A mixture of sound policies, competitive industries and a little bit of luck have until now largely insulated Sweden from its neighbours to the South in the Eurozone. Those strengths may not be enough, if the global economic outlook continues to worsen. That was the message from the Euromoney’s inaugural Sweden Capital Markets Forum.
Taking place on 4 September in Stockholm, the forum attracted over 350 leading issuers, investors and financial intermediaries from across Sweden and elsewhere in Europe.
The forum was opened by Bo Lundgren, director general of the Swedish National Debt Office. Dr. Lundgren’s speech reflected on how Sweden has coped during its banking crisis of two decades ago. He said that his colleagues in the Eurozone had fallen short when it came to cooperating in the face of the crisis. The UK coalition might also learn some lessons from his country in bringing together different parts of the political spectrum. Enforcing austerity without compensating growth measures was no recipe for success, added Lundgren.
Bo Lundgren’s keynote address was followed by a lively opening panel, in which some of Sweden’s leading figures – including Thomas Ostros of the Swedish Bankers’ Association and Mattias Persson of the Sveriges Riksbank – debated Sweden’s success as a nation and its position within Europe and the rest of the world. Discussion understandably focused on the banking sector and whether the banks understood the gravity of their role within the economy. Bankers were worried that the higher capital standards being demanded of Sweden’s banks might disadvantage them in relation to foreign competitors. The Riksbank’s Persson said that the unusually high concentration of banking assets in the country gave the central bank no option but to be cautious.
The one-day forum continued with a series of dynamic panels and in-depth sponsor led workshops discussing bank funding, corporate finance and wider issues surrounding Swedish debt and the strength of the Krona. In an interview, export credit agency SEK president Peter Yngwe stressed the role of his institution in keeping open long-term credit channels to the all-important export sector. Some of Sweden’s most prominent issuers – the Swedish National Debt Office, Kommuninvest and the City of Stockholm – rounded-off proceedings. A common theme was the need to nurture a corporate bond market in Sweden.
Euromoney would like to thank all sponsors, speakers and delegates for helping to make The Sweden Capital Markets Forum such a great success and looks forward to developing the event still further next year.
- Swedbank Swedish credit market survey - Inside the mind of the SEK bond investor and issuer