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    Sustainability Veteran Takes on a Challenging Role at SFSA

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – The office of the newly established Swedish Fund Selection Agency (SFSA) is gradually taking shape, and key positions are quickly being filled with seasoned professionals. On 14 December, the agency announced that Nadine Viel Lamare would take on the important assignment as sustainability strategist and communications officer. Lamar, who is also part of NordSIP’s advisory board, is a true veteran in the field, boasting vast experience gathered over years of working with sustainability, communication, and investments. She joins from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and has previously worked with the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), AP1 and the Council on Ethics of the Swedish AP Funds, as well as the EU Platform of Sustainable Finance.

    “I was attracted to the position as sustainability strategist and communications officer at SFSA by the opportunity to make a difference, the responsible assignment and the challenge it entails to define sustainability requirements for all funds offered on the premium pension fund platform,” shares Viel Lamare in an exclusive interview with NordSIP. “I am looking forward to being part of a strong procurement team that considers sustainability a central success factor for creating good returns and thus a secure and high pension for Swedish pension savers.”

    Combining sustainability expertise and communication skills in a single role is a bold decision for SFSA. According to Viel Lamare, it is also an excellent idea. “As you know, sustainability is not well defined generally, and SFSA needs to be transparent and clear about what we are looking for and rewarding in the procurement process,” she explains. “Also, the agency has many stakeholders to whom sustainability matters: from our eight million savers to the global fund industry, and not to forget our principals, the Swedish Parliament and government. I believe it is very positive that SFSA has decided to dedicate resources both to sustainability and communication. And suits me very well,” she adds.

    Viel Lamare seems indeed to be the right woman for the challenging task. “Over the last twenty years, I have developed, implemented, and evaluated sustainability strategies of asset management organisations. With a background in the AP fund system, I have also had the privilege to exchange views with asset owners, asset managers, company representatives, academics, and policymakers at different levels worldwide. This has given me a deep understanding of both challenges and opportunities in integrating sustainability in asset management.”

    Ahead of joining the organisation at the end of January next year, Viel Lamare seems already quite familiar with the task at hand and speaks confidently about the agency’s future course of action. “Compared with a situation where no sustainability requirements when it comes to ESG integration have applied to the funds on the platform previously, the bar will be raised significantly,” she reveals. “To respect international conventions that Sweden has ratified is a minimum. But the legislation goes far beyond that, stating that assets should be managed in an exemplary manner with regards to sustainability, that sustainability should be integrated into the investment processes and should be combined with active ownership.”

    The agency’s new sustainability strategy is bound to attract sharp scrutiny from the industry, and Viel Lamare, who is tasked with both designing and communicating it, has a challenging time ahead of her. “As a representative of all ultimate asset owners, SFSA has a big responsibility but also the possibility to drive change at many levels. For my part, I am humbled by this task but feel well equipped to take on this challenging role,” concludes Viel Lamare confidently.

    Image courtesy of ©Binniam Halid for NordSIP
    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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