Message to Nordic FIG bankers in London: Come on home

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Citigroup has appointed a top Nordic banker to extend its banks and insurance advisory presence in the region, the key point being that Per-Henrik Lewander will be based in Stockholm rather than working out of London.

Lewander has been lured back to Citi, which he worked for in 2001, after joining Royal Bank of Scotland's Nordic FIG business in 2005.

His move signals a significant commitment by the US bank to the region, as well as highlights the growing importance of FIG within the Nordics, whether managed on the ground or out of a London-based operation.

"Within the Nordics this is certainly an area that is gathering pace, with demand mostly at the managing director level. The Nordics has historically been a difficult area to cover effectively for many banks because it is, of course, four quite different markets with different languages and cultures," explains Stéphane Rambosson, managing partner at executive advisory and search firm Veni Partners.

"What you are beginning to see more of now is people being hired to be on the ground locally rather than shipped out from London now and again. Citi is a good example of the way things are going," he adds.

Demand for London-based Nordic FIG specialists has been intense for at least the past two years, agrees Malin Molinder, consultant with the corporate finance and equities team at Michael Page Financial Services in London, though this year so far there have been signs of less urgency in activity.

"It is becoming more a nice to have than a have to have," she explains.

For anyone keen to make their mark in this area, a stint in London is pretty much a given, she suggests.

"For anyone interested in getting into FIG the best option is to come to London, as a corporate finance professional within one of the Nordic banks you will be covering a variety of sectors within the Nordic region rather then becoming a FIG specialist," she says.

But for more mature bankers who may also be looking to return home for quality of life issues there may yet be opportunities emerging, argues Rambosson

."We are already seeing shortages. This is also being reflected in salaries which will normally be fairly competitive, even if someone is relocating back to Sweden," he adds.

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