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    Muzinich Makes a Star Hire in the Nordics

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Once again, Kristina Najjar-Wahlgren finds herself at the threshold of exciting new opportunities. This week, the seasoned Swedish investment professional revealed that she had left her position as Head of Nordic Distribution at BNY Mellon Investment Management to join Muzinich & Co. There, she assumes the helm of the firm’s endeavours in the Nordics and Benelux. A firm renowned for its expertise in both public and private credit markets, Muzinich also has a clear commitment to responsible investing, something that resonates with Najjar-Wahlgren.

    “My journey to Muzinich has been marked by a deepened commitment to work in an environment dedicated to harmonising investment opportunities and sustainable outcomes, that prioritise financial returns as well as seeking to make a positive societal impact,” comments Najjar-Wahlgren. “Stepping into this role represents a pivotal moment, aligning my career trajectory with an organisation that embodies a genuine dedication to deliver on clients evolving needs.”

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    Given her rich background in asset management and experience working for some of the titans of the industry, Najjar-Wahlgren is truly a high-profile hire for Muzinich. Prior to BNY Mellon, she successfully led Aberdeen AM’s expansion in the Nordics for a decade and later headed Pimco’s business in the region.

    What persuaded her to jump ship this time, was the American firm’s impressive ability to balance the personal touch of a family-owned business with the sophistication and scale of a major asset manager. “I was largely motivated by the firm’s entrepreneurial spirit and deep expertise in credit management which spans across IG, high yield, EMD to long/short credit strategies and, European private credit,” says Najjar-Wahlgren. “Proficiency in both public and private credit markets is a critical advantage and combined with entrepreneurial agility, I believe Muzinich to be well positioned to establish innovative collaborations with the highly sophisticated client base that make up the Nordic region.”

    According to Najjar-Wahlgren, one of Muzinich’s key strengths is exactly its ability to apply a bespoke approach to meet highly differentiated and continuously evolving client needs. “An example of this strength is the attention to detail in every part of the investment process, including ESG and sustainable investing in the broader sense,” she explains. “The focus at Muzinich is not on adopting generic, firm-wide approaches, but on identifying and applying the most appropriate approach for each strategy managed. Being able to work collaboratively with clients to deliver bespoke solutions in this manner, I believe, aligns well with the sophisticated nature of portfolio management applied by Nordic clients.”

    The ongoing controversy surrounding ESG, especially in the US where her new employer has its base, does not seem to scare Najjar-Wahlgren. “Fundamentally, ESG factors should be viewed in a similar way to financial metrics. They provide critical insights into investment risks and opportunities, which can contribute to better long-term risk-adjusted returns. We would need to communicate with clients on ESG through that lens,” she says. “The most important thing for managers in terms of building trust with clients is being authentic and transparent about the role ESG plays in their investment process.”

    NordSIP takes the opportunity to wish Najjar-Wahlgren good luck in her new endeavour.

    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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