Meet Anders Engstrand, Country Head of SEB UK
18 June 2021
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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 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.” 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.”
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.”