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Diversity as an asset

Skagen Fondene, Skagen Funds, in Stavanger employs 132 people from 12 different nations. This diversity represents many opportunities for the company – and for our region.

SKAGEN Funds is a Norwegian fund management company established in 1993. SKAGEN is part of Storebrand, but remains an independent investment boutique reporting to its own board. Stavanger is home to their head office, located in the heart of the city. SKAGEN also has branch offices in Oslo, Trondheim, Ålesund and Bergen, as well as international offices in Stockholm, Copenhagen, London and Amsterdam. The company manages 16 mutual funds and has approximately NOK 73 billion under management.

Advantages of a multicultural environment 

Rosenkilden met Alexandra Morris, Investment Director in SKAGEN. She was born in the US and lived there for 13 years before moving to Norway. She is used to an international environment, having studied in Switzerland and worked in the UK. Morris’ background is in international finance. She is one of the speakers at Stavanger Chamber of Commerce’s Conference on 10 April.

- The Stavanger-region is home to people from 182 different nations. You employ a great variety of people from different countries. From which countries specifically?

- 69% are Norwegian, 12% come from Sweden, 6% from Denmark and also from Pakistan, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Singapore, Great Britain, the US, Luxembourg and Iran. Not bad for a company with a total of 132 employees, replies Morris smiling.

Open-minded

- What do you consider to be the advantages of having a multicultural environment?

- By having a diversity of people from many different countries, we build on top talent from wherever we have found it. We can also avoid a homogeneity of thinking. We can learn from each other, and take advantage of best practice from a number of different markets. In turn, we can take what is best of Norway, like equality, transparency and gender diversity, and bring that into the other markets where we have offices or do business.

- What are your main focus areas in SKAGEN?

- My main focus area within SKAGEN is to make sure that the portfolio department, the people who make the investments on behalf of our unit holders, works at its optimum. This entails making sure that we have the right type and combination of talent in the group, that we have good processes and enabling tools. This plays into our business vision which states that “Our clients shall experience SKAGEN Funds as the best market participant. This will be achieved by offering the best risk adjusted return, in addition to providing excellent communication, good service and competent follow up”.

Talent development
 
- What do you consider key factors for successful integration?

-The key factor to successful integration is that an employee feels that their talent is utilized to its fullest extent and the company also gets to benefit from the full breadth of the talent, knowledge and experience that a diverse pool of people has to offer.

Make a difference

- Why are your employees satisfied?

-I would refer back to the question above. I think that SKAGEN historically has been able to offer an arena for employees to utilize their talents in a common pursuit of making a great fund management company focused on the clients. We have a culture of encouraging everyone – regardless of their role – to come forward with their ideas and really take part in making a difference.

Alexandra Morris remarks that it is important to take the time to come together and celebrate the small successes, so that everyone in the company can share in taking the credit for the achievements. 

Rosenkilden think this is important in any industry and walk of life.

On photo, from right: Midhat Syed from Pakistan and Stein Svalestad from Norway, colleagues at SKAGEN.

Text: Trude Refvem Hembre
Photo: Skagen Fondene


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