Money, money, money, in Scandinavia

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The climate may be bitterly cold, but when it comes to financial services products Scandinavia is becoming an increasingly hot market.

Derivatives are a key growth area, but the temperature is also rising in M&A, syndication and origination. And banks are hiring as a result.

"From a markets and derivatives perspective, we have seen consistent demand for Scandinavian focused salespeople throughout the course of 2006 and anticipate this to continue into 2007," says Richard Fisher, director at Whitney Group.

"Strong hiring activity has taken place across all product sectors," he adds, triggered by an increased focus on the region by sell-side institutions.

The Scandinavian market is becoming increasingly popular for structured products, agrees Ben Stockton, sales consultant at Huxley Associates.

A new "traffic light" system of regulation in Sweden has, ironically, created more opportunities for Scandinavian derivatives salespeople as savings institutions espouse risky assets such as derivatives in order to meet their liabilities.

Most Scandinavian specialists are based in London. Soc Gen's latest hire, a Finnish equity derivative institutional salesman called Perttu Kiviniemi recruited from SEB Enskilda Equities in Helsinki, started work in the City earlier this week for example.

Which is not to say there are no opportunities locally... Banks such as SG and ABN have regional offices. And last year Franco-Belgian fund manager Dexia Asset Management opened a new branch in Stockholm.