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Nordea still intent on bolstering fund management team

Nordic financial services group Nordea is still recruiting for its institutional and retail asset management businesses, despite having to make job cuts in 2008.

Allan Polack, head of institutional asset management at the firm, said that it would continue to add “talented” staff to both divisions of the company, especially those who could develop new ideas for alternative investments.

He says: “There are a lot of talented people knocking on our doors looking for work. The market has caused many good people to lose their jobs. We will take them on if we think they are truly exceptional.

“The important thing to understand is that the asset management industry has changed. People working for us must understand we are living in a new time.”

While 2008 was not a fantastic year for the firm, relative to its Nordic competitors it fared well. A recent report by Credit Suisse on Nordic banks described Nordea’s operation performance as “flawless”.

It added: “Nordea appears so far to have avoided the credit crisis on the back of its solid funding position and lack of exposure to toxic assets.”

The firm’s asset management business is largely traditional with 95% of its assets in either equities or bonds. The remaining 5% is invested in alternatives, which are predominantly hedge funds.

Mr Polack is convinced that institutional investors will be less interested in alternatives in 2009, and as a result the company would have to look for new types of these investments.

He suggests that there would be an interest in people with experience in alternatives, and who could bring fresh ideas to their business.

On how 2009 would be for the company and its strategy, he was ambiguous. He thinks that this year will not be as tough as many people fear, but at the same time he does not see many new institutional markets for the company to add clients.

Instead of new opportunities, he sees potential in institutions who are disappointed by their current managers.

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