Swedish lender SEB AB plans to hire 10 advisers to kick start a new push into all things energy. The bank is building a new unit within investment banking to focus on energy, an area that for SEB involves the shift away from fossil fuels to renewables, sustainable infrastructure projects, electrification and building sustainable societies, Chief Executive Officer Johan Torgeby said in an interview last month.
“To be an expert in this area is a huge opportunity,” he said. “We want to think a bit bigger, and not just focus on the Nordic region, but rather use the region as a platform.”
Energy is seen as a big growth opportunity in the Swedish bank’s business plan from 2019 to 2021, which also includes a focus on new technologies, increased productivity, improved cost efficiency and a big push in advisory services. The initiatives will lead to additional investments of as much as 2.5 billion kronor ($280 million) over the three years.
The move to renewable energy affects a whole raft of sectors, including the oil, gas, shipping, utilities, auto and chemical industries. The investments needed in infrastructure around the world in the coming three or four decades are “astronomical,” Torgeby said.
While SEB for a long time has been one of the biggest financiers of such projects in the Nordic region, helping fund everything from highways to hospitals, it hasn’t been as strong in that field within advisory services.
“We see big leverage in using what we have, and the relationships we have, to build a more corporate-finance-type or investment-bank type of offering within energy,” Torgeby said. SEB will start by hiring 10 new advisers “and give it a year” before deciding whether to hire more, Torgeby said. “We aim to get real authority in this area,” he said.