Therese Nyrén: “Investments are about building trust and relationships” – why the industry needs digitalization to become more human

31 March, 2022

Fund manager Therese Nyrén is the founder of the private equity firm Sue Ellen Investments and the newly-founded Lucy Global Fund, Sweden's first and only global lifestyle fund. She has worked in the financial industry for 21 years and has a long experience within finance, wealth management and consulting. In an inspiring interview, Therese shares her view on the wealth management industry and the background to why she started her lifestyle fund.

With a bachelor's degree in business administration, and many years within finance and banking; as a Financial analyst at Credit Suisse in London, Equity sales at Öhman Fund Commission as well as a Senior private banker at Nordea, to name a few, Therese Nyrén is highly experienced in the financial industry. – I have worked in the financial industry for 21 years, and I’ve always had a certain interest in the stock market. I see myself as a portfolio manager and I want to create solutions that think outside the box and drive change in an otherwise traditional industry, Therese Nyrén says.

In Sweden, for example, she’s noticed that the Swedish stock market historically has had a tendency to focus mostly on Swedish well-established companies and industries. Personally, she likes to invest in markets and companies of the future, the ones that she believes have the largest growth potential. – I often look at trends and patterns and what people are buying right now. For example, the pet industry has become an extremely hot market lately since everyone went ahead and got pets during the pandemic. I think a lot of what’s trending right now will also perform well over time.

Inspiring a new group of investors

Therese wanted to find a way to inspire more people to start investing. This led to her passion project – starting a lifestyle fund together with AIFM. And in July of 2021, Lucy Global Fund was officially launched – a global equity fund with a main focus on companies in lifestyle, health and beauty as well as companies with well-known and attractive brands.

– I began looking at companies that I personally thought were interesting and wanted to invest in, and I quickly realized that they had beat the index over time. Since there aren’t many other lifestyle funds out there, especially not in Sweden, I really felt like I was onto something. But it was a long journey before I finally reached the finish line.

“Thanks to digitalization, wealth managers can focus more on ensuring personal connections and suggest the right investments instead of focusing on everything around it. And we know that personalization is important to attract the new generation of investors.”

Her vision for the fund was that investing should be fun. When people invest in a company or a product that they like and can relate to, they gain a better understanding of the products and the brands and become more committed investors. In addition, Lucy Global Fund focuses on investing in transparent and well-managed companies that have an appealing message and safeguard soft values.

The goal is that this will make investors feel more secure in their investment choices, Therese says. – It’s always more fun to invest when you feel safe and have an understanding of what you are investing in. In the longer run, I’m positive that this will attract a new group of investors who otherwise would not see themselves investing. This can be their first step in.

The shift in wealth management

The wealth management industry has had a tendency to be quite slow to adapt to the digital transformation. For example, there is often a lack of comprehensive digital support for business processes, compared to other industries. Therese thinks this has to do with the strong customer relationships that wealth managers build.

Legacy and tightly regulated business practices are valued high among the older generation of wealth managers.

– As a consequence, the industry has been slow to implement new digital tools and technology. At the same time, I think the stock industry is much more digitized. To be able to trade shares in real time, we have always needed digital technology and transparent data.

But a lot is happening at the moment, she continues. Currently, there’s a generation shift within the industry, where more digitally-adept individuals are coming forward, both wealth managers and clients.

– As younger generations enters the industry, the more digitized it will become. Many companies are therefore realizing the need to reshape their business models and digitize and automate processes. There is a lot to do, and for companies delivering these digital tools it’s been a rather difficult market to enter. But more companies realize that they need it to prepare themselves for the future.

The need for transparency

In addition, Therese highlights that the industry needs more transparency and real-time information.

– Transparent data is crucial, especially since wealth management firms are very regulated and need to make sure they are following the rules. I also believe that in the future, individuals will own their data and take a larger ownership of their investments.

For example, she thinks that the digital transformation and open banking will lead to investors being able to choose where they want to invest their wealth. – Managers will no longer be able to recommend only the funds they personally prefer and what benefits them. This will create more competition between players on the market, and competition is healthy.

Digitalization help us become more human

Therese finishes with an important reflection of the importance of having a human-centric approach in the ongoing digital transformation:

– I don’t think we can ever remove humans from the calculation, because investments are always about building trust and personal relationships. As more processes become digital, wealth managers need to become even more human and really listen to what their clients need, to be able to bring relevant and personalized solutions, she says, and finishes:

– But thanks to digitalization, wealth managers can focus more on ensuring personal connections and suggest the right investments instead of focusing on everything around it. And we know that personalization is important to attract the new generation of investors.

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