26 Oct 2018 10:39

New “boutique” for advice on digital business models

SEB is establishing a new function, specialising in providing advice on digital business models and strategies. “We have unique conditions for being the spider in the web at the intersection of large companies, new technology companies and investors. We will build up leading-edge competence to be relevant in the strategic dialogue with customers,” says Jan Amethier, who will head the new unit.

The new function, which has the working name SEB Singular, will be an internal "boutique advisor". It will operate independently but in close collaboration with the bank's other business units.

The background to this venture is the digital transformation which is redrawing the map, not only for banks, but to the same extent for SEB's large corporate customers in mature sectors.

"They are wrestling with their digital business models, how to take advantage of and capitalise on the emerging technology and how they are able to meet the challenge from agile tech companies," says Jan Amethier, who up to now has been head of the Corporate Finance business area.

Entire digital arena

"To be relevant in strategic advice to companies we need competence in the entire digital arena – including keeping an eye on small and newly-started technology companies. We need to know what they can do and what technical solutions can be relevant for mature companies."

And equally important is to have knowledge, skills and networks around potential investors, everything from venture capital companies to financial institutions and active private individuals.

"No one is better placed than we at SEB to link up the entire chain. It is part of our DNA as a corporate bank. We have a unique relationship with the large companies. We have a strong position among growth companies and we know the investor who can provide growth capital."

New opportunities

SEB is already a leading provider of corporate finance advice to large companies. With this dedicated unit SEB will expand its coverage to smaller high-tech companies with business models founded on digital technology.

"Our mandate will allow us to work across the board and with a very long term focus. To add value to our clients and build our franchise within the digital ecosystems of tomorrow."

Starting in small scale

The venture is starting on a small scale. Jan Amethier visualises a group consisting of a handful of people from the outset. The unit will work independently but closely coordinated with units such as Large Corporates and Financial Institutions Coverage, Corporate Finance, Equities, Venture Capital, those working with the SEB Greenhouse concept and others in Corporate & Private Customers.

"We are starting with a blank sheet, testing and experimenting our way forward. Exactly what we will develop is impossible to predict. That is what makes this so exciting and fun!" says Jan Amethier.