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Sven Weideborg from Janus Henderson is our Sales Manager of the Month

Sven Weideborg from Janus Henderson is our Sales Manager of the Month

Sven Weideborg, Sales Director Switzerland at Janus Henderson Investors is our Sales Manager of the Month.
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17 APR, 2024

By Jose Luis Palmer from RankiaPro Europe


Sven Weideborg is a Sales Director for Switzerland at Janus Henderson Investors. He is based in Geneva and focused on the Ticino and Romandy regions. Prior to joining the firm in 2014, he was a sales manager at Amundi from 2005 where he was responsible for fund distribution to private banks, family offices, and independent asset managers in Switzerland, while based in Paris and Geneva. Sven began his financial sales career at HSBC Investments in Paris in 2003.

Sven received bachelor’s degree in international business from the Paris Graduate School of Management. He has 21 years of financial industry experience.

What made you decide to go into the financial sector? Did you have any other vocations?

It probably was more the financial sector selecting me than the other way around. I started out 20 years ago working for an Anglo-French asset management company, fresh out of a business school in Paris. From there onwards I guess it stuck as I am still around!

I feel very privileged in my role as I get to be the person linking highly intelligent and interesting people, between our investors and our investment teams. Not one day goes by without learning something new – this is probably the fuel I need and why I still find the role as Sales Director in Switzerland so interesting after all this time.

As for other vocations, I probably have a few, but the one that stands out would be human resources and recruiting. There is something about getting to know people that I really like, try to understand what makes a person tick, what drives them, this is a puzzle I appreciate trying to assemble.

What does a typical workday look like for you? How do you organize your time?

My workday always start with a coffee! I probably have a rather structured approach, and that coffee moment enables me to organize and prioritize the day or days ahead.

All of my workday is dedicated to making my clients’ lives easier and to bring added value to them. That will take the form of discussions and meetings most of the time – privileged moments to help understanding better our investors’ needs – but it also encompasses discussions with colleagues on how to improve the service we bring to investors and how to become more efficient.

My perfect day will include client meetings with a variety of themes and asset classes – it is nice to bounce back and forth from one area to another. We are really lucky at Janus Henderson as we have a wide range of investment strategies which are performing well. These days, is not uncommon that a client conversation goes from small caps to healthcare and then to fixed income solutions, maybe passing through some alternative strategies like long/short equity.

But coffee first!

In your opinion, what are the key drivers for successful fund distribution?

In my view, asset management is a people’s business first and foremost. 

Why? Because confiding your savings – our your client’s clients’ savings – to a third party requires a certain level of trust. Trust is not a commodity in the financial world and it needs to be built carefully over time. 

Once trust is established our client conversations become smoother and you can upgrade from distributing a product – literally a «yes-or-no» equation – to customizing investment solutions where the equation will evolve towards «which outcome» and «how».

This is an area asset management has developed quite a lot the last decade or so, and to be successful you would need a decent size asset manager with sufficient resources to offer the correct level of customization.

So we are dipping into the area of value-adding services here, which I think will remain key for the years to come. One service that Janus Henderson has been bringing to Europe these past years is the Portfolio Construction & Strategy (PCS) service using our proprietary tool called «Edge». As the name eludes to, it is a strategic tool that can help investors health-check their investment portfolios and assess potential biases or lack of exposures, helping improving the portfolio construction. Where Janus Henderson goes all the way here is with a personalized diagnosis through a conversation with one of our portfolio strategists. 

Could you highlight any topic on which investors should focus for the long term?

I think the best way to identify long term themes is listening to what our clients are saying. Areas which are widely discussed include of course technological advances (including Artifical Intelligence), innovation in healthcare and the effects on the Central Banks’ rate cycle. 

I’d be tempted to break these topics down into two main categories. 

The first is looking to benefit from superior growth perspectives, which aligns with tech, biotech, small caps as well as areas benefitting from the public and private investments for a more sustainable and environment-friendly society. 

The second category would seek out areas which are undervalued relative to their own history or to other sectors or geographies. If we take the example of real estate, the past 12-18 months have seen an increased perception of risk – notably in the commercial real estate area – which has broadly speaking scared off investors. It could be the typical story of throwing the baby out with the bath water where potentially interesting pockets of value are overlooked.

What is your advice to investors, how should they position themselves with the current environment?

In my humble view, one of the challenges we and our investors face is to be too short-term oriented. So my advice would be to identify longer term trends and strive to find investment solutions that correspond to these. 

I already mentioned the area of sustainable investments, but there are also other long-term trends driven for example by demographics (population growth, new and increased demands from people living longer) or by the return of the cost of capital, ie interest rates no longer being close to or at zero. Higher interest rates means corporations need to be more discerning about borrowing and how they allocate their capital, and it also means we are seeing a bigger dispersion between winners and losers, something active strategies can take benefit from.

In addition to thinking more longer term, diversification will always be a key feature to consider for client portfolios. This can take the form of the classical balance between fixed income and equities, but also include alternative asset classes.

There was a time when ‘alternatives’ rhymed with ‘hedge funds’, but that category has expanded in recent years to include additional, more or less liquid, asset classes. But to stay in the liquid arena, there are strategies out there which are able to provide something interesting in terms of risk-adjusted returns with low – or no – correlation to the traditional asset classes of fixed income and equities.

What is the most exciting thing you have seen in the markets since you started working in the financial sector?

Funnily enough, when you say «exciting» I am thinking «crisis», which brings me back to 2008 and 2020. I remember the 2008 autumn period as something petrifying at first, but I soon learned from my mentor at the time that there are major opportunities surfacing in crisis periods, be it to strenghten client relationships or to be brave and invest when times are uncertain. Back in 2020 I was reminded of the same thing by my fixed income investment team colleagues; for them it was a time to buy and increase exposure to markets where yields had increased significantly, a good time to lock in future returns for our investors.

It reminds me of when I learned about the double signification of the Chinese word Wei Li 危机 which means “crisis” but is also used to describe a pivotal point and an “opportunity”.

When you have free time, what do you like to do?

My free time is dedicated most of all to my family and three children. I also like to be outside – mostly in the mountains – across all seasons, be it on a snowboard or in hiking shoes. We are very lucky here in Switzerland to have a wealth of natural areas with extraordinary views, peace and quiet.

I am also a big fan of music, so if we run into each other in the streets of Geneva I am likely to be equipped with earphones, emerged in rhythm or some kind of podcast. In addition to the insightful Janus Henderson podcast channel, I have recently discovered an entertaining podcast on tech called “Hard Fork” which I can highly recommend! 

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