Stockholm (NordSIP) – Navigera, the fund management arm of leading Swedish insurance broker Max Matthiessen, has just made a high-profile hire. At the beginning of May, Johan Elmquist joined the organisation as Head of Sales and Product Development. A seasoned professional with extensive experience in both asset management and business development, Elmquist is also known for his genuine commitment to sustainable investing. While serving as a member of the nomination committee of Swesif (Sweden’s Sustainable Investment Forum) for almost nine years, he has gained invaluable knowledge in all matters ESG.
“New job today. Should be fun and exciting,” tweeted Elmquist happily (in Swedish) to his many followers on 2 May, adding that his new employer “is a relatively unknown fund company that has been around for almost 30 years.” Naturally, NordSIP was curious to hear more about the move, what he aims to achieve at Navigera and the company’s sustainability ambitions.
Elmquist reveals that he already has a plan in mind. “I want to make Navigera more visible, transparent, and approachable,” he says. “My goals are twofold. First, to participate in the process of expanding the product range to include all asset classes and segments of the market. This means figuring out where there is demand from the market that we are not meeting today, and how we can bridge that gap. Secondly, to increase transparency in everything we do, including, of course, the way we integrate sustainability into our investment process,” he explains.
No doubt Elmquist conducted a proper due diligence process before joining the organisation, as he seems already well-versed in the ways Navigera works, especially when it comes to ESG. Describing the fund manager’s high sustainability ambitions, he sounds particularly proud of Navigera’s partnership with Copenhagen-based asset manager Qblue Balanced. Last year, Navigera and Qblue launched jointly the Global Sustainable Leaders fund, which invests in those companies that have come the farthest ahead in the field of sustainability within their industry.
“The work within sustainability, including engagement, is something we will communicate much more actively going forward” promises the newly appointed Head of Sales and Product Development. “We want our clients to truly understand how we approach the issues.”
Reflecting on the incoming regulatory requirements, Elmquist sounds certain that they will drive the need for clear and accurate disclosures even further. “For pension advisors, becoming more transparent on ESG will become obligatory in Sweden by 2 August. It is no longer enough to focus on a client’s risk level and risk tolerance. Advisors must assess the client’s sustainability preferences as well. I expect that the demand from our clients to get more transparent will only grow in the future.”
Speaking of regulation, it is inevitable to end up discussing all the numerous challenges that European fund managers are facing currently. “It is not clear yet how the new regulation should be interpreted in detail,” admits Elmquist. “The challenge for investors is to compare and understand the difference between asset managers when it comes to ESG and sustainability. As for data and data quality, companies do not report in full, which makes the aggregated results less reliable,” he adds.
Despite these multiple and rather serious challenges, Elmquist sounds optimistic. “Things are changing quickly. I believe, in only 12 to 18 months the transparency will improve, and it will become much easier to compare asset managers than it is today,” concludes Elmquist.