Having spent the past four decades of my professional career within Asset Management, Finance and Economics, I have gained expert knowledge in designing a cutting-edge Investment Strategy for a large and global Investment Institution. I am now offering this skillset to contribute to other institutions' success.
and forums in Asia, the US and Europe, for knowledge sharing and idea-generation. I was invited to Advisory Boards to help design relevant and topical programs for such events. Engagement in a network called the Pacific Pension Institute ultimately led to AP2 becoming the only non-pacific member of the institute in 2006. International engagement in pensions and investment discussions also lead to a role as an editorial advisor board member to the Journal of Pension Management at the International Centre for Pension Management in Toronto. During four years, I was the Chairman of the International Advisory Board to EDHEC-Risk Institute, one of the larger and more influential international academic research institutions committed to asset and risk management. I was also a member of the Advisory Committee for The Foundation of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and a Board member of KF Invest in Stockholm. Recently, I have become a member of two international Infrastructure Advisory Boards, Global Infrastructure Facility, hosted by the World Bank in Washington and EDHEC Infrastructure Institute in Singapore.
"My specific role was to initiate and research new assets and strategies, put them into a strategic context and build a credible case for adding them to the Policy portfolio."
An extensive international network also made it possible in 2010 to invite some 30 thought leaders and leading practitioners to contribute to an anthology - A Decade of Challenges, A Collection of Essays on Pension and Investments – which I edited and contributed to. Even though my focus has been on strategic and Board related investment considerations and issues, I also had responsibility for a Tactical Asset Allocation mandate for some time and I oversaw a global search for external Global Tactical Asset Allocation (GTAA) managers in the early 2000’s.
During my time at AP2, I also expanded my educational curriculum. I earned an EFFAS-diploma which is the European equivalent to the CFA and participated in an advanced, post-graduate, program in portfolio theory and management. In 2015, I finished an Executive education in Risk and Investment management under the auspices of Yale University and Edhec Risk Institute. Before joining AP2, I held a position as Equity Chief Strategist at Swedbank, ultimately responsible for the banks’ equity strategy product. I coordinated a process including the macroeconomic team as well as sector teams and research analysts in forming a quarterly strategy report. An essential part of the process was to present the strategy view to Swedish, European and US institutional investors. I was a member of the Management Committee for Swedbank Markets, Equities.
"In 2015, I finished an Executive education in Risk and Investment management under the auspices of Yale University and Edhec Risk Institute."
During my time at AP2, I built an international network of pension and investment professionals, academics as well as practitioners. This network was crucial for the development of investment strategy at AP2. As a part of this network building, I represented AP2 as a frequent speaker at international conferences, roundtables
Early 2017, I stepped down from the Second National Swedish Pension Fund (AP2) and founded Franzen Advisory. For 15 years, I had then played a key role in designing Investment Policy at AP2. In 2001, when Sweden made a major overhaul of its national pension system, AP2 was a start-up. Late 2016, the Fund managed some US 40 bn in a globally diversified portfolio across geographies and asset classes/strategies. Total return had averaged 6 % per year, exceeding long-term expectations despite a hostile financial environment. An Investment Policy road map, that was further refined in 2007, had gradually shifted the Strategic Portfolio towards more non-traditional assets that improved the long-term pension outlook for Swedish seniors. Some of the new initiatives were on the forefront of investment management and required exceptional skills. This change, overall, was a team effort including basically all parts of the organization.
My specific role was to initiate and research new assets and strategies, put them into a strategic context and build a credible case for adding them to the Policy portfolio. Critically, this involved making sure that proposals had the backing of my colleagues in the Management team, and most importantly the CEO, and that new initiatives were well-anchored among people that had a vital role in a subsequent implementation. The major challenge was to present the case to the Board of Directors so that they could confidently take decisions to change and develop the Policy portfolio. In this respect, the diversity of Board member background and experience added to the task. Besides developing a sound investment idea, this requires good communication skills and a good portion of trust that has to be earned over time. I believe that such good communication skills and trust building, nurtured over many years and further developed during the past decade, are one of the main reasons for innovations in AP2’s Investment Policy.
Between 1996 and 1998, I held a similar position as Chief Strategist for Nordic Equities at Den Norske Bank. During that time, I was responsible for Equity market strategy with a client base of institutional investors in Stockholm, Oslo, London and Continental Europe. Prior to DnB, I worked for Handelsbanken for nine years analyzing Swedish and international macro, interest rates and currencies.
For several years, I was responsible for the assessment of Swedish macroeconomic trends. Presentations, in writing and orally, in Sweden as well as abroad, were central ingredients. During my years at Handelsbanken, I was also assigned various special investigations related to business activities at the bank.
The last few years at Handelsbanken, I was responsible for macroeconomic research within the Equity division, working with Nordic Equity Market Strategy. Daily, that involved a responsibility to comment on macroeconomic and political trends as an important input for clients, research analysts and sales persons. At road-shows in Europe and the US, my role was to present the macroeconomic backdrop to Portfolio Strategy.
My academic education took place at the University of Stockholm in the late seventies and early eighties. My major is in Economics with a concentration to Macroeconomic Theory and Monetary Policy. Besides Economics, I have minors in Statistics, Political Science and Business Administration. During the time of study, I also spent a year as a member of the Board of The Students’ Union at the University of Stockholm. I was preparing for postgraduate studies in Economics when, in late 1981, being offered a job as an Economist at The Swedish Employers’ Confederation (SAF), a business “think-tank”. My interest for further studies remained. At the beginning of 1985, I returned to the University and a PhD program in Economics. However, a couple of terms convinced me that a pure academic research career had lost its allurement.
Together with my wife, I live in Lisbon, Portugal and the archipelago of Gothenburg, Sweden. We have two grown-up daughters.