THE uk still a key market for Swedish business
opening up after the pandemic
Despite new border challenges and paperwork, Swedish businesses remain positive to the UK market, new survey confirms.
How do business prepare to open up again after the pandemic and what new ideas and structures are here to stay?
LINK Dedicated to the Swedish-British business community since 1906
”We operate with a culture with a strong Nordic bias, which is somewhat different to other banks based here.” Anders Engstrand, Country Head of SEB UK, on how SEB’s Swedish roots and its corporate culture have proven to be a good fit with the UK corporate and institutional world.
the future is plant-based Sproud and Veg of Lund pioneer Swedish food tech with plant-based products and creative intent.
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Re-opening and re-charging into the next phase As I am writing this, the UK is taking its next steps out of several months of lockdown, and spring is in the air. The UK vaccination rollout scheme has been a success and half of the population have already been offered their first jab. If all goes to plan, we are hoping for a full opening of society come 21 June, however surreal that notion may seem. An efficient vaccination scheme also has positive impact on economic forecast as the re-opening of society comes with re-opening of businesses and a return to work (whatever that means). Britain’s economic growth is forecast to accelerate by 5.5% in 2021 (OBR, March 2021) and 7.3% in 2022, which would be the fastest rate since official records began. However, when outlining the full impact of the pandemic on the public finances, the increase in borrowing will also send the UK’s total debt as a share of the economy to more than 100%. Meanwhile, Sweden’s unique approach to the pandemic gained much attention last year. The Swedish economy fared relatively well compared to its European neighbours (it contracted 2.9%) as it never locked down, and will grow at a slightly slower pace but from a stronger position in 2021 (4% in 2021 and 3% in 2022, Nordea, February 2021). The vaccination rollout scheme in Europe has been delayed due to a lack of vaccine deliveries but is expected to pick up pace in the summer. Beyond pandemic, and beyond Brexit (isn’t there a lot going on at the moment?), we are also in the midst of what the European Parlia-
ment has named a climate emergency. The British and Swedish governments are both very much committed to the green agenda, and the UK stands to host the COP26 at the turn of the year, as it also sets ambitious green infrastructure targets to kick start the economy. This is not just a great opportunity for the UK, but also for the many Swedish businesses leading in cleantech and green solutions. Celebrating green consumerism and sustainability, the SCC is hosting its first Impact conference in September, bringing together stakeholders from both countries. Watch this space. As we find our feet in this new bilateral relationship, one of great importance and based on centuries of trading and friendship, the SCC is reaffirming its role as the voice of Swedish-British business. We recently signed a joint editorial with the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, encouraging both governments to look at the extension of the Youth Mobility Scheme, to enable our youth to continue building relationships, experiences and bonds together. It’s a win-win, as they say.
In this issue of the Link you will hear from a number of our member businesses from a range of sectors – from innovators within food tech and the up-and-coming sex tech sector, to a cross-industrial discussion on how businesses are preparing for a new dawn as societies are slowly but surely opening up again. This and much more. In this issue we would like to welcome LKAB Minerals to the patronship. Also we would like to welcome our newest members ALT/AVE, Ecus, Game Advisor, GANT, Hirsh London, Learnesy, Lincoln International, North Star Law, Pinnacle, PocketLaw, Sjöstrand and Trelleborg. We represent a fantastic membership, and a strong trading partnership. If you haven’t joined us already, I hope you will do so in 2021. We have an exciting agenda for this year, and would love to have you part of the journey.
Our commitment in 2021 includes a continued focus along our core themes of technology, sustainability, people culture and 21st century leadership. This will be manifested through our events – whether intimate roundtables or larger summits and forums, our accelerators and capital raising programmes, the business services which we offer, and our communications platforms.
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SCC TEAM EVENTS AND PROGRAMMES
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Finance and Operations
Mathilda Börjesson, Manager
Sofia Larsen, Senior Manager
Peter McNamee, Financial Controller
Michelle Riedenfalk, Sten A. Olsson Foundation for Research and Culture Scholar Erik Adling Tufvesson
Maria Karlsson, Gull & Stellan Ljungberg Foundation Scholar Kajsa Thorselius
MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Jonas Eklund, Manager Tobias Almqvist, Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK Scholar Anna Clark
Anna Crona, Manager Mahmoud Hajo, Scholarship Fund for Swedish Youth Abroad Scholar Rebecca Fransson
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TRAVELERS NEED FLEXIBILITY To help you navigate through these turbulent times, we have now introduced more flexible rebooking options. Book with flexibility, and travel now or later. Safer than ever. Welcome up whenever you are ready.
CONTENTS THE LINK • ISSUE 355 • APRIL 2021
The sex tech entrepreneurs The market for sex tech is growing exponentially, and people are ready to pay for niched content. SCC member AVA stories leads the way.
Are you a leader or just a boss?
Returning to the skies
SCC member Persona’s Lisa Brodin Ferraro guides us through the psychology behind good leadership and the practical do’s (and a few dont’s).
SCC patron SAS was fast to adapt to a new reality with restricted travelling and seized the opportunity to introduce fleixble solutions and updating it’s fleet to one of the most sustainable and young fleets in the world.
Keeping traditional craftmanship alive
DIGITAL DEALMAKING ON THE RISE POST-PANDEMIC
ELANDERS: SUPPLYING THE WHOLE PACKAGE
Passion for gems runs in the family. Sofia Hirsh shares her vision of SCC member Hirsh, a company that has been making hand-crafted jewellery in the heart of London since 1980.
Known to many as a printing company, SCC member Elanders has taken off on a tranformational journey of becoming a supplier of end-to-end supply chain solutions.
Known to many as a printing company, SCC member Elanders has taken off on a tranformational journey of becoming a supplier of end-to-end supply chain solutions.
IN THE LINK 3 YEARS AGo Three years ago the Link posted an article on new ways of working. An article on how employment has changed over time and how three member companies worked to ensure loyalty in their organisations and how the “gig economy” (organisations hiring independent workers for short-term commitments) affects employment. “The economic pressures to act speedily and flexibly in the digital age are unrelenting, and consequently the gig economy can only grow stronger” said Emma Blackmore, Head of Partnerships Marketing at Gigstr. Little did anyone expect a forthcoming pandemic to further accelerate these challenges and opportunities. What will the future workplace and employment look like? We will see what the future holds…
E r u t u f The d e s a b t is plan Plant-based is the new goodies for the human body, mind and soul. Where science meets health, Veg of Lund and Sproud pioneers the field of Swedish food tech and showcase why a plant-based option is for the conscious consumer. Repping the vibrant south of Sweden, the two SCC members are challenging and disrupting the plant-based food sector and contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle with slightly unexpected components. We are used to soy, oats, and other protein sources, but Veg of Lund and Sproud lets us in on uncharted territories. BY: ANNA CLARK
When we say food tech, we often refer to the innovation across the whole food value chain, from farm to plate to bin and everything in between. There is increasingly little doubt that plant-based options are becoming more and more popular and a real game-changer to reckon with. Two of the most significant shifts plant-based food has demonstrated are the developments towards transparency from food to mouth and the fact that non-animalistic options equal great taste. Maria Tegman, CEO and co-founder at Sproud, takes us to the very beginning of the early days of Sproud and what led their way towards change. “We quickly realised the importance of taste in order to cater to the greatest range of customers possible, and in turn, achieving the maximum possible positive impact on our climate.” This vision soon led them to the yellow split pea, a neutral-tasting protein treasure with a smooth texture and low carbon footprint. Equally devoted to taste When people think of plant-based, some might recognise it as the environmentally friendly option or rather, the option where taste is sacrificed for the greater good, but Maria disagrees. “Plant-based food and drink producers have a vast array of benefits to both the health of consumers and the planet; for example, plant-based products are low in saturated fats, as well as being more sustainable and crueltyfree. What’s great is with such a myriad of new innovative and great-tasting products, beyond meat and animalistic products available today, you’re not sacrificing taste at all. We at Sproud like to promote the idea that plant-based products are available for everyone whatever your dietary preferences are.” Going back to the roots Veg of Lund stems from Lund, the University of Lund and Professor Eva Tornberg’s potato
patent. With the plant-based sector developing rapidly, the professor wanted to create a healthy product that benefited the climate without lagging behind on the taste. Thomas Olander, CEO at Veg of Lund, paints the picture and how the everyday potato entered their minds. “Eva came to think of the potato, which is sort of a unique crop. It is a very sustainable crop with a neutral taste profile. Rapeseed oil, together with a heat-stable emulsion of the potato, constitutes a brilliant base for many different food products.”
can definitely say about the industry is that it is fairly fast and innovative.” Consumers want to be amazed and surprised by unexpected elements. While flavour is crucial, experience goes well beyond the product itself. Taste is king; experience is queen Food tech is without a doubt an emergent sector exploring how technology can be leveraged to improve efficiency and sustainability in designing, producing, choosing, delivering and last but not least, enjoying food. Originating from Malmö, Sproud embodies Swedish youthfulness with slick, innovative packaging design and progressive energy. Just like
ives this "What dr sed plant ba e ent is th m p o l e v e d from the interest .
Founded in 2016, Veg of Lund is deeply rooted in scientific food innovation to create the ultimate plant-based drink for a lifestyle where more people are mindful of what they eat and drink. As the protege of Veg of Lund and the World Food Innovation Award winner in 2018, My foodie is a nutritious organic smoothie bottled up in glass design with the potato patent as the base. Emerging from a strong food development and research sector at the University, Veg of Lund predicts prosperity. “I think that there is a widespread interest in the Swedish food industry and one thing you
Maria Tegman, CEO and Co-founder of Sproud. Photo: Amanda Moritz.
Veg of Lund has developed its very own patented plant-based drink based on potato and rapeseed oil. Photo: Veg of Lund.
Swedes are imaginative in music and fashion – Sproud is the answer in novel food. “We saw the emerging trend for plant-based, among the younger generation. The established industries answered too slowly, so Sproud was created as a lifestyle brand in 2018. We knew from the start that we wanted to create a plant-based product range.” As the yellow pea inhabits many benefits, such as minimum sugar / high protein content and being allergen-free, Sproud had the opportunity to test several different kinds of products before deciding on the hero product, the milk. “Our mission is to make the world’s best tasting, most sustainable and nutritious plant-based milk available for as many people as possible. When we produce Sproud, we use the dried yellow pea, mix it with water and add oil to get the creamy texture. Then we sweeten with agave and add vitamins”. The concept ‘Veg of Lund is for everyone’ is the backbone of the company’s branding, meaning the foodie isn’t just only free from added sugars, gluten, lactose, soy, and allergens but also a filling and conscious choice, accessible to everyone. “What drives this plant-based development is the interest from the consumers, so it’s not just that you have an industry that is adapting fast but rather an industry that develops products based on genuine interest. A lot of consumers are vegetarian, some are vegans, and then you have flexitarians. So I think consumers of food tech, in general, have an interest in doing good.” Green thinking: authenticity and transparency An informed guess is that the food tech industry hasn’t seen the last innovative whiff of Swedish plant-based products. Both Maria and Thomas are certain this sector will continue to grow due to consumers’ increasing health and
Powered by peas and developed in Sweden using the yellow split pea protein, Sproud has the mission to be the best tasting non-dairy milk. Photo: Sproud.
climate awareness. “In Sweden we are known for having a larger amount of LOHAS (lifestyle of health and sustainability), which are described as a value driver for consumer group, which tends to be equal in values rather than demographic. This means being educated and aware of sustainability, health, music, food, travels etc. Consumers also value authenticity and transparent brands or companies.”
a "There is st ad intere widespre d edish foo in the Sw n . You ca industry say it is definitely st and fairly fa e. innovativ Sustainability and transparency play huge parts in food tech and are obvious key attributes for the conscious consumer driving the plantbased market. The reason for choosing the yellow pea derives from holistic green thinking, as it not only requires less water and land while growing compared to many other plantbased options, it also adds nutrients to the soil. Alongside a shelf life of 365 days, overall carbon emissions are driven to the ground by the sustainable production process. Thomas takes on a slightly more blatant approach and reasons that going into plant-based, apart from
the well-being aspect, is not just one way but the way to move forward to cope with the climate issues we’re facing. The uniqueness of the potato is in the all-round nutrients as it serves up a fair amount of C-vitamin, fibres and protein, to name a few. The future is plant-based For Veg of Lund, opportunities are waiting up ahead. After landing the potato patent in late 2019 a successful introduction on the Stockholm Nasdaq First North followed in 2020. But the launch of Veg of Lund’s new potato milk was delayed along with other initiatives, by the pandemic’s repercussions. “We will now launch the potato milk during the first half of this year. Late last year, we also signed a contract with Scandi Standard to develop a plant-based meat alternative.” Thomas discloses that there are pending discussions on alternative development routes for the patent and the extra- (no-more)ordinary potato. There have been a few milestones in Sproud’s progressive history. The list of retailers is growing longer, and more loyal customers are lining up globally. A listing with Wholefoods California, an investment from London based private equity firm VGC and the first milk alternative to be Sugar Wise certificated have all been real game changers for Sproud. “We really hope to expand and grow in a great way in 2021 in the UK specifically. We have recently got a listing with Booths – a supermarket chain primarily based around the north of England - and we are fairly confident that we should be announcing another one in the coming months. We have quite a few things lined up, especially for the summer period, but we will keep that as a surprise for now!”
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Are you a leader or just a boss? Business is fundamentally about humans interacting with one another and anywhere you have human interaction, psychology can play a massive role. It’s been said that leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality, and most people would probably agree with that statement, but how does that translate into the perception and implementation of good leadership in actual practice? Together with psychologist and partner Lisa Brodin Ferraro at SCC member Persona Executive, the Link took a deep dive into the behaviourism behind good leadership. BY: ANNA CLARK
There are several ways psychology appears in business, the most obvious being when influencing and understanding other people and their behaviours; the less obvious but equally, if not more important is understanding yourself and the role you play as a leader. Lisa jumps straight into the core and expands on the employees perspective; “It’s important to understand that as a leader, you’re not to be controlling the work but to be interested and give freedom under responsibility. Employees want reflection partners, not a guard or a supervisor.” Originating from Stockholm in 1984 as a business psychologist consultancy, Persona was established in London in 2015 with the main objectives to help businesses to be more humane and profitable by providing boards of directors, senior managers and HR support with personality assessments in recruitment, executive coaching, management, team development and management due diligence.
back, feedback and continuous feedback in a way that effectively enhances the quality and work satisfaction. “This kind of feedback is specific in character and keeps in mind both the individual’s development goals, as well as the goals of the organisation as a whole.” Connect the feedback to a bigger picture and set the context to understand why they are receiving positive feedback.
“We tend to focus on behaviours we don’t want to see, rather than focusing on the key behaviours of success.” Lisa Brodin Ferraro, leg. psychologist and partner at Persona Executive. Photo: Persona Executive.
Stability, openness to and for change The short answer to what good leadership really means is; it depends. Company size matters, organisational culture, strategic goals and business area are highly significant, influence the environment and require different tactics. According to Lisa, the cornerstone and foundation of good leadership is based on stability and adapting to change. Stability in itself might stem from strong analytical skills, being able to foresee consequences of decisions, maturity of the individual leader to deal with different situations in a composed way and having the ability to self-reflect on shortcomings and limitations. Narcissistic, non-empathic tendencies are naturally a big red flag. Openness to change is linked to driving change, handling uncertainties and encompassing a positive attitude towards new techniques and solutions.
Thirdly, never stop learning, evolving or reflecting upon ways of learning. To keep the organisation on its toes, a leader must create a learning structure in response to continuous technical, political, financial or market change. The leader needs to keep learning and reflect, ‘how are we working?’, ‘what are we doing right?’ and ‘what isn’t working?’ Lastly, implement processes to encourage cooperation and communication between different functions to understand common and overall goals. By creating forums for employees from different functions, the leader can bridge knowledge gaps to ensure each perspective is considered before a strategic decision is made. To avoid making decisions in one part of the organisation that affects another part of the organisation negatively.
Four practical tips for leadership in practice It’s easy to talk about the concept of good leadership, but how does it pan out in real life? Lisa provides real-life examples of what has proven to be effective in big as well as small organisations. Firstly, identify the key behaviours that are successful in your organisation, and acknowledge and positively reinforce those behaviours. Secondly, feed-
A learning environment: constant challenge and re-thinking leadership “A growing demand on leaders today is to be present, have emotional stability and the ability to prioritise. To set healthy boundaries and care for your own wellbeing as well as for your employees.” Related to this is the leader’s and team members’ desire to do a good job whilst working from home, which can add a high-stress level, which the on-
going pandemic has not helped. Uncertainty diminishes the positive effects of performing well, generally boosted by progress and innovation. The main thing the leader has to focus on is to give feedback in a natural and built-in way in everyday work. Having a leader encouraging their employees under pressure will help the team steer objectively and calmly through crises and other changing processes. Re-thinking how you lead and resetting how you reinforce your team members is therefore pivotal “We tend to focus on behaviours we don’t want to see, rather than focusing on the key behaviours of success.”
ABOUT PERSONA Persona’s consultants are registered business psychologists with experience in international environments, certified by The European Federation of Psychologist’s Association (EFPA). Persona was founded in 1984 and has since then established many long-lasting relationships with clients from a broad range of industries within the business sector in Sweden. In 2015 Persona expanded with an office in London.
OPENING UP AFTER THE PANDEMIC As Covid-vaccines are being rolled out, society is gradually going back to normal - or is it? What impact has the pandemic had on business operations as we used to know them? How do businesses prepare to open up again, and what structures and ideas developed during the past year will linger? In this cross-sectoral feature, we will talk to representatives at three SCC member companies about their experience, what challenges they have faced, and how the pandemic will shape their future. BY: TOBIAS ALMQVIST
In the beginning, it was very much a chance to reflect,” Linda Thiel, Director of London studio and Partner at White Arkitekter AB says. “To reflect on how our cities are used and what impact the pandemic might have on society as a whole.” The architecture industry, much like many other industries, soon came to a standstill when the pandemic hit. “We definitely struggled a bit in the beginning. However, we were quite used to working online between the different offices even before the pandemic, so we recovered quite quickly. During the pandemic, collaboration across our offices have increased, and we’ve been working much closer, which I think has been a good experience. But obviously, it has put quite a lot of pressure on both our HR department and financial department. They worked really hard to make sure that the organisation is healthy enough, planning and managing all the information across the company.” “The focus on HR and what we’re doing has definitely increased during the pandemic”, Bernard Charles, Head of HR at Handelsbanken plc, says. “With the health, well-being and safety of
employees coming into ever-greater focus, HR teams have been given a more prominent role in many organisations.” Like many other businesses, Handelsbanken quickly had to mobilise most of their employees to work from home. At the same time, however, they also kept all of their over 200 UK branches open. “It has been a great challenge to really make sure that you are there for all of the company’s employees. From an HR perspective, we’ve been supporting people as they got used to working from home, but we’ve also had to make sure that those of our employees who continue to come into the office or to the branch were sufficiently supported”, Bernie says. Well-being in focus When the pandemic hit, it soon became evident that ensuring the well-being of employees would revolve not only around keeping them from getting infected by the virus. Bernie mentions several examples of measures Handelsbanken have taken to ensure the well-being of their employees. “For instance, we introduced a virtual GP service, because we knew it was going to be difficult for people to get to their
own GP. We’ve also focused a lot on supporting the mental health of our employees so we post masterclasses around things to help people cope with change and to deal with stress, and we’ve also developed guides, e.g. for parents who were homeschooling.” Bernie highlights the importance of also providing training and support for managers, given that leading a team remotely requires a different skill set than leading a team in person. “I think many of the HRrelated challenges that have come up through the pandemic are really around communication. You have to make sure that there continues to be good communication and collaboration when everybody is not in the office all the time, and that we are there for each other as colleagues and supporting each other. We’ve been encouraging our managers to make sure they’re keeping in touch regularly with their team members to make sure that they are okay - emphasising the importance of checking in, not checking up.” The focus on the well-being of employees has been at the forefront also for office furniture supplier Kinnarps. “For instance, we’ve started having yoga sessions and we’ve had a nutrition-
LINDA THIEL Director of London Studio and Partner White Arkitekter
BERNARD CHARLES Head of HR Handelsbanken plc
FREDRIK BERGSTEN Managing Director Kinnarps UK
ist teaching us what to eat and what to avoid. We’ve also had an internal wellness challenge where we encouraged people to walk more by dividing the company up into three teams who then competed to get to our factory in Sweden and back the quickest,” Fredrik Bergsten, Managing Director at Kinnarps UK says.
only give you a space that works better for your organisation but it’s also more sustainable in the long term with minimized waste.”
to see an increase in what we call activity-based working, that is, offices designed according to the specific needs of the organisation. I think we will see new types of meeting rooms, allowing for new types of hybrid collaboration. I also think we will see a lot of quiet spaces because, for a lot of people, coming into the office means a chance to actually focus and get away from young children or sitting in uncomfortable positions.”
Important insights After living with the pandemic for well over a year, it’s evident that some of the processes that had started before the pandemic, such as digitization, sustainability and more flexible work, have accelerated a lot in the past year. All three agree that the pandemic has brought important insights that will affect the way we live and, not least, work. “The biggest challenge for us has been the fact that we’re not together in the office. We work closely between departments, so not being able to have that day-to-day interaction has been very difficult, particularly on the creative side. It’s quite difficult to work creatively virtually via Teams, Zoom and so forth, Fredrik explains. Linda agrees: “For architects, meetings can easily be held online, whereas creative workshops, model making, and all of those things, require physical meetings. This goes also for company culture, which is very difficult to nurture when everyone is working online, especially now that everything is very value-based, and a lot of focus is put on having a meaningful place to work,” she says. She continues: “One important lesson I think society has learned from the pandemic is that it’s really difficult to predict the future - not least how we will be working. Our work processes are likely to change again and again so offices need to have a very robust but flexible layout, and be easy to adapt,” Linda says. Fredrik agrees: “Moving forward, flexibility is going to be incredibly important when designing an office that’s made to last. You’ll need to consider the level of flexibility you require within the space, daily, short term and long term, allowing for this will not
Speaking from an HR perspective, Bernie also thinks that flexibility will be one of the greatest considerations as companies start phasing people back into the office. “While many people have really missed their colleagues in the past year, there are also many who have really enjoyed the flexibility of working from home. I think a silver lining to the pandemic is that there will be more flexibility regarding the way we work, communicate and interact going forward. It is about getting the appropriate balance and ensuring we retain our strong corporate culture.” Preparing for the unpredictable Now that vaccines are being rolled out, businesses are making plans on how to return to a new normality. If the Covid pandemic has taught us that it’s difficult to predict the future, then how do we prepare for the unpredictable? “I think one of the greatest HR challenges is going to be how we build people’s confidence up again. We have to assure our teams that we’ve put all the safety measures in place and that the office is a safe place to be. The fact that so many have become familiar with using online tools and resources is fantastic because it allows for more flexible ways of working, but I think many of these new ways of working will be ‘in addition’ to how we used to work, rather than ‘instead of’ working with your colleagues in person,” Bernie says. Fredrik agrees: “Currently, we’re hearing various organisations say that the employees can work from home for as long as they want but I think that will present further challenges down the road. I think it’s clear that a hybrid working model is going to be implemented by most organisations. And with that, I think we’re going
Fredrik goes on to explain that Kinnarps focuses on long-term strategies when working with its customers, rather than quick fixes such as high screen dividers which isn’t a long term solution. “Our focus will continue to be B2B, part of this now includes supporting our clients home working programs,” Fredrik says. During the pandemic, Kinnarps has been working with customers to help them rethink their workplace strategies, that is, the way they want to work moving forward. “If you are going to drive a big change within the office, now is a good time to do so as you can implement it with minimal disruption whilst most employees are still working from home.” “I think we’ll likely see smaller team rooms or some sort of partitions in bigger spaces,” Linda says. “I also think that the values, culture and specific needs of the company are going to show more in the design of the office, resulting in a much broader range of interior designs and styles. What’s certain is that businesses within different industries will have to figure out what works best for them and their work processes.” “The interesting thing about architecture is that you can sort of predict things,” she adds. “However, human behaviour is very difficult to change so it will be interesting to see how workplaces and work culture evolve post-pandemic. That interaction between architecture and human behaviour is what makes a place good and really interesting, especially in these times”.
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THE SEX TECH ENTREPRENEURS With the aim of building a global platform providing erotica in audio format for women, co-founders Linnea Taube och Rosanna Thun are planning to launch their new digital subscription service ‘AVA stories’ in 2021. As more and more people choose to pay for niched content, and the market for so-called sex tech is projected to increase exponentially within the next decade, Rosanna and Linnea see strong global growth potential for their company. The Link talked to Rosanna and chairman Lotta Malm-Hallqvist about the vision for the company and how their bonding at the SCC’s Bootcamp #AccessUK led to an unexpected partnership. BY: TOBIAS ALMQVIST
It all started during a girls night, Rosanna explains: “Linnea and I, who happen to be neighbours, were drinking wine and talking about sex in the jacuzzi. We got into products and services, and how there are so much more of it available for men than for women, and that’s how the idea for AVA stories was born.” With AVA Stories, they want to reduce stigmas around sex and masturbation, and encourage women to explore their sexual desires on their own terms, to create a platform for women and with female perspectives. The focus of the platform is not only going to be sex and orgasms, but rather a service for women’s wellness and sexy healthcare, with the aim of helping women to build good relationships with their bodies and their sexuality. As such, it will also provide articles, news, and interviews with inspiring women. “Today’s generation of women are leaving old stereotypes behind and exploring their own sexuality. AVA is tailored to a generation that is obsessed with self-improvement and that does not accept the status quo”, Rosanna says.
Lotta Malm-Hallqvist, Linnea Taube and Rosanna Thun at AVA Stories. Photo: AVA Stories.
”Today’s generation of women are leaving old stereotypes behind and exploring their own sexuality.” Accessing the UK Before founding AVA, Rosanna was the deputy CEO of Tourn International, a company combining tech and influencer marketing to build the next generation of social media advertising. While representing Tourn in the 2019’s cohort of the SCC-hosted accelerator programme #AccessUK, Rosanna met with Lotta Malm Hallqvist, a London-based serial entrepreneur within fashion, advertising and communications, and a long history of global c-suite positions in large corporations. The two immediately hit it off. “I was truly
impressed by Rosanna’s passion, knowledge, and energy when she talked about all new technologies and business,” Lotta says. When Rosanna and Linnea later contacted Lotta about the new business idea they had, Lotta was all ears. “They had my full attention after 5 minutes, and 10 minutes later I asked to be involved”, Lotta says. Lotta subsequently joined AVA as chairman, and she has high hopes for the company: “I believe we have a massive opportunity to build AVA into something very interesting and, to quote my daughter, this is the most important company I’ve ever been involved in.” Great market potential With both the self-care trend and demand for niche content growing rapidly, the market potential is great. “The self-care trend has been headed by mindfulness and mental
health apps such as Calm and Headspace, and is now a 450 billion dollar industry. The audio content market is currently valued at 4.6 billion USD and growing 25-30% yearly, much faster than the traditional media and entertainment market,” Rosanna explains. As their ambition is to build a global brand, the main challenge is rather to become the first-hand choice for their target group when it comes to erotic audio. “Our target group is very selective with what they entertain themselves with, and they want a service tailored to them. We need to deliver the best product on the market, so listening closely to customers demands is essential. AVA is currently working to launch in Sweden during Q2 2021, and all English speaking countries later this year.
Returning to the skies The aviation industry took a hard hit when airlines saw travellers disappearing in a matter of weeks due to the pandemic. While many airlines struggled with cash flow and went under, SCC patron SAS was fast to adapt to the new environment and took the opportunity to introduce flexible solutions to its travellers and to update its fleet to one of the most sustainable and youngest fleets in the world. “There is no reason to believe we wouldn’t continue from where we were before the pandemic and become even stronger,” says Niko Ek, Head of Sales Europe at SAS. BY: JONAS EKLUND
Formed in 1946 from Det Danske Luftfartselskab, Det Norske Luftfartselskap and Svensk Interkontinetal Lufttrafik, SCC patron SAS has been connecting Scandinavia with the rest of the world for 75 years. With its routes between Scandinavia and the UK, the airline has been enabling trade, meetings, and interaction for decades. “The impact has perhaps not been direct, but indirectly, the impact has definitely been quite big,” says Niko Ek, Head of Sales Europe at SAS. “We enable the markets to become closer, both from a business and a private point of view.” Part of the Scandinavian infrastructure While many of its competitors fly to and from Scandinavia, SAS is one of the only airlines that have the strategy to serve Scandinavia by being part of the Scandinavian infrastructure. “We cannot forget that we are also committed to serve and develop domestic and intra-Scandinavian networks, that actually enable people to live outside the capital areas and still have access to global networks. That is something that definitely has been a key for the Scandinavian and UK markets, when we talk about connections.” According to Niko, SAS has a wide range of different kinds of customers, when it comes to age, nationality, and purpose of travel. “Our main target group is what we call Scandinavia’s frequent travellers, whatever purpose of travel. But if you look at our travel mix, you will probably find a little bit more business purpose travellers, compared to especially new competitors in the market.” Not a one-size-fits-all experience To fly with SAS is not a one-size-fits-all experience. It is up to the customer to decide what they want to have included in the ticket. We have everything from a scaled-down more basic product to a full premium business product, and everything in between. “The key is to offer the flexibility on top of a high standard, basic product,” says Niko and continues: “We cannot always compete with price against the ultra-low-cost airlines, and we don’t even want, or need to be the cheapest on the market. The key is really that the product we offer and the value for money have to be in good balance, and that is what we deliver.”
Rigorous safety measures were implemented at a very early stage at airports and onboard to prevent the spread of the virus. Photo: Mads Guldager.
Biggest and longest crisis in history When the pandemic struck the world in early 2020, the aviation sector lost its passengers in a matter of weeks. While traditional business travel decreased the most to a practically nonexisting level, crucial trips and business-critical trips are still being made to some extent. “This was the biggest and the longest crisis ever for the aviation sector. We have had crises before, everything from terrorism to ash clouds, but these have been quite short crises. Now, the demand was more or less gone in a couple of weeks for most airlines.” Niko explains that the centre of the challenge was that cash flow disappeared from one day to another, which is why many airlines went under. “It is a capitalintensive industry, so it was a huge challenge that the cost was still there, but without income.” Changing patterns of business travel As vaccines are being rolled out and countries are preparing to reopen their borders, Niko believes that visiting friends and relatives will be one of the main reasons for travel during the first year and that shorter trips will be back faster than the longer ones. Even if business travel will be back, he foresees that it won’t
be back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon. “Remote working and digital meetings will change business travel, and we do not believe that all business travel will be back. It is better to be realistic and change the way we see the market.” Still, business travel will continue to be an important part of SAS’ business. “We are not going from being very much a business purpose airline to becoming full leisure. It is just the proportion between these that probably will change.” Finding a balance As we move into a ‘new normality’, Niko suggests that people will be finding a balance between what they want to do digitally and what they would do in person. And that is going to be different for different individuals, organisations, and businesses, which will translate into different travel behaviour. “I do believe that travelling for short over-day meetings will probably be reduced. Commuting very frequently between countries is probably also something that will be reduced now when organisations realise that you don’t actually have to be in the office every day. You can live somewhere further away, and then maybe visit the office fewer times a week.”
THE PATRONSHIP The SCC patronship consists of a core group of SCC member businesses committed to supporting the Swedish-British business community. The patronship comes with a range of benefits – if you would like to know more, please contact email@example.com. Flexibility is key Rigorous safety measures were implemented at a very early stage at airports and onboard to prevent the spread of the virus, and according to Niko, there have been very few cases of transmissions, also thanks to the advanced clean-air systems onboard SAS airplanes. “For us it has been a lot about communicating with the customers and make them feel safe when travelling with us.” Another aspect of security is the possibility to rebook or cancel a trip on short notice.“ A key factor for us has been the flexibility that we offer our customers. For our most frequent travellers who have our SAS EuroBonus high-level tier membership, we have extended the validity, so that they are not affected by this time period that they actually have not been able to travel. At the moment we offer four times more qualifying points value for them to earn a status that they potentially didn’t have before.” Part of the community As a significant-sized employer with multiskilled staff on furlough, SAS has actively taken several initiatives that benefit society during the pandemic. “We really believe that we are all in it together. SAS’ staff is well-educated and prepared to meet unexpected and challenging situations, always with safety as the highest priority. In times of crisis and great stress, these qualities come in handy in many places in society. In cooperation with a number of partners, SAS employees are offered the possibility to temporarily, and on a voluntary basis, carry out work to take some load off the health care sector,” Niko says and adds that SAS has been flying rescue flights to bring Scandinavian citizens home from different parts of the world and flown cargo flights to bring crucial medical equipment to Scandinavia in cooperation with
the governments. “Now, we are supporting in the big vaccination initiatives that are ongoing. We are a part of the community and we want to help where we can.” Speeding up sustainability initiatives One of the more positive outcomes from the pandemic is that SAS has been able to speed up the process of renewing its fleet. “We have worked with sustainability for several year years. The single biggest impact that you as an airline can make is having the right efficient aircraft. Something good has actually come out from the pandemic, as we have phased out the older aircraft faster than we originally had planned, which makes our average aircraft age much younger. On European routes, we will be operating the Airbus 320 Neo, which is the absolutely most fuel-efficient narrow body aircraft in the market. We are the biggest operator currently of this model and with phasing out the slightly older aircrafts quicker, we actually reach the best possible starting point in our sustainability efforts.” With sustainability as one of the main pillars of its strategic initiatives, SAS aims to reduce 25% of its co2 impact by 2025. “This is quite an ambitious target, but we are not far away from that goal.” Apart from updating its fleet, the airline co2 compensates all SAS EuroBonus member and youth tickets. “Also, the sustainable aviation fuel, or what you call biofuel, is an ancillary service that we offer both individuals and corporate customers. In the short term, for the next five to ten years, this is going to be key to reducing emissions.” Emerging stronger after the pandemic Apart from focus on sustainability, other success factors going forward include reducing
the complexity in the company, in the cost basis and increasing the efficiency. “We need to maintain a high level of flexibility, so that we can meet seasonal adjustments even better than we could before the crisis, and to change according to demand.” Niko is certain that SAS will be the leader when it comes to market share and brand preference for its main target groups after the crisis. “We had a good momentum where we were both winning market shares and having record numbers of passengers before the crisis. With the recapitalisation that we have been through during the pandemic and all updates in the fleet and efficiency measures, there is no reason to believe why we wouldn’t continue from where we were before the pandemic and become even stronger. Our ambition is not to conquer the world, it is to focus on people who travel frequently to, from and within Scandinavia.” Best and youngest fleet possible The routes SAS has been flying between the UK and Scandinavia are well established and have been served for years – flights from London Heathrow and Manchester to Scandinavian capitals, as well as from Aberdeen to different parts of Scandinavia – all of which Niko predicts will be returning as soon as the crisis blows over. “I think all these routes will come back strong, and the frequencies will be added step by step when we get back to a more normalised demand.” And when travellers are returning, they will be met by a new and improved SAS. “We will continue to offer a safe and competitive product with personal service, but as a customer, you will meet an SAS with the best and youngest fleet possible.”
NORDIC M&A FORUM:
Cross border M&A boom rich in promise
Gabriel Mellqvist, Dagens Industri reporter, chaired the events with panellists and keynote speakers from banks, asset managers, private equity and advisory firms looking at the year ahead for Nordic cross-border M&A. The City UK’s CEO, Miles Celic, commented on the positive M&A trends; the first quarter pointing upwards with over 400 transactions and a target of 600. “Nordic companies still look at the UK as a stepping stone to the rest of the world. Our historic relationship between the Nordic and the UK is deep, and won’t change.” BY: SOPHIA AHREL
Despite a volatile M&A market impacted by the pandemic, Brexit and a global financial crisis, Nordic business continue to look at international opportunities regardless of geopolitical hurdles. New technology and digitalised platforms support the management of deal flow remotely – but notably, it can never re002 direct contact where personal meetings place are still important. Fredrik Bolander, Director, Lincoln International was optimistic: “We see a great deal of exit pitches, sponsors’ quick reactions to capital deployment and successful acquisitions by UK private equity buying in the Nordics.” Gun Nilsson, CEO, Melker Schörling AB commented: “With many markets hitting all-time highs, the appetite for M&A transactions is strong and as result, you pay a premium to get quality.”
“Impressive how companies have survived this crisis, and how innovation seeing new business model coming through fuelling creativity.” 002
Gun Nilsson, CEO, Melker Schörling AB
Jan Olsson, CEO of the Nordics, Deutsche Bank and Chairman, Swedish Chamber of Commerce remarked: “Geopolitical risks have always been part of business, and China & US are extremely important for the global financial environment. Olsson continued: The US is important for the Nordic M&A market. Olsson added: Look at stock exchanges, dominated by US investors. It is also harder to buy Asian companies than US & European.”
“We see companies accepting crypto as part of M&A. It will 003 norm in the future.” become
Jan Olsson, CEO of the Nordics, Deutsche Bank and SCC Chairman
Pandemic moves Nordic position forward The Nordics are one of the world’s leading tech-hubs, but Asia is swiftly becoming a player in the sector. Whilst the Nordics are affected by Asia, the successful tech journeys and strong regional cluster focus e.g. Fintech and Gaming attract talent and drive innovation. The Nordics may be small, but has the advantage of being extremely nimble and agile. A great example of this is Swedish payments firm Klarna, which tripled its valuation to $31 billion in less than six months. ESG the next big investment opportunity All panellists agreed that Nordic companies will utilise their leading position to help raise 03the ESG agenda of other the global stakes0of firms through M&A, setting ‘Green Steel’ as an example. David Hess, Principal, Altor stated: “ESG is a big priority across our business model, investors and portfolio. The biggest investment opportunity and theme for the next 10 years. ”Eirik Winter, CEO Nordic Region & Head of CIB Nordics, BNP Paribas concurred: M&A stopped, and first quarter dropped 75% with deal volumes down 20%, but Q4 2020 is the strongest since 2016.” Keynote: The rise of health tech The pandemic has meant that interactions with patients’ health care providers will no longer be personal which speed up treatments. Raj Shah, Partner and Head of Healthcare, Nordic
Capital said: “A post pandemic health tech care sector means greater collaboration. As a result of higher expectations by patients, regulatory triggers cannot stand in the way as they used to.” “Large corporates are left behind, as SPACs, VCs and M&A are chasing the big opportunities of impact tech and impact companies especially in health tech, decarbonisation of value chains, electrification in energy and auto sector.” Susanna Campbell, Non-executive Director, Kinnevik AB The UK green finance and tech vision John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister shared the UK Financial Services Vision by Chancellor: “To lead on green finance and embracing technology, and 4 concluded: “Fintech 0is0 worth some £11Bn to the UK, with Sweden as one of the leaders. He continued: “We have a real opportunity to work together to help Fintechs list in the UK.” Sir Roger Gifford, SEB and Chair Green Finance Institute, made the closing remarks: “The City wants to trade more with everything and everyone. London is not about UK banks, it’s about global banks in London and how they trade from The City.”
ABOUT SOPHIA AHREL Sophia Ahrel is a writer, strategist and board advisor for private equity portfolios and high growth ventures. Sophia is also Programme Director for “The City”, the SCC’s new mentorship programme coming soon. Learn more at ahrel.co.uk.
Digital dealmaking on the rise in the wake of the pandemic 006
With dealmakers depending on digital solutions to get important deals done, the pandemic has left a long-lasting mark on future M&A activities. “The way people do deals has evolved. They can now use drones and other technology to do site visits and get deals done online, which will speed up the process and is actually a positive impact for the future,” says Susanna Sandell, Regional Director Nordics at SCC patron DFIN, as she looks at the development and upcoming trends within Nordic M&A. BY: JONAS EKLUND
SCC patron DFIN partners with global investsupport a virtual team delivering without any ment banks, private equity, law firms and negative impact for our clients.” corporates, providing them with technology 006 solutions to streamline their capital markets Deal-making has evolved transactions. “It can be anything from raising Susanna is certain that there will be some funds, small cap series ABC, preparing for long-term effects on deal-making that will be IPOs, SPACs, refinancing, to M&A transacsticking around even after the crisis. “The tions. We also provide inhouse financial printway people do deals has evolved. Dealmaking, for example, printing of prospectus,” says ers have been depending on digital solutions Susanna Sandell, Regional Director Nordics during this whole pandemic and what we see at DFIN. is that our platform has enabled our clients to complete the deals that they really needed to get done. People will go back to face-to-face meetings eventually but going forward, there will be a mix of online and offline meetings. “Dealmakers have been can now use drones and other techdepending on digital solu- They nology to do site visits and get deals done online, which will speed up the process and is tions during this whole actually a positive impact for the future.”
pandemic and what we see is that our platform has enabled our clients to complete the deals that they really needed to get done.” 005
Maximizing efficiency With its virtual data room services, DFIN can help clients maximize efficiency in capital market transactions and compliance, which is crucial as the value of a company is directly linked to the quality of the data. “By preparing this correctly, and in a secure environment, investors will engage more and will more likely be aligned on the valuation rather than a poorly prepared data set. We are a trusted partner to manage their confidential data and expedite the whole due diligence process. This way the clients will be able to focus on the more higher-value tasks of the deal.” Delivering without negative impact during the pandemic Looking back at 2020, Susanna notes that practically all M&A activities came to a halt for a few months due to the uncertainties caused by the pandemic. “DFIN embraced the situation by mobilising our team so that everyone was able to work from home. We already had the tech and a robust infrastructure to
Record number of deals expected In 2021, M&A activities are expected to rebound0to 062018/2019 levels and according to Susanna, there is a lot of positivism on the market, which is especially true for many Nordic companies that are looking to list in the US. “We are expecting a record volume of deals and also a record volume of buyers and sellers – all indicators really point to a strong momentum. When we head into 2021, we have still very favourable market conditions. We have continued low interest rates, liquidity in the markets due to injections by central banks, and a significant amount of ‘dry powder’ that must be used.” The pandemic – a catalyst for ESG Due to the pandemic, economies are now going through major shifts. Entire industries need to be restructured, while new industries will continue to emerge. “There will always be space for M&A in all types of markets,” Susanna says and points out that despite all challenges, the pandemic has had some positive side-effects, as it is said to have worked as a long-term catalyst for ESG. “Many policymakers and investors are viewing the crisis as a wake-up call that accelerates the need for a different approach to investing, as parallels have been drawn between the unforeseen risks of a pandemic and issues such as climate change. Over the long run,
Susanna Sandell, Regional Director Nordics, DFIN. Photo: Private.
Covid-19 could prove to be a major turning point for ESG investing, or strategies that consider a company’s environmental, social and governance performance alongside traditional financial metrics.” Serving the Nordic markets As DFIN continues to expand rapidly in the Nordics, new Nordic specific features are being added to its virtual data room, resulting in a strong suite of tools. “We have integrated AI contract analytics into the new features, which allows for a deeper dive into due diligence. We provide automated privacy scans for clients to quickly identify and anonymize personal identifiable information, as well as a new ActiveDisclosure tool that takes out the complexities of regulatory reporting. We are basically the only one in the market with a full suite of tools. We’re definitely excited about the times ahead.”
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DEADLINE FOR THE EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME APPROACHING:
“This is the time to apply” says Swedish Ambassador Just over 70,000 applications from Swedish citizens have been registered in the EU Settlement Scheme, giving EU citizens the right to live and work in the UK after the British exit from the EU. With the deadline to apply fast approaching, the Embassy of Sweden is urging everyone to spread the word through their networks, families, and friends to make sure everyone has applied by 30 June 2021. “If you are a Swede or an EU citizen, and you do not have a British citizenship, you have to apply. It is about the right to remain in the UK with all your rights secured,” says Torbjörn Sohlström, Swedish Ambassador to the UK. As part of the withdrawal agreement, the EU and the UK have agreed on a scheme that allows EU citizens that have been living in the UK before 1 January 2021, to keep their rights after the UK left the EU. To do so, EU citizens must apply for the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021. With more than 70,000 applications from Swedish citizens registered, it is still uncertain if everyone that is affected has applied. “We have always estimated that there are around 100,000 Swedish citizens in the UK, but we don’t know how many of those also have a British citizenship, and thus will be exempt from the need for applying for settled status,” Torbjörn explains and adds that people in some cases may have applied twice, for example to update the status from pre-settled to settled. Securing your rights as an EU citizen To secure your rights, it is essential to apply before the deadline. And according to Torbjörn,
it is a good deal, as you can keep your rights as an EU citizen forever. “This is something that the EU secured as part of the UK withdrawal negotiations. It is important to use the possibility now while it is there, because it is going to be a totally different ball game later on.” At the moment it is uncertain what will happen to those who haven’t applied in time. “We hope it will not mean that you will be immediately thrown out of the country, but it can’t be excluded. What is fairly certain is that you will have problems with social services, health care, and other British services where you need to prove your right to access them.” This is the time to apply Even if businesses that employ EU citizens that haven’t applied before the deadline will not be punished, there will be challenges down the road. “Businesses will have problems with their employees if they are in the UK illegally and may have to leave or may have difficulties
in securing their rights. I would encourage all businesses that employ EU citizens to really make sure that they apply for themselves and their whole families,” Torbjörn says and adds: “Remember your old mother on the countryTorbjörn Sohlström, Swedish side who might not think Ambassador to the UK. about it, and don’t forget that you have to apply individually for your children. This is the time to do it.”
EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME Apply for the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 on the UK government website. There you will find a Q&A as well as step-bystep instructions on how to apply: www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
New scholarship partnership with Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn and Lund University Since its foundation in 2010, Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn has actively supported development in the local community through generous grants. Starting in 2021, one of these grants will enable one lucky student studying at master’s level at Lund School of Economics and Management to get a unique opportunity to gain insight into Swedish-British business life by joining the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK for a twelve-month period. The Link met with Katarina Andrén, Director of Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn, to learn more about the foundation. What is Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn? Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn is one of the owners of Sparbanken Skåne. Dividend from its ownership and the return on various other investments gives the opportunity to contribute to various projects within education, culture, sports, children and youth, research and entrepreneurship. We want to invest in a future that is good for us and for future generations. The foundation is now donating a scholarship for a student from the School of Economics and Management at Lund University to join the Swedish Chamber in London. Tell us a bit more. We contribute to various projects within the University of Lund. It is natural for us to provide the opportunity for a student at the School of Economics and Management at Lund University to broaden his/her views and to take part in
the work of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in London. Why is it important to encourage international work experience? The foundation primarily supports activities that by the public are regarded as socially beneficial and developing. Together with the education in itself, both work experience and social engagements throughout the studies are important parts for the future career. Furthermore, experiences from other cultures and environments are very valuable, not least because it gives the individual the opportunity to build an international network.
The first Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn Scholar joins the SCC in June 2021 for 12 months.
Katarina Andrén, Director of Sparbanksstiftelsen Finn.
Elanders: Supplying the whole package Known to many as solely a printing company, SCC member Elanders has in recent years transformed into a supplier of end-to-end supply chain solutions – with printing and packaging services as part of the overall offering. Kevin Rogers, Managing Director at Elanders UK, lets us in on the transformational journey, and how Elanders has helped customers overcome post-Brexit challenges with its expert advice and cross-border warehouse solutions. BY: JONAS EKLUND
Most Swedes will know Elanders as a printing company, but in recent years, the company has transformed its business to put 80% of activities in its supply chain solutions, while 20% of operations is within printing and packaging. “Our offering is an end-to-end supply chain service on a global scale,” Kevin Rogers, Managing Director at Elanders UK explains. “We offer an integrated and customised solution for handling all parts of a customer’s supply chain. This is where we would take complete responsibility for complex and global deliveries that may include items such as purchasing, warehousing storage, configuration of devices, fulfilment, e-commerce activities, and distribution, either locally or globally.” Growing the UK footprint Since Elanders opened its first UK satellite sales office for the printing company it was back in 1985, a lot has happened. “In 1999, Elanders acquired the business that I worked for at the time. The previous year in 1998, we moved the business, which was located in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East, into a purpose-built 85,000 square feet facility,” Kevin recalls. Later in 2013 and 2017, Elanders acquired two specialist packaging companies in Scotland and in Nottingham, England. “In 2019, I gained the responsibility as Managing Director for all activities in the UK, including supply chain.”
Transforming the business During the time of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, digital media was having a breakthrough leading to a negative impact on printing. “Lots of it was going online, and a lot of information was being shared and looked for through electronic devices, which led to a decline in the number of pages produced.” At the same time, Elanders was getting asked by more of its customers to deliver a just-in-time service because they didn’t want to hold any stock in their facilities. “We were becoming a key supplier, because a lot of the print we were producing was a key component of the items being produced, whether it was household electrical goods for companies like Electrolux or Husqvarna, or automotive for companies like Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes and BMW.” This is when the idea of a supply chain led service was born. “We made the step into looking for what is termed as a third-party logistics business to acquire, which would then help us expand into dedicated supply chain services.” Turnover quadrupled Since 2012, Elanders has quadrupled its turnover and expanded into 20 countries, making the business a truly global service provider. Kevin says that there are today good synergies between the two parts of the business. “Elanders’ strategic move was to reduce our dependency on printing and
Kevin Rogers, Managing Director at Elanders UK. Photo: Elanders.
move towards supply chain led services which can also require printing and packaging as part of the overall service. A lot of our supply chain customers, which we weren’t dealing with before for printing and packaging, do have a demand for some level of printing and packaging. Whether it is a miniature brochure that goes in the box with the consumer cosmetics which are shipped out, a piece of packaging, or an instruction manual for the consumer electronics, there are some really good synergies.“
“We were becoming a key supplier, because a lot of the print we were producing was a key component of the items being produced, whether it was in household electronical goods or automative industries” Logistical challenges in the wake of Brexit With the UK’s exit from the European Union, many of Elanders’ customers were faced with logistical challenges. “The biggest challenge that customers had pre-Brexit, was that nobody knew what Brexit was going to look like. Then, when it was announced that we would have a duty and tariff-free arrangement between the UK and the EU, everybody thought that means you can move any goods across the border very easily, or certainly without duty and tariffs. But that only applies if the product’s point of origin is either in the EU or the UK, and a lot of companies are bringing in products, mainly from Asia, to sell across both the EU and UK regions.” Expert advice and practical solutions Having facilities and teams on both sides of the channel, as well as in-house customs knowledge in both the UK and the EU, has enabled Elanders to provide customers with expert advice and
Elanders offers its customers end-to-end supply chain services. Photo: Elanders.
to offer them practical solutions to their supply chain challenges. “For some customers, having goods in the EU and the UK is the right solution. For other customers, a bonded solution might be better, where a product coming in from Asia may go into a bonded warehouse in the Netherlands, Germany or the UK, meaning it doesn’t clear customs. When they receive the orders from their customers in the regions, we can either clear customs into the UK with one set of duty paid, or make a shipment out of the bonded UK warehouse into the EU, which means it’s only one payment of duty or VAT with their respective countries.”
End-to-end supply chain services solving postBrexit challenges To illustrate how Elanders’ services are put into work, Kevin explains how a major sports brand is trusting Elanders with all of its European distribution from its e-commerce platform. “We have a huge warehouse in Germany, and anything that you order from the brand, whether it’s shoes, clothing, accessories – it all comes out of our warehouse. We are fully integrated with the customer’s e-commerce platform and back-end systems, and they can see all the orders in real time and status.”
Elanders also manages the returns, which is a huge operation since customers, especially in fashion and lifestyle, often order more products than they want and ship back up to 50% of what they have ordered. This has proved to be a real challenge given Brexit. “We have a returns hub in the UK where we consolidate all of the returns and ship them back in bulk rather than doing it one by one. We do all the inspection and the grading, and when we say everything is cleared for a refund, the brand can process it very quickly. Their challenge with the returns post-Brexit has been when the returns are taking one or two weeks to get back, they can’t process the refund, resulting in a bad experience for their customers.” Only partway through the journey Going forward, Elanders will continue to develop its value-adding supply chain services, especially for companies that require European and global services. In last year, Elanders also saw a major surge in e-commerce. “Our e-commerce services will continue to grow, and we also have plans to grow the UK, Asia and America’s business. This will be a mix of organic growth as well as acquisition. It’s just exciting times with lots of opportunities and developments. I think we’re only partway through that journey.”
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The UK is still a key market for Swedish businesses, new survey confirms Despite challenges at borders and additional paperwork involved when importing and exporting goods, Swedish businesses with a UK footprint are optimistic about their post-Brexit future, shows a new report from the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK. “Businesses are agile and see new local opportunities on the UK market. Almost 40% of businesses are optimistic about business growth and over 70% continue to see the UK as an important step in their international expansion strategy,” says Peter Sandberg, Managing Director at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK. BY: JONAS EKLUND
After years of negotiations and preparations, a trade agreement governing the post-Brexit relationship between the EU and the UK was finally concluded, and the UK left the EU and the single market on 1 January 2021. To get a better understanding of how Swedish businesses in the UK have been affected by the exit and the new trade deal, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK asked its member businesses about their experiences so far and their future outlook for doing business in the UK. Many have been affected by the trade deal 72.5% of Swedish businesses claim to have been directly affected by Britain’s exit from the EU in some way. Only 15% say that they have not been affected at all. 12.5% are unsure how their businesses are affected. “This result bears witness to the challenges we knew were coming, especially for Swedish businesses dependant on goods crossing the borders,” Peter says.
HAVE EXPERIENCED DELAYS AND PROBLEMS WITH IMPORTS/EXPORTS IN THE FIRST MONTH OF THE NEW TRADING RELATIONSHIP
Varying degree of preparation 30% of the Swedish businesses say that they were well prepared for the changes taking place on 1 January 2021. 47.5% had prepared for some degree, while 22.5% say they were not very prepared or not prepared at all. “We know that many small businesses have had a hard time preparing for something that we didn’t have any blueprint to for a long time, and still don’t have all the details in place. Larger businesses with more resources have been able to do scenario planning and experienced 1 January as a different hurdle than others.” Both positive and negative effects for business Almost half of the businesses, 47.5%, have a nuanced view when asked how they believe Britain’s exit from the EU will affect their business, saying they expect both negative and positive outcomes for as a result. 15% believe the exit will not affect their business
SAY THAT THEY ARE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT BUSINESS GROWTH IN 2021-2022
at all whilst 37.5% believe Brexit to affect their overall business negatively.
“Businesses are agile and see new local opportunities on the UK market.” When asked to rate the outcome of the trade deal, only 2.5% believe it will be positive for their business. 15% believe it will have no effect at all, while 45% rate the outcome as a mixture of positive and negative for their business. 37.5% rates the outcome of the deal as negative for their businesses.
Import and export are noticeable challenges Two thirds of businesses, or 67.5%, say that they have experienced delays and problems with imports/exports in the first month of the new trading relationship. 32.5% have experienced no issues at all. “Our businesses witness of slow deliveries, additional paperwork and cost, and are describing a confusing situation where no one appears to know what to do,” Peter explains.
most challenges are now internal, for example concerning legal agreements with brokers having to act on their behalf. A small business owner says that they cannot afford to hire an agent doing their paperwork. “These are uncharted territories for us all, and as one of the businesses expressed it, we are learning by doing. Only a couple of months into the new deal, this of course takes its toll on many of our member businesses that now have to show a lot of resilience until we have passed the initial hurdles,” Peter says.
“We were expecting friction at the border, but equally expect it to improve with time.”
New local opportunities While many businesses have experienced immediate negative effects, almost one in five respondents have seen new opportunities arise with Britain’s exit from the EU. Some businesses say it opens up further opportunities on the UK market and that it is an opportunity to localise their businesses and put “more focus on local suppliers for local needs,” as one business describes it. “This shows that businesses are willing to adapt to the new situation and will find new ways to do business and thrive.”
One of the businesses state that the “new customs clearance procedures and administration cause confusion in all steps of the process.” Another business that has had its shipment delayed for two weeks say that “the unpreparedness stems from the fact the deal was last minute and not even UPS/DHL knew what paperwork would be required or indeed what charges and who paid for them.” “While the frustration is apparent, some businesses have chosen airfreight as an alternative route to the shipments, another business says that it is indeed getting better, as some of their couriers have been learning by doing, and taken the time to ensure the correct paperwork is completed. We were expecting friction at the border, but equally expect it to improve with time,” Peter says. Barriers for business While logistics issues, longer delivery lead times and overly complex bureaucracy are seen as some of the major barriers for businesses right now, one business claims that
“These are uncharted territories for us all, and as one of the businesses expressed it, we are learning by doing.” Optimistic about the future Despite all, many Swedish businesses in the UK are optimistic about the future. 38% say that they are optimistic about business growth in 2021-2022, while 25% expect no changes to the business. “We are happy to
see that many businesses are expecting to grow, or expect no negative growth changes to their business despite the challenges. Still, it is worrying that 37.5% say that they are less optimistic about their growth.” Will be hiring – but most likely not Swedes Almost half of the respondents, 47.5%, expect to be hiring UK employees in 20212022, while 30% are unsure if they will. At the same time, a majority of the businesses, 52.5%, say that they are not anticipating bringing Swedish employees to the UK in the same period. “We knew early that Brexit would lead to new UK immigration policies. These are making it more complicated and costly for businesses to hire Swedes or Europeans to the UK, and the results show that businesses are aware of the new reality,” says Peter. UK market still important to an international expansion The vast majority of the Swedish businesses say that Brexit has not affected their international expansion plans. Almost three quarters (72.5%) say that their strategy remains unchanged, and that the trade deal has not made the UK appear either more or less significant to the company’s international expansion strategy. 17.5% claim that the UK market has lost significance to their expansion strategy due to the new trade deal, while the rest of the businesses have no opinion in the matter. “The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world, and is a leading financial centre and Europe’s global hub. Many Swedish businesses see an expansion to the UK as a gateway to the rest of the word, and the results show that this will not be changing anytime soon.”
CONTINUE SEEING THE UK AS AN IMPORTANT STEP IN THEIR INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION STRATEGY
M RA M
The City Mentorship Programme 2021 Now open for applications The City Mentorship Programme offers a unique opportunity for young professionals to benefit from an exclusive twelvemonths programme of group workshops and individual mentoring by experienced and successful senior industry professionals from across the Swedish-British financial services community. From banking to private equity and asset management, it gives you unique insight into the City of London at a time when the UK leaves the European Union.
Connecting young talents with experienced business professionals
The programme will provide you with tools to:
The programme includes a series of four joint group workshops and seminars, facilitated by the course director involving both mentors and mentees. In addition, mentors and mentees meet for one-to-one mentoring sessions over the course of the year, whether it’s face to face or virtual. This is a mentorship programme dedicated to young finance professionals in Sweden and the United Kingdom. The programme will offer one-on-one mentorship from senior London-based professionals, and group mentorship on career development.
9 Accelerate your personal and professional development in the financial services industry 9 Gain unique insight into the City, the financial centre and its business culture 9 Advance towards your existing career goals and aspirations 9 Identify new areas of professional interest and/or career paths 9 Develop new business skills, knowledge and tools 9 Develop your personal brand 9 Grow your professional network
Mentors in the 2021 programme include
Alexandre Hökfelt Director EQT Credit, EQT
Georgina Silvester Chief Operating Officer, Handelsbanken
Jonas Agesand Partner, Warburg Pincus
Learn more and apply at scc.org.uk
Marika Svärdström Head of Venture Capital Investing, Legal & General Capital
Ola Nordbye Venture & Growth Investments, Kinnevik
Sophia Ahrel Ahrel & Co
Keeping traditional craftmanship alive Since 1980, Hirsh London has been making handcrafted luxury jewellery in the heart of London. In this feature, we talk to half-Swedish Sophia Hirsh, who today runs the family company along with her husband Jason-Paul Hirsh, about their vision, where they find inspiration for their pieces, and how the pandemic inspired them to start their own taxi service. BY: TOBIAS ALMQVIST
Passion for gems runs in the family Sophia Hirsh has always been drawn to gemstones and minerals, a passion that runs in the family. Both her father and grandfather were gemmologists. Having grown up in Sweden and Switzerland, her interest in fashion and design took her to London in 2000, where she worked for luxury brands such as Burberry and Hermès. However, the desire to combine her love of gems and design with the ability to create timeless pieces, that will forever be part of someone’s life, eventually made her go into the jewellery making business. After marrying Jason in 2008, she decided to join the Hirsh family business. “As I had a background in management and organisation, managing our family business seemed like the perfect fit for me and it is a role I truly enjoy. It also allows my husband to focus more on the gem buying and creative side of the business which he loves most,” Sophia says. Timelessness over trends Hirsh was founded in London in 1980 and remains an independent, family-owned business that specialises in creating handmade unique pieces of jewellery and luxury goods. “We are proud to offer the widest range of one-of-a-kind jewels in a variety of natural colour gemstones and diamonds in the UK,” Sophia explains. Common to all Hirsh creations is the commitment to the finest craftsmanship and the aim to create timeless pieces of beauty. Trends are thus not part of Hirsh’s inspiration or design process as they feel that a beautifully made, carefully crafted piece should stand the test of time and not just a season. “We always seem to get ideas when out and about. It might be architectural details, from a trip back to Sweden or further afield to Japan. With the standstill of this last year, a lot of our
During the pandemic, Hirsh has been delivering its jewellery to customers by an especially designed taxi. Photo: Hirsh.
Hirsh specialises in creating handmade unique pieces of jewellery and luxury goods. Photo: Hirsh.
inspiration seems to be linked to nature and the English countryside,” Sophia says. Hirsh’s vision is to be the leading destination for rare and unique gemstone and diamond jewellery handmade in the UK using traditional craftsmanship skills. “Our customers choose Hirsh jewellery because of the individuality, quality and fine craftsmanship of our pieces. To them, our jewellery symbolises celebration, commemoration and love,” Sophia says. The jewellery is handmade right on the premises and is made using repurposed gold, which makes the pieces more sustainable than massproduced jewellery. “Jason and I are personally involved in every step of the process. We source all of our gems ourselves and Jason even travels to gem mines once a year to make sure we are using gems from places that ethically look after their miners and the environment.” Safe deliveries in pandemic times The willingness to look after the miners applies also to their customers, which became evident early into the Covid-pandemic. “We knew many customers had special anniversaries and birthdays coming up, a few customers that wanted to propose and some that were
just in need of something joyful to treat themselves with. As we were not able to welcome them into our boutique, we wanted to find a special way of bringing our personal service to them. We, therefore, acquired a taxi and hired a driver to safely and complimentarily deliver to our customers. It’s been a joy for us to be able to turn up outside someone’s home on their birthday with jewels in tow and put a smile on their face during such a difficult year.”
“With the standstill of this last year, a lot of our inspiration seems to be linked to nature and the English countryside.” Born out of a wish to stay connected with their customers during the lockdown, the Taxi became a success and allowed Hirsh to safely pick up and drop off customers also when the lockdown was lifted. Hirsh has once again started to take bookings from customers wishing to visit their Mayfair townhouse from 12 April onwards.
MEET & PITCH: EDTECH 16-17 February In collaboration with the Department for International Trade (DIT), and in partnership with Swedish Edtech Industry, Swedish Edtest, and NetPort Science Park, the SCC hosted a two-day edtech programme for the most prominent Swedish edtech businesses. At the event, edtech startups had the opportunity to connect with investors and important stakeholders within the educational sector, and some of the brightest edtech businesses around. Björn Axelsson (Department for International Trade), David Guerin (Brighteye Ventures), Charles Madon (LEGO Ventures) and Mario Barosevcic (Emerge Education).
Alison-Clark Wilson (UCL Knowledge Lab), Jacob Waern (EduMe), Anna Kraft (Lexplore), Phillippa De’Ath (Arbor Education Partners) and Hugo Wernhoff (Kognity).
Björn Axelsson (Department for International Trade) and Anna Crona (SCC).
EMERGING STRONGER VOL.3 23 February At the third edition in the SCC’s “Emerging stronger” series, Andrew Bowie, MP and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, and Chair of the British-Swedish All-Party Parliamentary Group, Charlotte Erkhammar, CEO at Kreab Worldwide and James Sproule, Chief Economist at Handelsbanken plc, discussed the relationship between the UK and the EU in the aftermath of a hard pandemic-hit and Brexit infused recession. Sponsored by Handelsbanken plc. Nik Gowing (Thinking the Unthinkable), Andrew Bowie, James Sproule (Handelsbanken plc) and Charlotte Erkhammar (Kreab Worldwide).
Virtual Roundtable on the new relationship 30 March On 30 March, the SCC hosted a Virtual Roundtable discussion featuring Russell Antram, Head of EU Negotiations at the Confederation of British Industry, as guest speaker, on the new trading relationship post-Brexit, the next round of negotiations, and the future competitiveness of the UK. We were also joined by H.E. Mr Torbjörn Sohlström, Swedish Ambassador to the UK and Mikael Milhøj, Chief Analyst at Danske Bank who shared insight from their respective perspectives. Sponsored by Danske Bank. Participants at the Virtual Roundtable featuring Russell Antram, Head of EU Negotiations at the Confederation of British Industry.
NORDIC M&A FORUM 4 MARCH 200+ delegates joined the discussions at the Nordic M&A Forum 2021 on 4 March to look at the year ahead for Nordic cross-border M&A and financing. The discussions involved an outlook to the future and the scale of opportunities in the Nordics, how disruptive technologies act as a driver for M&A and how we are connecting with the City – beyond Brexit. Sponsored by Linklaters, Admincontrol, DealCloud, DFIN, Globalization Partners, Inex One and Lincoln International. John Glen.
Gabriel Mellqvist (Dagens industri), Fredrik Bolander (Lincoln International), Gun Nilsson (Melker Schörling AB), Jan Olsson (Deutsche Bank) and Niclas Rosenlew (SKF Group).
Elisabet Lundgren (Linklaters), Susanna Campbell (Kinnevik) and Ola Nordquist (Permira).
Barbara Mangan (Globalization Partners), Miles Celic (TheCityUK) and Sir Roger Gifford (SEB).
Martin Rames (DealCloud), David Hess (Altor), Peter Wikström (A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S) and Eirik Winter (BNP Paribas).
Raj Shah (Nordic Capital).
Jesper Hjälm (Bloomberg LP).
Upcoming events The SCC is offering a mix of virtual roundtables, forums and summits. We hope to open for hybrid or in-person events as soon as able to. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the SCC. See all upcoming events at scc.org.uk/events
Accessing the UK market post-Brexit: the new UKCA/UKNI markings
21 April | Virtual Join us for a Council of Foreign Chambers of Commerce in the UK virtual event with the British Standards Institution, on turning standards into habits of excellence, the importance of international standards, and the new UKCA and UKNI markings for accessing the UK and Northern Ireland markets.
Games Industry Exchange
27-28 April | Virtual Games Industry Exchange brings together the powerful and world leading Swedish and British game industries. Through unique meetings, keynotes, panels and interviews, participants will learn about SWE – UK gaming opportunities, how game studios have expanded and built successful partnerships. We are welcoming both British investors, publishers and smallmedium sized game studios interested in partnering up with their Swedish counterparts; developers, publishers and small-medium sized game studios who in turn are interested in matchmaking with stakeholders in the UK. Ten of the most innovative participating companies will have the chance to pitch (and potentially win), and receive feedback from investors and industry experts. Games Industry Exchange is a partnership between Invest in Skåne, Region Skåne, Project Southern Sweden International, and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK. Southern Sweden International is run by Invest in Skåne together with Region Blekinge and Almi Blekinge. The project is part-financed by the European Union Regional Development Fund and Region Skåne.
Virtual Roundtable feat. Alex Budden, Vice President Corporate Affairs, Lundin Energy
5 May | Virtual Welcome to this Virtual Roundtable discussion featuring Alex Budden, VP Corporate Affairs at Lundin Energy, on how the world is moving towards a lower-carbon energy future, and one where he believes oil companies must be part of the solution. The world is moving towards a lower carbon energy future, and International Energy Agency scenarios suggest hydrocarbons will still be an essential component of secure, reliable and affordable energy supplies. But emissions need to be halved over the same period in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Alex will raise how oil companies must be part of the solution in providing this much needed energy with a lower carbon footprint, as he discusses Lundin Energy’s role in this including why they are advocating for high carbon taxes to help change industry practise and consumer demands.
Virtual Roundtable feat. Sara Tate, Chief Executive Officer, TBWA Young Professionals: Evening Talk with Ranj Virtual Roundtable feat. Begley, Readly UK Katrine Marçal, Author and Journalist 21 April | Virtual Welcome to an Evening Talk with Ranj Begley, Managing Director at Readly UK, on the journey from a start-up to being listed on NASDAQ, and which lessons along the way have made the biggest marks. Ranj Begley is the Managing Director of Readly UK, the groundbreaking, all-you-can-read digital magazine service, and Chief Content Officer for the whole of the international Readly operation which has a consumer footprint across 50 territories worldwide.
28 April | Virtual
Welcome to this Virtual Roundtable discussion featuring Katrine Marçal, author and journalist at Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, on how ingrained ideas about gender hold society back from developing, and how opening up for diversity can alter the future for good. Katrine is a political and feminist journalist and author known for her work with publications like Dagens Arena and Aftonbladet. She also published the book Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? discussing the connection between patriarchy and economics in 2012, and has now published her new book Mother of Invention: How Good Ideas Get Ignored in an Economy Built for Men.
11 May | Virtual Welcome to this Virtual Roundtable discussion featuring Sara Tate, Chief Executive Officer at TBWA, on the shifting marketing trends in recent months and how innovative communication can make businesses thrive in the mist of a crisis. Sara joined TBWA as CEO in October 2017, as part of a new management line up. Under her tenure, the agency has acquired new clients such as adidas, Pladis and AMD and won IPA Gold and Grand Effie Effectiveness Awards. In 2018 TBWA was also voted Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year.
SCC MEMBER SURVEY:
Increase in satisfaction and relevance despite 2020 challenges A higher rated value of membership, an increase in satisfaction and relevance of the events offering, and an excellent Net Promoter Score are some of the take-aways from the Chamber’s yearly member survey. “Despite the challenges we were all presented with in 2020, we are very happy to see that resilience, agility and hard work has paid off”, says Sofia Larsen, Senior Manager Membership and Community at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK. To get a better understanding of what members value and think of the services offered, the Chamber carries out a yearly member survey. The results are used to continuously improve the offering and relevance to the membership. “This is an opportunity for members to let us know what they think about the Chamber’s services, what we do well – and what we can do better,” Sofia says. More members rate overall value of membership as “very high” According to the survey, members continue to rate the overall value of the membership highly. 86% of respondents say that the overall value of the membership is either high, or very high. Compared to 2019, the share of respondents finding the membership to be Valuable or Very Valuable has increased from 80% to 86%. “Also notable is that we see a move in ‘very valuable’ from 12% in 2018, to 27% in 2019 and 41% in 2020. We will continue to develop our services to be even more relevant to the members,” Sofia says. Supporting the community an even stronger reason for membership The top three main reasons for membership continue to be events/networking, supporting the community and introductions. “Supporting the community has moved up from third to second place in 2020, which is a testament of the importance of coming together in challenging times. We are a strong community, and we want to help each other in any way we can, which was evident as we were struck by the
pandemic in early 2020,” Sofia says and points out that using the Business Services offering is also in steady growth as a main reason for membership. “We have continued to develop the Business Services offering and I believe that more members are now aware of the range of services we provide, both to member and non-member businesses.” Continued high satisfaction with events The share of respondents rating the events offering as overall “good” or “very good” was 95%, while the share of respondents rating events as “very good” increased from 54% in 2019 to 65%. “When the pandemic rolled over the world, we all had to find ways to adapt to the new situation we found ourselves in. For the Chamber, it was a matter of quickly steering the offering of physical events to virtual ones, which we did in late-March 2020. Since then, we have hosted 70+ virtual roundtables, various forums and the Swedish-British Summit with more than 300 delegates joining remotely. We are very happy to see that the hard work has paid off, and we will continue to develop a relevant and high-quality events offering – no matter format,” Sofia says. Understandably, members are looking forward to networking events and in-person meetings according to the results. “As soon as restrictions are lifted and regulations permit, we will be phasing in physical events, and indeed plenty of networking opportunities, such as the popular Link Up Drinks.”
More sustainability, digitalisation and leadership on the agenda 99% of respondents rate the communication as “good” or “very good”, which is the same result as previous year. “The website, newsletters - especially the bi-weekly Chamber Business Brief - as well as the Link magazine continue to be appreciated channels,” Sofia says and notes that members suggest the Chamber to cover topics such as sustainability, digitalisation, leadership as well as Brexit impact and practical advice. “Going forward, there will be even more content in our channels and events covering these aspects. On the event side, we will be introducing the new Impact 2021 summit on 23 September, where we will be discussing green recovery and societal acceleration in fighting climate change, and together reaching the United Nations sustainable development goals.” Net Promoter Score: still excellent The members scored the Chamber 58.54 on the Net Promoter Score scale, revealing the likelihood of respondents recommending the Chamber membership to someone in their network. “This is a slight decrease from last year’s score of 61.18, but still qualifies as ‘excellent’ on the NPS scale. For the members to recommend the Chamber to this degree, is one of the best indicators that the services provided bring value and are relevant to the SwedishBritish business community,” Sofia says.
RESULTS IN BRIEF
NET PROMOTER SCORE
86% of members rate the overall value of the membership as either very high or high.
95% of members find the event offering very good or good.
99% of members find the SCC communications very good or good.
The Net Promoter Score measures the likelihood of respondents recommending the membership to someone in ther network.
IN OTHER NEWS
News from the SCC community
than 70 hectares (175 acres) of contaminated soil and deserted docklands but built as a model community, and a GSF (Green Space Factor) aimed to be the world’s first carbonneutral neighbourhood, powered by wind and heated by an underground geothermal hotspot.
Swedish Central Bank Reveals First Study of Digital Currency The world’s oldest central bank, the Swedish Riksbank, pioneers digital currency and recently published the results of the first phase of a pilot project into what is essentially the most advanced exploration of a post-cash era to be undertaken by a major, western economy. The reason for pursuing a digital currency controlled by a central bank is the potential problems caused by the rapid pace at which cash is disappearing. The deadline for the e-krona keeps getting pushed back, with the current pilot project set to end early next year, with additional room for an extension until the end of 2026. “In most economies, it will take time. And especially if lawmakers need to weigh in,” Johanna Jeansson of Bloomberg Economics.
Photo: Volvo Cars
Family Bond by Volvo Cars SCC patron Volvo Cars offers all new parents with one year’s active permanent service 24 weeks of parental leave, paid at 80 per cent of their base pay. The policy is for everyone and spans across position and border, whether you’re a designer or a plant operator, whether you work in China or the USA. There are no limitations on gender, age or marital status, and the time can be taken within the first three years of parenthood. The policy is set to support balancing the demands of work and family to close gender gaps and allow all parents to excel in their careers. “We want to create a culture and environment that supports equal parenting roles for all genders. We are demonstrating and living our values, which in turn will strengthen our brand.”, Håkan Samuelsson, Chief Executive of Volvo Cars.
Can Malmö’s green points system help rewild London? The transformation of a Swedish shipyard, Malmö’s Bo01, into a leafy haven inspired the UK capital’s ‘urban greening factor’ plan. London will become the largest city in the world to introduce a green space system in the coming weeks as part of mayor Sadiq Khan’s London Plan, signed off by the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, at the end of January. Called the Urban Greening Factor (UGF), inspired by the living area in Malmö, the plan calls for boroughs to implement urban greening practices, with a handful, including Hackney and the City, already one step ahead. At the turn of the millennium, the entire Western Harbour in Malmö was little more
Essity launches menstrual cup in the Nordics under its Libresse brand SCC patron and hygiene and health company Essity is expanding its range toward more sustainable products through the launch of
Libresse V-Cup, a reusable menstrual cup, in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Libresse V-Cup compliments the brand’s assortment providing an opportunity for women to choose the product that best suits them. The menstrual cup has previously been launched in Latin America. “We are proud to launch Libresse V-Cup in the Nordic region, a market where a growing number of consumers are looking for this type of solution. The menstrual cup is the second sustainable and re-usable solution within Essity’s Feminine Care assortment after launching absorbent and washable underwear earlier this year. As a leading global hygiene and health company, it is important for us to have this type of product in our range, providing consumers with greater freedom to choose the product that best suits their lifestyle,” says Astrid Schenk-Almagro, Global Brand Director Feminine Care, Essity.
Kinnarps presents a study on the pandemic’s impact on physical learning spaces With the covid-19 pandemic, the school as a building and teaching methods have faced entirely new challenges. Learning environments need to be quickly transformed to reduce the spread of infection and, in some places, to switch partially or completely to remote teaching. Creative and innovative solutions have created more successful ways to offer students the best chance to learn, but it has also been challenging for many to adjust. Of the 200 principals in Sweden who participated in SCC patron Kinnarp’s study, half state that they have created space between seats in the classrooms, and 66% have changed the canteen’s furniture. But far from everyone has had the opportunity to make the required changes; among the answers about what is missing, a more flexible interior design tops the wishlist. The importance of the physical environment has been put to the fore, and now more than ever, it is important to consider schools’ future design.
Nordea introduces guaranteed lending solutions to SMEs together with the European Investment Fund
Scania Truck Rental celebrates a quarter of a century of sustained growth and success
SCC patron Nordea introduces a new range of guaranteed lending solutions to SMEs in Finland, Sweden and Denmark together with the European Investment Fund under its new guarantee programme, the European Guarantee Fund (EGF). An agreement signed by Nordea and the European Investment Fund will provide Nordea with EUR 700 million in guarantee capacity for 2021. The guarantee programme enables Nordea to offer EUR 1 billion of new financing to its customers on more favourable terms. “At Nordea Business Banking, we want to contribute actively to initiatives supporting SMEs that are driving economic recovery and fuelling growth. This is yet another tool for us to support our customers. We are proud to have been approved by the European Investment Fund to take part in the implementation of this European initiative and generate further financial support to relevant SMEs in Finland, Denmark and Sweden,” says Nina Arkilahti, Head of Business Banking.
Scania Truck Rental, the SCC patron Scania UK owned nationwide short- and long-term truck rental service, celebrates its Silver Jubilee this year. Scania began rental operations in the UK in March 1996 with a 200-strong fleet of 3-series trucks and four dealer network-based rental offices. Since then, the fleet has grown almost nine-fold to its current complement of 1,780 mostly New Generation Scania units, and the number of rental points has more than doubled to nine. The sustained growth and success of Scania Truck Rental have led to the model being adopted by numerous other Scania markets worldwide. “Scania Truck Rental has developed immensely over the years and today forms a key part of our business offer,” Martin Hay, Managing Director of Scania (Great Britain) Limited.
H&M, IKEA and Stora Enso join forces to develop sustainable textile fibre SCC patrons H&M and IKEA, and SCC member Stora Enso have joined forces to build a demonstration plant in Sweden for the production of a new wood-based textile fibre. The announcement comes after years of research to find a more sustainable alternative to cotton, traditional viscose and polyester. The owners have invested $42.6 million in the TreeToTextile venture and its plant, which will have a production capacity of 1,500 tonnes.
King releases a new game in collaboration with Activision Blizzard SCC patron and mobile game giant King, recently announced the launch of the new game “Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!”, available to download on iOS and Android devices. The game is a collaboration with games developer Activision Blizzard and is based on its popular franchise with a running marsupial in the focal point. “It’s been a labor of love for King to bring everybody’s favorite marsupial to mobile in a way that is unique and fresh, while honoring more than 25 years of rich history with the beloved character. We wanted to make this the Crashiest Crash game ever,” said Stephen Jarrett, Vice President of Game Design at King in a statement.
IN OTHER NEWS
IKEA UK describes challenges and way forward in its 2020 Annual Report Releasing its 2020 Annual Report, SCC patron IKEA describes the most challenging year in living memory for the UK and for IKEA as a retail business. The report covers IKEA’s retail transformation and business performance, the impact of the pandemic on operations and the support for vulnerable communities, as well as its approach to becoming a fully circular business and climate positive by 2030. With its financial stability and backing from the global parent company Ingka Group, IKEA contributed £1.3m to those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK and Ireland, with over 67,500 people supported through its community efforts and charity partnerships.
Handelsbanken to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 SCC patron Handelsbanken has set the goal to achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases as soon as possible - and by 2040 the latest. The goal takes into account lending, leases and investments, as well as the emissions generated by Handelsbanken itself from for example energy consumption and business travel. “We are setting ambitious goals for ourselves, as we aim to further accelerate our sustainability work. The demands are increasing on all fronts when it comes to sustainability, from investors, employees, supervisory authorities, and – not the least – our customers,” said Catharina Belfrage Sahlstrand, Head of Sustainability at Handelsbanken, in a statement.
IN OTHER NEWS
News from the SCC community
London ranked 4th for tech VC investments globally Tech Nation’s 2021 Report reveals
Photo: UK government
New trade and investment hubs across the UK announced by the government
Secretary of State for International Trade Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss, recently announced the launch of four major new trade and investment hubs that will be established in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the North-East of England to boost trade and investment and bring the benefits of the government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK. The launch of the trade hubs marks the start of a major export drive, which will see DIT focused on promoting British exports from all parts of the UK.
Spotify introduces new “Work from anywhere” model for its employees
SCC patron Spotify recently announced its new “Work from Anywhere” model, allowing employees to choose whether they want to be in the office or at home full time, or a combination of the two - even after the pandemic. Spotify describes it as a way for its employees to “work from wherever they do their best thinking and creating”. The company will also be redesigning many of its offices to accommodate employees’ preferences for quiet spaces, shared-desk spaces and lounging areas.
In memoriam Per Nordangård, 1946-2021 Per Nordangård, Båstad, Sweden, passed away at the end of January. Per and his wife, Ulla O’Barius, Director of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce 1999-2004, spent the years 1993-2012 living in London where Per was the foreign correspondent of Göteborgs-Posten (GP), one of Sweden’s largest daily newspapers. He worked for GP for more than 30 years and was its editor-in-chief 1989-93. During his time in London Per also wrote regular humorous and insightful articles for GP on life in the UK. These were later collated into highly praised books, much enjoyed by his readers everywhere, especially, perhaps, by his ex-pat friends who recognised the trials and tribulations he so enjoyed writing about. Per was also very much involved in the life of the Swedish Church in London and was for some years Chairman of the Church Council. Per and Ulla bought a house in Båstad in southern Sweden for their retirement. There Per became much involved in the local Film Club and Ulla in the Chamber Music Society. Per exuded friendship, warmth and generosity. One example: Before they moved to Båstad permanently in 2012 Per lent me their lovely house for a couple of weeks in the summer. As a former Stockholm inhabitant, I was unsure of where exactly Båstad was, so Per and Ulla thought I should go there and find out! We are many who will miss Per Nordangård, his friendship and warmth very, very much. Elisabet Baldwin General Manager, Swedish Chamber of Commerce, 1981-2006
Tech Nation has released its yearly report envisioning the future of UK tech. At $10.6bn, London ranks 4th for tech VC investment globally, only beaten by San Francisco, Beijing and New York. Hitting a record high of $15bn in 2020, the UK takes the third place on a national level, following China on second and the US on first place. Also, London continues to be an IPO hotspot for bringing the most promising new ventures to life, the report reveals.
FEI launches new courses and a new hybrid format SCC member FEI, Företagsekonomiska Institutet, is launching a new course, Managing and Leading SMEs, as part of its BA in International Business Management. From September, a plethora of business courses will begin, many of which can be taken through FEIFLEX, a new hybrid solution where participants can choose to partake in tuition both virtually and physically.
Quinyx launches online show sharing leadership insights SCC patron Quinyx launches its WFM show an online series of webinars featuring inspiring and thought-provoking speakers in each episode. In the next episode on 28 April, Jim Donald former CEO of Starbucks, Extended Stay America, and Albertsons will share key leadership components from his personal playbook that led him to legendary success.
IN OTHER NEWS
Trustly reports continued strong growth and record profits in 2020
Lund University School of Economics and Management joins the ranks of top business schools worldwide awarded with a “Triple Crown
SCC member Lund University School of Economics and Management (LUSEM) has received its third accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and thereby joins the ranks of top business schools worldwide awarded with a “Triple Crown”. “We are proud to count ourselves among the leading business schools in the world. Our accreditations serve as testimonies of our high-quality work in education, research and external engagement. This in turn is thanks to all the efforts of our students, our faculty and staff, and our partners in society,” says Mats Benner, Dean of LUSEM, in a statement.
Divido among Europe’s 100 fastest-growing companies SCC member and leading whitelabel platform for retail finance Divido Financial Services recently came in 81st place when Financial Times ranked Europe’s 1000 fastest-growing companies. Having reported a 1441.7 per cent compound annual growth, Divido was also among the top-10 fastest growing fintechs on the list, an industry sector which accounted for nearly ten per cent of the businesses in the list. Divido CEO and founder, Christer Holloman commented on the ranking: ‘As we transform retail finance, we have licensed our platform to some of the world’s leading lenders and retailers; disrupting the disruptors to put them ahead in the race for this $1.8 trillion global opportunity.’
2020 was a year of strong growth and record profits for SCC patron Trustly SCC patron Trustly – the leading global payments platform for digital account-to-account transactions. Revenues increased by 44% year over year on a constant currency basis to SEK 564 million. “In 2020, we processed over SEK 190 billion in transaction volume in our global network, up 42 percent from the previous year. Demand for Trustly’s payment solutions continues to grow, supported by the broad shift from offline to online commerce and consumer preferences moving in favor of account-to-account payments,” Oscar Berglund, CEO of Trustly, said in a comment.
Photo: Fast Company
ClimateView recognized as one of the most innovative companies 2021 SCC member ClimateView was recently featured on Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2021, ranking No. 5 in the Energy Category. ClimateView provides tools to help cities around the world achieve their goals to reach net-zero carbon emissions. Rather than spending months analyzing where their emissions come from, cities can use ClimateView’s platform to find out the likely sources and get recommendations policies that can reduce emissions. “We break down the big climate goal into specific, measurable pieces, and then show how each one of those pieces should be implemented,” says founder and CEO Tomer Shalit.
Photo: Agnes Maltesdotter/Visit Sweden
Making a difference, one plate at a time: ´Plant-based by Sweden´ SCC member Visit Sweden continues to inspire future travelling and welcomes visitors to Sweden - when the time is right. Recently, the organisation launched the influencer collaboration “Plant-based by Sweden”, highlighting green-cuisine through examples of plant-based experiences and exciting destinations throughout Sweden. In the series, we are taken on a journey through Sweden to eight locations from north to south, delving into unique dining experiences and meeting people who in different ways are working towards a more sustainable world.
Voi partners with London-based accessibility consultancy In accordance with their mission to make micro-mobility as inclusive and accessible as possible for all, SCC member Voi recently teamed up with ‘Open Inclusion’, a London-based accessibility consultancy. Open Inclusion consists of a panel of more than 500 people, including those who are deaf or have hearing loss; blind or partially sighted; neurodiverse; mobility or dexterity impaired; above or below average height; colour-blind; and/or over the age of 65. With this new partnership, Voi aims to ensure that everyone’s needs are taken into account in the design and development of their products and services.
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Sweden and the United Kingdom Compared The coronavirus pandemic is a health crisis that has turned into an economic crisis due to the rigid lockdown regimes imposed by many countries. As a result, governments and central banks have taken action to limit the negative economic consequences of the lockdown measures. Government debts have skyrocketed, and the money supply has expanded at an unprecedented scale. This raises the question: was this the right policy mix to combat the virus? BY: FREDRIK NG ANDERSSON, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN ECONOMICS, AND LARS JONUNG, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, LUND SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND MANAGEMENT, LUND UNIVERSITY.
The policy response is similar across most countries. Governments have offered economic support to businesses that have been forced to close down. Households have received large transfers from the government. Central banks have intervened in financial markets and purchased both government and private bonds to increase the level of credit, and to keep long- term yields low. The design of the support policy varies from country to country. In the United States, the federal government has sent cheques to households, while in Sweden households benefit from the general welfare system. The question of how to best channel financial help to businesses and households is a country-specific issue. The most interesting question concerns the choice of the appropriate degree of the lockdown. The stronger the lockdown, the larger the negative economic effects and the greater need for financial support from the government. Here the United Kingdom and Sweden are two interesting countries to compare. Sweden has been at the focal point of much of the debate on lockdowns as the government decided to follow a less restrictive lockdown policy in the spring of 2020. The United Kingdom quickly followed other European countries and imposed one of the strictest regimes. The economic costs of the lockdown policy are striking. The UK economy declined by almost 10 percent in 2020, which corresponds to a fall in average per capita income of roughly £3,000. This is the largest drop in economic activity during the past 300 years. Only the great frost of 1709 caused a larger decline. Meanwhile, the UK national debt increased by £300 billion or almost £5,000 per citizen. The Swedish economic losses in 2020 are considerable, but far from those in the United Kingdom. In fact, the loss in output of 3 percent in 2020 (£1,200 per capita) was smaller than in 2009 during the global financial crisis of 2008/2009. The increase in Swedish public debt of £1,500 per capita is again relatively small, actually among the smallest in the EU. By now, Sweden has a public debt level of less than half the UK level in relation to the size of the economy.
Fredrik NG Andersson and Lars Jonung. Photos: Johan Persson.
The criticism against the less restrictive lockdown policy of Sweden is often framed in terms of the number of COVID deaths. Although the number of excess deaths per million in Sweden is the highest among the Nordic countries, the number of deaths is below the level of the United Kingdom, as well as below that of other countries with draconian lockdown policies. Several studies have demonstrated that complete national lockdowns have had a limited impact on the spread of the virus. Imposing some restrictions may be necessary, but very strict lockdowns come with few, if any, health benefits, and major economic losses.
The economic consequences of the policy response to the present pandemic are going to affect the world economy for many years. Countries with the most stringent lockdowns are most likely to suffer the largest future costs, not just economically, but socially and politically as well. Countries that have engaged in a more pragmatic cost-benefit analysis of lockdowns will fare better. Indeed, taking a view from the present with the available data, they appear to have fared better, judging from the comparison between Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The economic losses are not just short-term. Research shows that the economy remains on a lower growth path after the crisis compared to before the crisis. Large public debts raise the cost of servicing the debt, thereby limiting public expenses in other vital areas. Significant economic crises also tend to have long-term political costs, in terms of increased populism and extremism.
ABOUT LUND UNIVERSITY Lund University was founded in 1666 and is ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 8 160 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. The School of Economics and Management is one of nine faculties within the university. Learn more at lunduniversity.lu.se.
NEW PATRONS & MEMBERS The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK is the ultimate business platform for Swedish and UK businesses, representing some 400 companies from across all sectors and industries, and from start-ups, SMEs, unicorns to large corporations. Membership comes with a suite of benefits for you, your colleagues and your business. If you would like to find out how you can maximise your membership, or to enquire about joining, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. But first, a warm welcome to our newest members.
LKAB MINERALS LKAB Minerals is an international industrial minerals group with a leading position in a number of product applications. We develop sustainable mineral solutions in partnership with our customers, supplying natural minerals engineered for functionality and usability. LKAB Minerals is part of the Swedish company LKAB, Europe’s leading mining and minerals group.
ALT/AVE Founded in 2019, ALT/AVE is a London-based RegTech company that uses distributed ledger technology to help financial institutions streamline the digital distribution of regulated documents. Our platform reduces the reliance on paper and mitigates the risk of noncompliance under both EU and UK regulations in the financial services industry.
ECUS As experts in customs management, our strength is to quickly identify and reduce the complexity of our customers’ customs management. In this way we can help create the conditions for cost savings based on the customer’s operations, systems and current products. Our business consists mainly of customs services, customs consulting services, corporate training and other support in customs related matters.
GAME ADVISOR Strategic advisory and market intelligence with a specialisation in gaming and esport to corporate leaders and investors. Providing acquisition advisory, analysis, business modelling, growth strategy. We connect you with the best.
GANT GANT was founded in the college town of New Haven, Connecticut on the East Coast of the United States. We’ve been pioneering preppy style since 1949. With our dedication to color and innovation, GANT changed the direction of modern American style and continue to challenge convention.
HIRSH LONDON Hirsh London is a British luxury house that is known as one of the top destinations for one-of-a-kind fine jewellery featuring rare and unusual gemstones. The brand has also just introduced a range of luxury gifts for the home as well as handmade leather goods. Established in 1980, the family business is today run by couple Sophia and Jason-Paul Hirsh.
LEARNESY Learnesy is a Swedish edtech startup focused on online courses in Excel and data analytics. Their pedagogy is to the point based on short lessons with plenty of hands-on assignments. Learnesy loves to help companies raise their level in Excel, so contact them to take your Excel skills to the next level!
LINCOLN INTERNATIONAL Lincoln International is a trusted investment banking advisors to business owners and senior executives of leading private equity firms and public and privately held companies around the world. Their advisory services include mergers and acquisitions and capital markets advisory for the mid-market. Lincoln International also provides valuations and fairness opinions and joint ventures advisory services. Lincoln International has 600+ professionals across 16 countries including Sweden and the UK.
NORTH STAR LAW North Star Law specialises in non-dom tax, wills and estate planning, property, immigration and litigation work. The firm handle private family and business matters with the utmost discretion and win clients’ trust through the personal approach and precise, technical excellence. The firm work with a broad range of international clients, including multinationals, SMEs, entrepreneurs, as well as an enviable list of private clients.
PINNACLE As a highly successful UK wealth advisory firm, our purpose is to help people redefine wealth on their own terms. Passionate about helping clients achieve their lifelong ambitions, we explore and define what wealth means beyond money; unearthing the meaningful goals that make life full of possibility and offering a path to long-term freedom and peace of mind.
POCKETLAW PocketLaw aims to empower companies to succeed by providing an all-in-one solution for legal. With PocketLaw people can solve their businesses’ day to day legal challenges, without having any legal knowledge. PocketLaw offers automated yet tailored contracts and guidance, smart contract management and access to legal experts. PocketLaw is trusted by hundreds of businesses, including VOI, Hedvig, and Babybjörn.
SJOSTRAND Sjöstrand is a Stockholm based company that manufactures and sells a sustainable coffee concept under its own brand. The company is offering the world’s first climate positive coffee capsules and the Sjöstrand espresso capsule machine in Swedish design which has become a design icon among coffee and design lovers.
TRELLEBORG Trelleborg Applied Technologies is a centre of excellence for the manufacture of polyurethane, delivering innovative and reliable solutions that maximize performance for their customers. Trelleborg’s vast range of specialized, customizable materials ensure peace of mind at every stage of your project. We provide superior engineered material solutions for the most challenging applications from space to seafloor and everywhere in-between.
ANDERS ENGSTRAND COUNTRY HEAD OF SEB UK With a long-term approach and a corporate culture that has proven to be a good fit with the UK’s corporate and institutional world, SCC patron SEB is in a good position to continue increasing its presence in the UK market. The Link met with SEB’s newly appointed Country Head, Anders Engstrand, to discuss the bank’s journey ahead, its place in the UK’s financial landscape, and how he is adjusting to his new life in London. BY: JONAS EKLUND
Before joining SEB some 25 years ago as an Analyst within the Investment Banking area, Anders was working in consulting and spent the first five years of his career travelling through Europe. After holding various positions within SEB, most recently as Global Head of Debt Capital Markets, he was offered the position as Country Head of SEB UK. “I’m excited about the opportunity and it is an interesting time to come to the UK right now for many reasons. SEB has a long-standing presence in the UK and we are optimistic about the future,” Anders says.
tennis as a favourite outdoor sports activity, he is keen to get out on the court. “I’m very much looking forward to playing tennis when we start to see some easing of lockdown.”
Moving to London Anders moved to London in August last year together with his wife. Coming to the UK amidst the pandemic was an “experience”, as Anders puts it, but stresses that although being subject to all the lockdown restrictions, they are enjoying being in London. And with
The efforts to build and nurture relationships have not been put on hold because of the pandemic. Over the past year, Anders has been meeting a lot of clients, albeit in a virtual setting. “When circumstances allow, I’m very much looking forward to having face-to-face meetings with clients and other
Long-standing presence Established in the UK in the 1960’s, SEB has a strong client base. The bank predominantly serves large corporates, financial institutions as well as private banking clients. “We offer corporate and institutional clients pretty much a full range of banking products,” Anders says.
counterparts we work with, as well as meeting all our London staff, most of whom are still working from home.” “In the short term during the pandemic, our key priority has been to support our staff and clients. But we are also focussing on what the market will look like when we are out of lockdown”.
”We operate with a culture with a strong Nordic bias, which is somewhat different to other banks based here.” Good match with the SEB brand offering The UK is defined as a “home market” for SEB and will continue to be an important market where the bank wants to continue to increase its presence. “The UK is one of the world’s largest economies and one of the global financial centres. It attracts and provides a lot of innovation, expertise and also sets a lot of standards for financial markets.” According to Anders, the characteristics of the market are a good match with the overall offering of the SEB brand. “The UK business community within the large corporate and financial institution space has a lot of similarities with the client base we serve in other markets as well.” Sustainability is another increasingly important area where the UK is taking the lead, which fits well into SEB’s strategy. “The UK government has announced ambitious undertakings to take an active part in and create future investment in areas such as renewable energy as well as addressing the climate crisis that we’re currently experiencing.”
Anders Engstrand, Country Head of SEB UK. Photos: Renz Andres.
Cultural benefits SEB’s Swedish roots and its corporate culture have proven to be a good fit with the UK corporate and institutional world. “A lot of that comes down to our long-term relationship approach which clients seem to appreciate. We
operate with a culture with a strong Nordic bias, which is somewhat different to other banks based here.” Different competitive landscape Despite the similarities and SEB’s cultural fit, the UK differs from some of the banks other “home markets” in its competitive landscape. “You will find almost all of the global banks present in London and in the UK market. Given that competition, it is important to be clear in which areas we as a bank provide value to clients.” Cross-border learnings Anders acknowledges that the Nordic tradition of having large industrial companies in a strong, stable position is recognised in the UK, but that there also is an interest in Nordic innovation and development in areas such as tech and sustainability – areas that can benefit from cross-border learnings. “We have the traditional established corporates, many of which are global brands, but there is also a strong interest in what has happened in technology and in the energy transformation space. There are similarities in the development within the Nordics as well as in the UK, and I hope we can benefit from these crossborder activities.”