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Danish Consultancy Improves Traffic Solutions in Hanoi ScandAsia.dk
For Scandinavians, God is in Nature Recently, my husband, baby-son and I went on a weekend-trip to the Malaysian island of Tioman. Only 45 minutes by air from Singapore’s Changi airport, it’s an easy getaway. So far, the island has been relatively spared of large resorts, the water there is emerald green and the nature is wild.
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We arrived at the small hotel and settled in our bungalow. Behind us were massive rocks, lush greenery and in front of us, there was the clear wide emerald sea. During the day, my husband was snorkelling in the water in the cove, while I watched the turtles with my baby. Evenings, we watched the staff feed the fish from the pier. At night, we could hear the sounds of the jungle and monkeys scratching our balcony door. One day, I was sitting on the sundeck watching some kids playing in the water. There was a girl who caught my attention. She swam like a fish, she was as gutsy as the boys and seemed very free. The girl wasn’t afraid of anything. It turned out that the girl was local, the daughter of the British owner of the hotel who had lived on the island for nearly twenty years. He told us he practically threw his daughter in the water when she was a baby, much to the locals’ initial shock and fear. What a childhood, I thought. What freedom. To grow up on a tropical island, surrounded by monkeys, rainforest and the sea. Then I realised that this need and emphasis on nature, the recognition of it as something sacred, is a very Northern idea. Perhaps the most important thing for a Scandinavian parent is for their children to be able to roam freely in the countryside. Nature is the first and the most fundamental teacher for life. Whether it’s the dramatic Norwegian fjords, the sandy dunes of Denmark, the Finnish lakes and forests or the islands of the Swedish archipelago, for the Northerner, God is in nature. It’s what we carry in our souls from home and it’s what we miss the most when we live abroad, particularly in Asian cities. Being a people of nature, this is also the reason why Scandinavians want to save the earth. We might not be as entrepreneurial as the Asians yet, in this regard. But if we work towards fusing the Asian drive with the Nordic passion for the environment, the green solutions for a sustainable future could indeed come from Asia.
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Daily news and features here: www.scandasia.com
Andrea Hessmo is a Swedish freelance journalist and writer, currently based in Singapore. She has been a regular journalist for ScandAsia Singapore since September 2011. She holds a Master’s degree in English.
Swedish National Day Celebrated in Phnom Penh
ver 200 guests from the government and embassies, members of the Swedish community as well as business people joined Sweden’s Ambassador Anne Hoglund to celebrate the Swedish National Day at Raffles Le Royal Hotel on Wednesday 6th June in Phnom Penh. The reception was opened with the Swedish and Cambodian National Anthems. This was followed by speeches by the Ambassador of Sweden and H.E. Mr. Mok Mareth, Minister for Environment. The guests mingled and enjoyed Swedish specialties like salmon and meatballs.
EuroCham Held Opening Ceremony of SME Service Centre in HCMC
he European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (Eurocham) together with its business associations held an official opening ceremony of the ‘SME Service Centre’ on the ground floor of the of the EuroCentre, 49 Mac Dinh Chi St. in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Monday 16th July 2012. The SME service centre will provide 8 private business desk facilities, along with high speed Wi-Fi and printing facilities. It is meant as a free-of-charge service for EuroCham members based in other provinces coming to HCMC for business meetings. Previously, these members have had to hang around in coffee shops and hotel lobbies while waiting for meetings in HCMC. EuroCham Chairman Preben Hjortlund and representatives from the partner chambers were present at the ceremony. According to EuroCham Vice-Chairman Tomaso Andreatta the new SME service centre also provides an opportunity for members to engage directly with EuroCham and other business association staff who are housed in the same building. “We hope to learn even more about our members needs by engaging with them directly this way.” 4 ScandAsia.Indo China •August 2012
ScandAsia News Brief
Biggest Teak Nursery in Cambodia Funded by Denmark and Sweden
randis Timber is a joint venture between SRP International Group and Danish and Swedish pension fund investors. The operation is the largest Teak Nursery in Cambodia. The company identified an area that had been severely deforested in Kampong Speu in late 2007 and signed the contract for a 70year economic land concession with Cambodiaâ€™s Ministry of Agriculture on December 31, 2009. The concession includes 9,820 hectares in the rugged hills of Kampong Speu which is being replanted with teak. Today, the Grandis Timber operation, with three nurseries, has a total capacity of 9 million trees per year. So far, 2,250 hectares have been planted with 3.5 million trees, with another 3.5 million plantings scheduled during the next two years. After ten years of growth, when the trees are expected to be 10 to 12 centimeters thick and 20 to 30 meters high, the first thinning will take place. The thinned wood can be sold as poles and used in making furniture, parts and flooring. The first thinning is scheduled to occur between 2019 and 2024. An ancillary benefit for the investors is they get to help improve the lives of poor, rural Cambodians by putting them to work in the nurseries and in the timber plantation running tractors, weeding, thinning and doing other jobs necessary to the operation.
August 2012 â€˘ ScandAsia.Indo China
ScandAsia News Brief
Biogas Improves Lives in Rural Vietnam A biogas system provided by Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) International in the Phong Binh commune of rural Vietnam has made lives there much easier. NCA has provided 82 biogas plants along with energy-efficient stoves in Phong Binh commune, a coastal area in the Phong Dien district, some 45 kilometers northwest of Hue. The plants use manure from pig farming and other smelly waste and turn it into gas and fertilizer. Nguyen Thi Huong, 35, who is a paddy rice farmer in central Vietnam’s Phong Binh commune, said she enjoys cooking now in her smokefree and pollution-free kitchen. Previously, her kitchen would become smoky with black soot from the burning fuel wood. This would cause her to cough all day and her eyes sore. For Huong, a mother of two children, collecting fuel wood daily from the nearby mangroves forest was a tedious task, particularly when she was already busy rearing pigs, looking after children, and doing house chores. The clean biogas fire “has got rid of my cough and eye infections, and given me a sense of cleanliness,” she said.
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Danish Gymnastic Team Touring Vietnam
he Danish gymnastic Team, Fjeldsted-Harndrup GFH, toured Vietnam from 16 July to 5 August. On the tour the team introduced the Vietnamese audience to traditional and modern Danish genres of gymnastics. The team consisted of 37 gymnasts in the age of 18-24 some of whom aspire to the National Danish Performance Team. The team has already had great success touring in Denmark including a performance for the Danish Royal Family. Vietnam was their first step moving on from a local and national audience and show their skills on an international level. The show was a mix of traditional Danish gymnastics with dance, modern rhythmical performance, folk dance and classic trampoline- and tumbling. Their 10 performances in Vietnam took place in Hanoi, Sapa, Laocai, Hue, Danang, Hoi An, and Nha trang.
Vietnam – Sweden Friendship Association New President
he 4th National Congress of the Vietnam – Sweden Friendship Association elected Vice Minister of Justice Hoang The Lien as the President of the Association for the term 2012-2017. Marie Ottosson, Charge’ d’ Affairs and Minister for the Development Cooperation Section at the Embassy participated in the congress. Ottosson warmly congratulated the new president and all elected members. “The Vietnam-Sweden friendship association plays an important role in not only strengthening our friendship, but also promoting the culture, trade and investment opportunities of Vietnam to the Swedish people and business community,” she said.
August 2012 • ScandAsia.Indo China
Danish Consultancy Improves Traffic Solutions in Hanoi By Indius Pedersen
T Mr. Erling Rask, Consia, often visits the Hanoi office where the staff do a brilliant job for better traffic in Vietnam.
8 ScandAsia.Indo China •August 2012
he Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, is taking a leap forward for modern and efficient solutions to the city’s traffic problems. Based on improved environment, accessibility and road safety better traffic solution will be introduced. Elements to be incorporated into future traffic plans are more efficient local bus services in order to manage pollution. The elements together will strengthen Hanoi as a metropolis in Southeast Asia. The organization to be responsible of performing the comprehensive project will be created by the Danish consultancy Consia that has signed the contract with Hanoi authorities. The Danish company has been chosen because Denmark is known for its active commitment to a green environment, not least because Consia is known for its rational solutions
in the field. Consia is already carrying out several road projects in Hanoi and Vietnam as well.
Contract of 12 Mil. DKK The project is financed by The World Bank through a loan provided to the city of Hanoi, and Consia has received a contract for DKK 12 million for the two year long first of four planning phases to be performed. Erling Rask, director of Consia in Copenhagen, heading worldwide projects, says: “Vietnam has undergone a tremendous economic growth and has as a consequence experienced a massive shift from bicycles to motorized vehicles. This has strained the capital’s mobility and accessibility. Thus, the environment and road safety has been threatened seriously,” says Erling Rask. “Among the solutions will be the
establishment of a rapid bus system which will improve the accessibility and reduce air pollution. Our challenge is to build an organization that can take care of the traffic problems and implications.”
From motor bike to bus Erling Rask says that privatization of the bus service is likely to be one of the measures. “Plans are needed for the outsourcing and privatization of the bus services. In an even larger perspective a Metro and/or a Light Rail can come into play.” “The basic thing is that people should be able to enter into Hanoi quickly in the morning to get to work, and get out of town quickly after work. As a major side effect of the planning is the reduction of environmental pollution,” says Erling Rask.
“People in Hanoi have have got the habit to go by motor bike. Now our challenge is to move these people from their motor bike to an improved bus service. Pricing schemes and introduction of easy moving public transport systems will be used as tools in this shift.”
French built bus lanes While the the organizational build up will be handled by the Danish consultancy Consia the execution of the master plan including building of bus lanes will be carried out by a French company. Hanoi and HCMC are good examples of cities that have to link growth with environmental considerations and optimal traffic solutions. If major cities are not involved from the start, too many accidents will happen in the traffic, greatly overburdening the hospital system.
Consia is a consultancy within road
safety, environment and education in developing countries. The business was started 12 years ago and has today an annual turnover of approx. 30 mill. DKK. Consia is engaged globally and has implemented internationally financed projects in 37 different countries. Employs approx. 30 international experts globally and a number of local experts. In Vietnam, Consia has had a representative office in Hanoi for 7 years. Largest financial source is World Bank followed by ADB - Asian Development Bank.
August 2012 • ScandAsia.Indo China
SEB Appoints New The new General Manager of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken’s Singapore branch for Private Banking is one of the bank’s foremost experts in ‘Wealth Structuring’, which is a wider term than wealth management - taking into account taxation factors for the clients when advising on how to manage their private funds. By Miklos Bolza Cover photo by Terrence Lim
n an exciting move, the Swedish Private Banking executive Fredrik Lager has been appointed General Manager of Private Banking & Wealth Management at the Singaporean branch of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken S.A. (SEB). Mr. Lager brings to his new position especially his expertise in wealth structuring. “Wealth structuring is a technical term for private and corporate tax structuring, emigration and repatriation, cross-border issues, succession planning, etc.,” Mr. Lager said. “Basically, it encompasses everything that has to do with tax planning.” Since 2006, Mr. Lager has helped SEB offer this service within Europe, and he is now keen to provide the same high level of service to clients in the Asia Pacific Region. “If you want to compete in the higher segments of international private banking today, it’s not just about portfolio management. It’s also about being positioned correctly when it comes to holding companies, strategic exits and cross-border planning.” In a recent interview, Mr. Lager shared with ScandAsia his career path so far and his goals for the new position.
Global Beginnings Mr. Lager is certainly no stranger to the international scene. Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, he and his family followed his father, a shipmaster, to Saudi Arabia and to the US when he was young. He returned to Sweden to further his studies, eventually graduating from the University of Stockholm with a Masters degree in shipping law. After this, he moved to London where he completed another Masters, this time in International Trade and Transportation after which he took a job as a lawyer for a City law firm. In 1999, he was approached by the senior partner of what is now McGuireWoods LLP, Mr. Anders Grundberg, who was interested in hiring a new lawyer to cater for the growing number of Nordic clients moving or setting up businesses in the UK. As a Swedish lawyer work-
10 ScandAsia.Indo China •August 2012
If you want to compete in the higher segments of international private banking today, it’s not just about portfolio management. It’s also about being positioned correctly when it comes to holding companies, strategic exits and cross-border planning.
ing in London, Mr. Lager was ideally suited for the role. From 1999 to 2006, he helped grow the law firm from six to fifty staff, was made Partner in 2003 and ended up as Head of the Nordic Desk. In this role and in addition to helping individuals and businesses relocate to the UK, he advised clients on various international tax related issues, such as the setting up of holding companies, trusts, insurance solutions and generation planning.
New Ground at SEB As a Swedish advokat in London, Mr. Lager was frequently instructed and retained by Nordic banks, including Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken. During this time, SEB was interested in expanding its private banking offering to also encompass wealth structuring. Mr. Lager joined SEB in Luxembourg in 2006, enticed by a new challenge in his career and eager to start a family with his wife in a more childfriendly city. At SEB Mr. Lager began to offer the same international wealth structuring services to the bank’s private banking clients as he had previously done at the law firm in London. At the time this type of service was quite unusual in the banking industry, but ultimately made the bank more attractive publicly. From 2006 to 2012, Mr. Lager worked as Head of Wealth Structuring at SEB in Luxembourg where he had direct contact with clients, many of which were in Singapore and other
parts of the Asia Pacific Region. He provided tailored and effective advice to clients of SEB’s private bankers. “Clients tend to open up a bit more to a lawyer rather than to a private banker. This is because, in order for me to properly advise them, I need to know the bigger picture,” he said. He also worked hard to raise the level of competence of SEB’s private bankers so that they could confidently discuss topics such as generation planning and tax structuring with clients.
From Europe to Asia On May 1 2012, Mr. Lager moved to Singapore to take up the position of General Manager of Private Banking & Wealth Management. His predecessor, Mr. Ole Hamre, was asked to become Head of the Wealth Division in Norway, leaving this SE Asian position wide open. As Mr. Lager had done so much for the Luxembourg office, it was time to try something different. Furthermore, his legal expertise was seen as an asset which could complement SEB’s already strong banking reputation in the region. His family has moved over as well, finding that Singapore was a relatively easy country to settle down in. Locating an apartment, schools for their two children and Swedish supplementary tuition were all simple to accomplish. Even the family dog came along, although this proved to be the most difficult part of the transfer.
Fredrik Lager in a busy city setting during a recent visit to Baangkok.
Building the Singapore Office Mr. Lager’s primary aim in his role as General Manager is to target the larger Nordic families in the region. Although SE Asia is seen as a low tax region, tax and corporate structuring is still highly important, especially since most clients are so mobile. Long-term planning, especially with regards to moving countries, is emphasised so as to protect and enhance client assets. Additionally, Mr. Lager has to combine his past legal experience with the new managerial role, raising awareness among the staff and consulting with clients. Wealth structuring in combination with the more traditional private banking services to build relationships is hoped to boost SEB’s Asian reputation even more.
There are currently ten staff members, including four bankers, within the private banking division at SEB’s Singaporean office. This will grow to twelve over the summer, with the addition of a new client assistant and a Senior Private Banker, Mr. Lars Arleback, joining from SEB Private Banking in Geneva. There are also hopes for further expansion in the future.
From Sydney to Tokyo Covering an area from Sydney to Tokyo, SEB’s bankers have to deal with clients in a range of jurisdictions. Given that the law differs from country to country, Mr. Lager believes in a general wealth structuring approach. If a more detailed strategy is required, however, the bank has several specialists on hand to deal with these issues.
SEB is already one of the most successful Scandinavian banks in Asia thanks in part to its highly competent Singapore office which was established in 1979. It also has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing; some of the largest business hubs in the region. As a bank, SEB has been around for more than 150 years and is well-known for its stability, honesty and dependability.
Brand Planning As for reaching out to new clients, the main attraction is the competence of the SEB staff. With Mr. Lager onboard, this level of skill and expertise increases even further. The fact that the bank can legally hold assets in Singapore provides a psychological benefit. “Although much of today’s
world is digital, there’s still that feeling that you want to keep your money close to you, which is why SEB, as the first Nordic private bank in Asia, started to offer fully fledged private banking services locally from Singapore in 2005,” Mr. Lager pointed out. As for plans for expansion, opening up additional branches can be time-consuming and legally difficult, due in part to the complex nature of international banking. Mr. Lager stated that taxation, regulatory and political stability are important from a private banking point of view, which is why SEB chose Singapore as their base. Thus for the time being, there are no plans to open up any new private banking offices in the region.
August 2012 • ScandAsia.Indo China
Swedish Export Credi Promoting Swedish Exp By Andrea Hessmo
We provide export and project financing solutions to support the Swedish export industry. We are owned by the Swedish government, even though we are a commercial enterprise.
Carl Engelberth in SEK’s office at TripleOne Somerset in Singapore.
he SEK-office in Singapore, managed by Executive Director Carl Engelberth, is the firstSEK office outside of Scandinavia. Founded in 1962, SEK offers financial solutions for the Swedish export industry. Engelberth, recruited from SEK in Stockholm for his extensive international experience withSEK, ABB and SEB bank,is looking forward to a strong future for Swedish companies in Southeast Asia.
What exactly does SEK do? We provide export and project financing solutionsto support the Swedish export industry. We are owned by the Swedish government, even though we are a commercial enterprise, and we have been operating in Singapore for three years now. This is a representative office; we find the businesshere, butthe actual business deals are bookedin Swe-
den. Being in the same time zone,I can meetmany Swedish companies, their customers, banks and more partners directly,and I can travel on short notice. It all helps to bring in more business.Being a government owned financial company, we also work closely with the Swedish embassies here.
Why Singapore? Asia is a booming market and Singapore is a financial hub for the whole Southeast Asian region. Also, the former Swedish ambassador Pär Ahlberger was very active in encouraging the establishment of SEK here.It was an experiment, but it has turned out very well. We cooperate with banks and financial institutions. I’m a member of the SBAS board here in Singapore, but SEK is also a member of the Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, MBAS in Kuala Lumpur and SBA in Jakarta.
These business associations provide good networking opportunities with Swedish companies.
What is the difference between SEK and a bank? We borrow all our money on the capital markets, we do not have any deposits from the public. However, in most of the transactions we cooperate with international banks.We only have corporate customers and we are the only financial institution in Sweden authorized to grant credits in the state-supported export credit system.
Your advantage is also that you can lend in certain local currencies. Yes, for example we are allowed to issue our bonds in Thailand and we can offer loans in Thai Baht. Quite recently, we also borrowed funds in Chinese currency, Renminbifor the first time, which we usedfor long-
term lending for Volvo’s operations in China.
So SEK complements the banks. Yes, our strength is that we can offer long term financing at attractive rates. Especially if we have a recession or a financial crisis, there is a reluctance to take in long term assets in the books of the banks. New regulations also make it more difficult to lend long term for banks, which makes it even more important for us to team up with them.
You spend a lot of time in Indonesia. Yes, it is a promising country. The image of Indonesia is not very nuanced in Swedish media. Indonesia has a growing middle class, it’s the world’s 4thmost populous country with 250 million people, there is a strong growth since many years, it’s
it Corporation (SEK) port in Southeast Asia
Carl Engelberth and his family
relatively stable politically andthere’s plenty to do. We havea strong presence with Ericsson and ABB there. Scania and Volvo are growing too and many other Swedish companies are expanding.
Who are your clients? Our clients are large Swedish companies and we support them with financings for their exportprojects. We are actively working on strengthening our relations with the 100 largest export companies. In the years to come we will continue to expand the number of companies we work with, but also find solutions for smaller and medium-sized ones.
How has the Euro crisis affected Asia? Europe is an important market, although Asia is strong on its own.Of course the crisis in Europe affects us here. One consequence of the crisis
can be that Asians will be more careful in buying European bonds and investing in Europe.
Have you experienced any cultural shocks yet? Sometimes everything is not said openly. People might say that they agree with you even though the negotiation is not over yet. Or there are situations such as being in a cab in India; the driver says he knows the way and it turns out he doesn’t, and then he stops here and there to ask local people about the way. I guess it has to do with not losing face, which is an important thing here. As for cultural fusion, I experienced a good example recently with a fantastic combined Midsummer and National Day celebration indoors arranged by the Swedish embassy in Indonesia. There were Muslim women with veils wearing midsummer wreaths. People enjoyed it very
much.Our ambassador Ewa Polano is very active there in approaching our countries to one another, and the event was sponsored by a number of important Swedish companies. Another cultural fusion we can observe here every day is IKEA, where Singaporeans eat Swedish meatballs.
How is family life here in Singapore and how long do you plan to stay? I have just prolonged my threeyear-contract. My wife Ingrid works as Client Executive at SEB here in Singapore. We have three children; our oldest daughter Caroline, 25 is studying medicine in Hungary, Axel, 23, is a photographer in Sweden and our youngest Christina, 21, is studying at Stockholm School of Economics.
What do you enjoy most about living in Singapore?
Life is easy here. Things work well and we like the climate.
Is there anything you miss from home? I miss some Swedish dishes like fresh Swedish prawns, they taste differently and better than prawns in Asia. And we miss our kids of course. It is amazing, though, how well it works to be in touch these days with Skype, and Viber.We go back home twice a year, which is a nicechange too. Nowadays, though, the kids prefer to spend Christmas here in Singapore.
And plans for the future? Right now, I’m a one-man-showhere but we are expecting an additional employeein autumn. SEK is becoming more and more international and gradually, it wouldn’t surprise me if we establish ourselves in a couple of other places in the world.
Swedish Pancakes S
wedish pancakes or “plättar” served with whipped cream and raspberry jam is one of those simple pleasures everyone should enjoy at least once...a week. To make them the right size, the best is definitely to use a castiron or cast-aluminum pan with shallow, round indentations. If you don’t have one, you can “cheat” by using the round shapes used for frying eggs that prevent the eggs from flattening out on the frying pan. The main difference that make the Swede prefer plättar from American pancakes is the texture of crepes - thin, flexible and eggy - rather than thick, fluffy and bready.
Are you done?
hen you have completed the above puzzles, please send your solution by fax to +66 2 943 7169 or scan and email to puzzles@ scandasia.com. We will make a lucky draw among the correct answers. Five lucky winners will receive a ScandAsia polo shirt. Name:
Deadline for submitting your solution is 15 September 2012 14 ScandAsia.Indo China •August 2012
• 2 eggs • 2.5 cups whole milk • 1 cup wheat flour • 1 teaspoon salt • 1 tablespoon sugar • 1 teaspoon baking powder • 2 tablespoons butter, melted • whipped or sour cream • raspberry jam In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and half the milk. Add the flour and mix until a smooth batter is formed. Add the rest of the milk, the salt, sugar, baking powder and the melted butter. Grease the hot pan cups with butter. Spoon 2 rounded tablespoons batter into each greased cup. Remember... thin! Cook about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Serve immediately with jam or jelly and whipped cream or sour cream. Serves 2 hungry kids or 1 Swedish husband.
“If I had to eat one kind of food every day for the rest of my life, it’d be pancakes.”