Cardano ACTIAM Grows in the Nordics

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – It has been a year since Cardano Group completed the acquisition of Dutch boutique asset management company ACTIAM, a pioneer in sustainable and impact investing. Back then, Group CEO Michael de Lathauwer called the deal “an important milestone in realising our ambition to offer the best-in-class sustainable solutions that maximise financial and social returns to pension funds and other long-term investors.”

    Cardano ACTIAM’s activity in the Nordics has picked up significantly since the acquisition. The appointment of several professionals dedicated to the region suggests that the firm’s ambitions are even higher going forward. NordSIP reached out to the team at Cardano ACTIAM to find out more about the “master plan” behind the Nordic expansion.

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    According to Stefan Lundbergh, Director at Cardano Insights, it makes perfect sense for an asset manager with a pronounced sustainable focus like ACTIAM to establish a presence in the Nordic region. “It is simple, the leading markets when it comes to sustainable investments are the Nordics and the Dutch. It can, to a large extent, be explained by these markets’ similar cultures and values. After 18 years in the Netherlands, I would describe it as a misplaced Nordic country,” explains Lundbergh who has extensive experience from both regions.

    He points out proudly that sustainability impact is built into the core of ACTIAM’s philosophy. “Already back in 2007, ACTIAM developed a financial inclusion fund focusing on micro- and SME-credits in emerging markets, a good example that it is possible to combine emerging market risk, impact investing and stable investment returns,” says Lundbergh. “I think that the pure focus on sustainable and impact investments, combined with the long track record makes us an attractive partner for our clients helping them to achieve both their financial and sustainable goals,” he adds.

    The trio of recruits tasked with executing this ambitious plan consists of Jochem Wiersma, Barbara Kos, and Bas Eestermans. Wiersma, who joined Cardano ACTIAM in October last year after working at NN Investment Partners for over a decade, is well versed in sustainable financial products and their distribution in the Nordic markets. “While the opportunity to stay on at NNIP was quite appealing, I could not resist Cardano ACTIAM’s offer, as everything is coming together for me in this new challenge,” he shares. “ACTIAM is a pureplay impact manager. We do not just have a couple of sustainable strategies. It is everything we do,” he explains.

    Echoing Wiersma’s conviction, Kos, too, found the strong sustainable product suite at Cardano ACTIAM difficult to resist. With more than twenty years of experience in sales and marketing of asset management products, she looks forward to the new challenge, which she feels well prepared for. “In 2012, I opened Swiss Asset Manager Pictet’s Amsterdam branch, and for the last three years I have been working for BlackRock, first as Head of Marketing for the Netherlands, and afterwards as a senior Sales in the Wholesale team,” she says.

    Bas Eestermans brings a slightly different skillset to the new team. “My background is in econometrics and portfolio management at Robeco, ING and Lehman Brothers and as a manager selector at fiduciary manager Syntrus Achmea before rejoining Robeco in 2011 as a sales manager, whereby I started covering Nordics clients in 2015,” he says.

    Eestermans is quite clear about the team’s priorities for the months ahead. “In the first year, we hope to create larger brand awareness for Cardano and ACTIAM, as we think Cardano and ACTIAM would be a perfect fit for Nordics clients with its pure sustainability and impact focus,” he explains. “Based on this increasing brand awareness we would expect to start generating traction with focused impact strategies. We would be thinking of our financial inclusion fund as well as our Climate Credit fund. Both direct lending strategies are focused on emerging markets and create a lasting and meaningful impact in the countries they are active in, while generating good returns for our clients: a win-win situation in our opinion,” concludes Eestermans.

    Image courtesy of Actiam
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA is Editor-in-Chief for NordSIP and Managing Director for Big Green Tree Media. She has 18 years of experience in the asset management industry in Stockholm, London and Geneva, including as a long/short equity hedge fund portfolio manager, and buy-side analyst, but also as CFO and COO in several asset management firms. Aline holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a License in Economic Sciences from the University of Geneva.
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