our beta offering, which includes ETFs as well as equity and fixed income, and factor investing as well as customized indexing. As one of the global industry leaders, we are constantly working on improving our client solutions.

Outside the office environment, I spend my time on family life, which involves two small and energetic boys."

English Edit: Nielsine Nielsen

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