Why Nordic custodians are banking on experience

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The rapidly evolving Nordic custody market is likely to fuel demand for experienced "grey hair" relationship managers, a pool of people already in limited supply within the Nordic region.

The past few years have seen the Nordics become an increasingly significant market for international asset servicing players such as BNY Mellon, Northern Trust, JP Morgan, State Street and Citi Global Transaction Services.

At the same time regulatory reform such as Alternative Investment Fund Managers directive, Ucits IV, Solvency II and the review of the European Union's markets in financial instruments directive is driving change in the region.

The prospect of Sweden's four state AP pension schemes merging their funds to create a €82bn investment giant, which would be one of Europe's largest single funds, would also significantly change the asset servicing landscape in the region.

Finally, the creation of a new clearing infrastructure through the establishment of a pan-regional central counterparty clearing service in Sweden, Finland and Denmark promises to bring big changes to the region.

"As the market is becoming more complex and diverse, with more sophisticated instruments and trading patterns, then the type of individual we look for to manage relationships will be of a different profile," says Sid Newby, head of Nordic business development at BNY Mellon Asset Servicing.

"We want experienced individuals with securities servicing expertise. They will often have come from the large Nordic financial services institutions, which are a natural source of new talent for us. But we also get people from the asset management side, perhaps from smaller entities where they have had exposure across a broad range of disciplines and many areas.

"That said, within the Nordic region there is a concentrated pool of talent. People are very much hired by reputation, and people often know other people. So there are a limited number of individuals who will fill that criteria," he adds.

"Our clients here are extremely sophisticated and innovative. A large proportion are asset owners as well as asset managers, which make the Nordics unlike many other parts of Europe," agrees Madeleine Senior, managing director of Northern Trust's Stockholm office.

"This also means the role of relationship manager is even more critical. Our relationship managers need to be able to speak about and interpret the products and services that will benefit clients, both within the asset management division and then the technology, operations, pensions and insurance groups," she adds.

An understanding of the changing regulatory climate is becoming increasingly important too.

"Because of this, all our relationship managers have at least 15 years experience. They have to be extremely nimble, flexible and knowledgeable people. We get a lot of CVs from local banks and asset managers, people are attracted to our brand," adds Senior.

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