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    Sustainability in Focus for Folksam’s New Chief Economist

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Just ahead of the summer holidays, Swedish pension and insurance provider Folksam revealed that they had appointed Marcus Svedberg to the newly established position of Chief Economist. In his new role, he will be working at the intersection of macroeconomics, market development and sustainability. This sounds like a perfect match for Svedberg, who boasts a solid footing in all of these areas. Throughout his years at AP4, the World Bank, Stockholm Sustainable Finance Center and East Capital, he has gained invaluable experience and diverse perspectives.

    Svedberg is hardly a stranger to NordSIP’s readers. Recently, he joined the prestigious G7 Impact Taskforce as the only Swedish representative. Catching up with the newly appointed chief economist, we learn more about his latest move and his and Folksam’s growing sustainability ambitions.

    “I have never had any predetermined career plan,” admits Svedberg. “What is perhaps somewhat unusual is that I have moved between the public and the private sector as well as between academia, policy, and the financial sector. Sustainability has gradually become more important to me, and I have been fortunate to work for organisations that take the issue very seriously at all levels,” he adds. “I have been following Folksam for quite a while, and I am really impressed by their work in this regard, not the least what they do in terms of research and on the international front,” comments Svedberg on his new employer.

    At Folksam, his new colleagues are equally eager to welcome him to the team. Highly aware that the speed of change is accelerating globally, they expect Svedberg to contribute to strengthening their analysis for the benefit of Folksam’s clients. “I hope to be able to support different parts of the company with macroeconomic analysis that really matters for the business and that fully integrates sustainability,” says Svedberg.

    He is mindful of the multiple challenges ahead, however. “The insurance industry is quite new to me, so I have a lot to learn,” he says humbly. “And it is always difficult to deal with uncertainty. We have a tendency always to say that the level of uncertainty is high, but we still need to navigate macro and markets. Relying on scenario analysis is one way to tackle uncertainty, but we also have to be realistic and humble of what we can predict,” he reflects.

    For years, Svedberg has been following the development of sustainable finance closely and working with responsible investments, and he sounds duly impressed by where we are at now. “Sustainable finance is really coming of age. On the one hand, it is frustrating to see that some things are happening so slowly and unevenly, but, on the other hand, it is no longer a fringe issue, and it is certainly moving in the right direction,” he comments.

    That said, he can see lots of room for improvement as well. “I do believe all institutions need to do more and do better on all issues related to sustainability, and that goes for strategy, investments, transparency, and reporting. The industry has come a long way, but this is not the time for complacency,” concludes Svedberg.

    Image courtesy of Marcus Svedberg
    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia has accumulated experience in asset management for more than 20 years in Stockholm and Beijing, in portfolio management, asset allocation, fund selection and risk management. In December 2020, she completed a program in Sustainability Studies at the University of Linköping. Julia speaks Mandarin, Bulgarian, Hindi, Russian, Swedish, Urdu and English. She holds a Master in Indology from Sofia University and has completed studies in Economics at both Stockholm University and Stockholm School of Economics.

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