Stockholm (NordSIP) – As asset managers continue to respond to the market’s demand for sustainable investments, their presence in the Nordics, where this theme has long been popular, has become increasingly important.
In this context, T. Rowe Price promoted Henrik Fahlaker to Head of Nordics at the end of September, replacing Jan Eggertsen, who is retiring. On the occasion of his promotion, NordSIP reached out to Fahlaker to hear his take on what sets Nordic sustainable investors apart from their global counterparts and the challenges and opportunities they face. According to his assessment of market trends, impact investment is likely to rise in prominence.
Fahlaker joined T. Rowe Price in 2014 and has been Head of Sweden since 2019. Prior to this, he was a senior analyst at SEB Wealth Management for four years, following six years as a portfolio analyst and manager at DNB Asset Management.
Following a year-long transition from Eggertsen, Fahlaker is confident of his team’s ability to provide continuity. “Throughout the last year, we have worked with a long term strategic business plan for the region, and the whole team has been highly involved, meaning that we have a clear vision of how to best continue serving our Nordic investors in the future,” Fahlaker tells NordSIP.
“I’m very confident that we have the right resources and capabilities to continue building on the success we have had over the last decade. We’re in a very exciting time right now, launching a number of interesting solutions and products that we believe will be attractive for Nordic investors,” Fahlaker explains.
Nordic Advantages & Challenges
According to Fahlaker, Nordic investors benefit from a first-mover advantage in sustainable markets. “In general Nordic investors are early adopters when it comes to sustainable investments and they constantly raise the bar on requirements and high standards. Climate change is top of mind for Nordic investors, including how they can support the transition to net-zero carbon emissions and subsequently how that should be implemented in their portfolios,” Fahlaker tells NordSIP.
“Post-COVID19, social factors have gained more attention as people come back to work. T. Rowe Price has been in the Nordic region for many years. We have been on this ESG journey in close collaboration with our clients and we look forward to continuing on this path together,” Fahlaker adds.
On the challenge front, Fahlaker is mindful of the pace of regulatory reform and the heterogeneity of standards. “Everything related to ESG is fast-moving, particularly new regulations and investments requirements. At the same time, there is no single standard that fits everyone, meaning that we need to work in close collaboration with investors to create solutions that meet all their requirements and are fit for purpose,” Fahlaker continues.
“T. Rowe Price has been in the Nordic region for almost 20 years. We have a long experience and the right internal capabilities and resources to deliver bespoke solutions for our investors, and we believe this will be even more important going forward as this ESG journey will continue,” Fahlaker says.
Continuous Improvement and Impact Investing
T. Rowe Price’s focus remains to focus on continuous improvement, not merely on its capacities, but also on raising awareness, clarifying strategic focus, and collaborating with outside initiatives to bring about meaningful climate change, according to Fahlaker.
“We have improved our work around ESG across the entire firm, and we now have a well-resourced ESG team globally, ESG analysis fully integrated into our global research platform, established framework and investment processes in responsible products, and this year we have launched our first in a row of impact strategies,” Fahlaker explains.
“Given new EU regulations and where we see clients demands we believe impact across different regions and asset classes will be top of mind among Nordic investors going forward,” Fahlaker adds.
“Everyone can do something to help and every year T. Rowe Price participates in the World Earth Week, with in-office activities across the globe. We previously worked with an organisation in the Nordics to help mitigate pollution in the Baltic Sea, supporting them in drafting a business pitch for water protection in agriculture and biodiversity conservation,” Fahlaker adds.
“We are also working towards getting our offices paperless, in line with our recent donation to The Perfect World Foundation and their ‘Attenborough Forest’ initiative, planting thousands of trees around the world,” Fahlaker concludes.