SEB global equity chief steps down amid passive push

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Swedish group SEB Asset Management is restructuring its global equities team amid a push by the group to go towards a more quant-driven investment style.

Its head of global equities, Henrietta Theorell, stepped down from her role in mid-January and is one a number of changes to have been made within its management team over the past month, a spokesperson confirmed to Citywire Global.

The four funds managed by Theorell, including the SEB Fund 1 - Global C, are now managed by the quant portfolio management (QPM) team. The firm said they are not looking for a replacement for the head of global equities position.

Peter Norhammar has also stepped down as manager of the Sweden-domiciled SEB Sverigefond fund, which currently has 3.6 billion SEK (€400 million) in assets.

Sverigefond has now been handed over to Jens Sandblom who will work closely with the QPM team.

The future positions of Norhammar and Theorell within the portfolio management team are currently under review.

‘The QPM team can broaden the universe of companies in the portfolio and screens the companies first towards a quality-tilted selection. The fund is then tilted towards stock picking,’ the firm's spokesperson, Claes Eliasson, said.

He added that the transfer towards a more quant-driven approach only applied to a select range of funds and that management of most of its other equity funds would remain unchanged.

The eight-strong QPM team is led by equity manager Ulrika Bergman who began managing funds at SEB in 2009.

This is the latest move by SEB AM towards more passive-driven strategies after news the group was closing its Frankfurt-based multi-manager division at the end of last year.

In the two-year period when Thorell managed the SEB Fund 1 - Global C between the end of December 2010 to the end of December 2012, the fund returned 19.4%. Its benchmark, the MSCI World TR index, returned 10.7% in the same period.

In the past three years, the Sverigefond returned 51.3%. The fund's benchmark, the OMX Stockholm All Share index, returned 42.2% in the same period.