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Growth in dollar millionaires boosting Swedish wealth management

The number of dollar millionaires in Sweden is growing faster than almost any other European country, a trend in turn leading to increased demand for private bankers and relationship managers who understand the Nordic market.

A report by Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini has suggested the number of US dollar millionaires in Sweden grew by more than a fifth last year.

By the end of 2009 there were 48,300 high net worth individuals in Sweden, or the equivalent of one in every 200 Swedes, with the number now almost back to the level it was before the financial crisis began, it said.

At the same time, SEB has calculated that the personal wealth of Swedes is now at its highest nominal level ever, with household wealth rising 2.8% in the first quarter of this year against the same period last year.

All this is fuelling demand for, and interest in, wealth management within the region from both local and international operators, argues Nick Toubkin, a private banker on Coutts’ international team, who covers the Nordic market.

The bank recently added another private banker to its Scandinavian team (though working out of London) precisely to help it increase its presence in the region.

“Scandinavia is a rich source of high net worth (HNW) and ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals. It has long been viewed as a market in which we can develop a niche presence; it is a market to which we are committed and in which we wish to grow our presence,” he says.

Relationship managers in particular are in demand, although there is also a growing need for people on the investment and financial planning side, he suggests.

“A robust knowledge of international markets and a range of asset class, for example equities, bonds, alternatives and private equity, is essential in advising our Swedish and Scandinavian client base,” says Toubkin.

“Additionally, we have recently seen a very strong demand to invest in the London property market from Scandinavians, so we also value a strong credit advisory sensibility,” he adds.

One continuing challenge, however, is finding advisors with the relevant depth of knowledge and experience of the Nordic market, and this is likely to become even tougher as the region becomes more attractive, he predicts.

“Scandinavia has long been a market in which a wide range of banks has been focused, since the number of HNW and UHNW individuals has always been significant,” says Toubkin.

“It is likely that the interest of international players in developing their Scandinavian client base will increase, and this will make recruitment and hiring more challenging,” he adds.

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