IMAS New CEO: a Man on a Mission

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – IMAS is one of a trio of foundations, alongside INGKA and IKEA, established by IKEA’s visionary founder, Ingvar Kamprad. While all three share a charitable purpose, each strives to achieve it in its own independent way. IMAS’ specialty is creating long-term returns on financial assets, incorporating responsibility and sustainability considerations into all investment decisions.

    Henrik Lundin, who has been with IMAS since 2014 and served as its CIO for the past five years, is highly aware of the foundation’s noble mission and the legacy he is a part of. A while ago, he shared  with NordSIP his dedication to honouring the values imprinted in the IKEA group’s DNA: ‘caring for the people and the planet’, ‘simplicity’ and ‘different with a meaning’. Over the years, his efforts and achievements have been duly recognised. Starting this January, he has been entrusted with a new, even broader role as IMAS’ CEO, on top of his CIO title.

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    Keeping ‘skin in the game’

    Commenting on his recently expanded mandate, Lundin sounds equally humbled and excited. “To lead such organisation is a true honour for me,” he shares. “IMAS is a great platform to make a difference when it comes to climate investing. Moreover, the money we make is ultimately used for philanthropic grant-making through IKEA Foundation. For the past 10 years we have contributed more than EUR 1.8 billion to this purpose,” he adds proudly.

    That said, Lundin admits that he would have hesitated to accept the CEO position if it would mean stepping away from the investment side. “That is also why the board and I have agreed to make it a dual CEO and CIO role. This way, I will still be able to have some ‘skin in the game’ and we will ensure stability in the portfolio,” he explains.

    To be able to combine the two roles, Lundin is making a few changes to the organisation. A new role, that of Chief Operating Officer, has been established to help develop internal processes and oversee the operational side of the business and the risk functions. “I will also expand some responsibilities to people on my team, for example sustainability and asset allocation,” he adds. “But to be honest, I don’t want to change too much. I am very happy with the team, and I will just do my best to let them develop further, to be autonomous and to have accountability.”

    IMAS has evolved significantly since Lundin joined the foundation. “We have been quite disciplined and gradually built a portfolio that is both resilient and growth-oriented,” he reflects, looking back. “We started with less than EUR 3 billion some ten years ago, with more or less index exposures. Now, we have surpassed EUR 13 billion and have significant exposures to non-listed assets in infrastructure, credits, and equities.”

    Although the team has doubled over the years, it is still a rather slim one considering the assets under management. “I believe that it is possible to manage significant volumes without a huge investment organisation if you dare to be different and understand your limitations, and if you have a robust asset allocation framework to start with,” says Lundin.

    Being patient and flexible

    Several features distinguish IMAS’ sustainability approach from other investment organisations, according to Lundin. A key one is the flexible mandate and the trust given by the Board. “Although we have a sustainability overlay in the public portfolio, I believe it is more efficient and more impactful to play the themes in the non-listed space, especially in terms of climate and decarbonisation,” he explains. “To do this, however, a flexible mandate is crucial. Today, we have more than a third of the portfolio exposed to these assets and I intend to grow that further.”

    “Another strength is that we can afford to be very long-term in our investments and be a provider of patient capital, at times when perhaps others pull back for liquidity reasons,” he adds.

    As for planning ahead, IMAS’ new CEO seems as determined as ever to seek IKEA’s roots and build further on the culture and values that Kamprad established years ago. “Selling furniture and managing money may seem very different, but purpose-led investing starts with strong culture and strong principles, where IKEA really inspires us,” he says. “On the investment side, we will look for more opportunities in the hard-to-abate sectors – traditional heavy industries that can be decarbonised with technology or innovative processes.”

    “Most things remain undone, glorious future!” concludes Lundin, quoting Kamprad.

    Image courtesy of IMAS
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