In the city: Keeping a work-life balance and high professional ambition is key – The Post

In the city: Keeping a work-life balance and high professional ambition is key

Having worked in the financial sector in both London and Copenhagen, Søren Kilsgaard tells us about the differences and similarities

The likes of Copenhagen have been steadily catching up with London (photo by: iStock)
November 30th, 2015 7:00 am| by Philip Tees
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What is your current job and what was your path to get there?
I am currently the head of fixed income at Nordea Asset Management. In terms of education, I attended Copenhagen Business School. I took a general banking education followed by a business diploma in finance. I did my traineeship at Unibank (now part of Nordea) from 1998 to 2000. After that I worked as an analyst in Nordea’s credit risk department until 2001. Until 2004, I was a trader in credit trading at Nordea. From 2004 to 2007, I worked as a trader in credit trading at Barclays Capital in the City of London. On my return to Denmark, I worked for Nordea again as the head of credit trading from 2007 to 2011, then as the head of credit investments from 2011, until taking up my current position in
2015.

What made you decide to work in London?
I was attracted by the pace, the career opportunities and the steep learning curve. I returned to Denmark because London is not a place to have kids the Scandinavian way.


How does working in the banking sector in London compare with working in Copenhagen?
London used to be way ahead in terms of people, systems, instruments, salary and so on. Now this is less so. Copenhagen offers a better work-life balance, but with more international colleagues the pace has come up here as well. Therefore talent is spread more equally now.

Are there any aspects of the working culture in London you think could benefit the Danish banking sector?
London is the centre for finance, so many ideas are born and creativity strives. The talent pool is still larger in absolute numbers, so competition is fierce and therefore the winning mentality is high. I think striking the balance between life outside work and high professional ambition is the winning formula for a company and for the individuals working in it.

In your experience is it common for expat professionals to come to Denmark to work in banking? If not, would it be a good thing if more came?
Yes, it is common and it has become more and more so for the reasons I have mentioned above. I think it would be good if more came, as long as life outside work and professional ambition is balanced. I am not in favour of setting up a replica of the London system in
Copenhagen.

Nordea asset management


– The Nordea Group is the largest financial services group in the Nordics, serving approximately 11 million customers

– Nordea Asset Management is part of the group’s Wealth Management business area and offers services in Europe, the Americas and Asia

– With 174 billion euros in assets under management, Nordea Asset Management is one of the fastest growing asset management companies and the largest asset manager in the Nordics

– Nordea Asset Management’s aim is to stay the asset manager of choice for its customers by continuously providing a better service, better products and better investment returns