LFDE Insights - Transparency is key

Interview of Susanne Bolin Gärtner, Head of Product Management & Selection at Danske Bank


May you introduce yourself?

I joined Danske Bank in January 2020 as Head of Manager and Fund Selection after 10 years spent as Head of Fund Selection & ESG external funds at Folksam. My mission is to build a strong Nordic selection team using my previous experience and the offer made of both in-house and external funds whereof my team’s responsibility is the external managers and funds.


What challenges do you face on a daily basis?

As per all fund selection teams, our main concern is to provide our investors with consistent and long term performance so, once a fund is selected, we give time to the asset managers to deploy their strategy. If the performance is not as expected, we set up a tighter monitoring and schedule a quarterly closer review. If it keeps on not being satisfactory after one year, we take the next step and start the process of exchanging the fund for another provider that we believe in going forward. Currently, our average turnover, all asset classes included, is relatively low at around 20%.

Simultaneously, we engage with  the external funds we select to see that they integrate ESG criteria and comply with the guidelines we have set up for external funds on ESG, but more of a base line and engagement as it is different to internal funds. We align with the  rules applied to internal funds; to do so we can count on the help of our ESG Department.

Finally, we monitor the consistency of the client offering as a whole, complementing with external funds in all asset classes and maintaining an efficient balance between internal and external funds.


Do clients ask for external funds?

It depends on the markets. For example, a quick reflection would be that Swedish clients usually require a wide array of external funds, whereas Danish investors are often satisfied with a more “in-house” offer; Finnish, on the other hand, like ETFs. Going forward it is essential to offer external funds and not only in-house funds to be trustworthy to the end-clients.


What strategies are you looking for?

Sustainability is key for us that’s why I like impact funds ; especially the ones that incorporate different themes as monothematic funds represent a bigger risk for the final client.

Our aim is to build solutions compliant with Article 8 and 9 (SFDR). Having said that, we engage with existing funds and if “only article 6” today, we want to lift them to at least article 8, if that is not in the plan for the specific fund, we will eventually exchange it for a more sustainable fund. This is not done overnight and we expect good dialogues and engagements with the external fund companies.


Do you play an educational role within the firms and with your clients?

Yes, and it is a big responsibility!! We must be able to prove the interest and the necessity to invest in a more sustainable way as well as show how sustainable we also are as investors.


How do you select fund managers?

We use quantitative screening tools and traditional metrics but also take qualitative ones into consideration like transparency, sustainability or quality of the relationship and confidence in the asset manager.

A boutique like LFDE is interesting because entities offering solid impact strategies (article 9) are of course very interesting to us. Looking forward to continuing the dialogue.

Tack så mycket!