Stockholm (NordSIP) – Danske Bank continues to strengthen its fund selection and ESG capabilities. In August, Annica Hagberg, a skilled fund analyst with extensive experience, joined the Manager and Fund Selection team led by Susanne Bolin Gärtner. The new appointment follows on the heels of adding Gustaf Sjöström to the same team just before the summer holidays.
To better understand Danske’s attraction power, NordSIP took the opportunity to ask Hagberg about her reasons for joining the bank. “It is exciting to be involved in setting up a truly Nordic fund selection team. We can benefit from the different countries’ views on external funds and sustainability and combine these into a complete picture,” she says.
Hagberg reveals that there is another essential motive behind the move, too. “Danske has high ambitions when it comes to sustainability, both for internally and externally managed funds, and I look forward to contributing and driving this even further,” she explains. Having worked with Bolin Gärtner for many years at Folksam, she is also familiar with her new boss’s focus on sustainability issues.
As a seasoned fund selector, Hagberg’s approach to ESG is a hands-on, pragmatic one. “To me, it’s important to understand how sustainability is incorporated in an external manager’s entire process. I need evidence that ESG factors are included in the valuation processes in the same way that more traditional factors are,” she explains. “At the same time, it is important that the investment manager has the adequate resources in place, both people and systems, to be able to analyse and report on sustainability issues,” she adds.
Working as a manager selector for an investment manager means that you inevitably tend to look at your own organisation through the same prism you use to evaluate others. So, naturally, Hagberg has analysed her new employer. “Danske is an active owner. ESG criteria are included in the ownership guidelines, sustainability analysis is incorporated in all investment decision-making processes and has been for many years,” she says. She points out that Danske Bank has recently signed the Net Zero Asset Manager Initiative supporting the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with the Paris Agreement. “We are also looking at broadening our product offering to help customers invest via products that promote sustainability or have sustainability objectives,” she adds.
One of the tasks that Hagberg seems to look forward to is engaging on sustainability issues, both with internal stakeholders and with external managers. She quotes as an example Danske’s ongoing dialogue with fund managers on the EU’s new regulatory framework. “The bank’s ambition is to offer only funds that fall under Article 8 and 9 of the SFDR. Yet we can consider even products currently classified under Article 6, provided the manager can convince us that they are actively working on aligning the fund with the Article 8 criteria,” she says.
“We always need to remember who our end clients are and work in their best interest,” reminds Hagberg. “I think that Swesif’s Sustainability Profile (Hållbarhetsprofilen) has an important role to play in supporting our clients’ sustainable choices. We are therefore committed to developing this tool further to align it with the new regulations,” she concludes.