To inspire our members and women in the financial industry beyond our doors, we’re reaching out to ladies who have reached the C-Suite. In this second instalment, we have asked Anna Jönsson who was recently appointed as the CEO of Storebrand Asset Management Sverige to share how she got where she is today!
“I believe my life would have been much less exciting if it followed a strictly planned trajectory. It is sometimes in the unexpected that you learn the most.“
Can you tell us about your background and the experience that led you to your position as CEO of Storebrand Asset Management Sverige?
I have been with Storebrand for six years and have accumulated 15 years of experience in the finance industry. I believe it’s the combination of my rather diverse experiences that has made me a suitable fit for this role. To start, I have always had a passion for academia. I hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the US, a master’s degree in international relations from London, and I pursued the CFA designation during my time in London. Having spent 15 years abroad, which included playing college golf in the US, I’ve been deeply immersed in the Anglo-Saxon way of working and conducting business, which has proven to be an asset.
During my tenure of almost ten years at FactSet, a financial analysis tool company, I gained a profound understanding of the finance industry and established a strong network within the Nordics. It was then my former manager at Öhman took a chance on me when I transitioned into an institutional sales role but saw my potential to execute in that role. If you were to sum up the key themes that have consistently shaped my career, they would be client interaction, sustainability, and data management. To elaborate further, my passion for client interaction and commitment to delivering continuous value to our clients has always served as my strategic compass, while sustainability and effective data management have been pivotal themes consistently shaping my career. I grew up in a small town in Sweden and have always enjoyed being in nature, the opportunity to then professionally work to move investments in a more sustainable direction sits close to my personal values and how I chose to live my life and was an important factor in choosing to work at Storebrand. My engineering background has proven more valuable as the asset management industry becomes more complex and competitive and we need to be smart in how we use information and data to provide a better client experience.
Is this appointment something you have been aiming for? Or did you consciously decide not to have a plan?
I don’t adhere to rigid career planning because I find joy in the unpredictability of life. I worked as a teacher for one year in my early 20s and still carry lots of valuable lessons from that year with me. I believe my life would have been much less exciting if it followed a strictly planned trajectory. It is sometimes in the unexpected that you learn the most. However, this doesn’t mean I lack ambition.I’ve always been eager to learn new things and take on new responsibilities. I naturally gravitate toward leadership roles in most of my endeavors, and as I’ve gained more experience, I’ve come to appreciate the value of a strategic role that leverages my knowledge and expertise.
Do you have any advice for ambitious young women based on your personal experience?
First and foremost, cultivate a sense of curiosity and embrace the unfamiliar. Sometimes, the unexpected experiences teach you more about yourself and provide valuable life lessons. Even if you aspire to take on a leadership role, there’s no need to rush, so don’t stress about it. Similarly, don’t hesitate to accept or even initiate new responsibilities. It may be daunting at times, but stepping out of your comfort zone is where personal growth happens.
Secondly, nurture and utilize your network. Drawing from my experiences in both the US and the UK, I’ve learned a great deal about networking from these cultures. Don’t be afraid to seek introductions and guidance. In my experience, if you manage trust well, people are generally happy to help, especially if you can create a win-win scenario for everyone involved. The asset management industry is great fun to work in but still has a long way to go before it could be considered equal and I hope to encourage more women to join our industry.
Third, surround yourself with individuals who energize you. Find ways to recharge and maintain a balance. For me, nature, outdoor sports, or tending to my garden provide the necessary revitalization. Achieving balance is a personal journey, and it varies for each individual.
Lastly, have fun and stay true to yourself!