"I am very pleased with the result for the first two months. It's encouraging that all business areas have produced good results," commented Lars Thunell.
"SEB has opened the year 2000 strongly, with great activity and with several deals that have been carried out. For example the purchase, by Enskilda Securities, of Orkla Finans Fondsmegling from Orkla in Norway, the listing of Self Trade which produced SEK 1 billion in value - today shown on the books as SEK 300 million - and, naturally, the consolidation of German BfG Bank."
"Development at BfG has gone very well. A restructuring, with ambitious goals as regards result, was introduced in January; the consequences of which include at least 500 positions being affected by rationalisation, co-ordination and various areas of operation being reviewed. At the same time the focus has been intensified upon the Internet and mutual funds - where, for example, the Swedish technology fund is beginning to be sold, with great success, in Germany."
In his speech, Lars Thunell also told how SEB has now taken the step from being a Nordic universal bank, with 14,000 employees, to becoming a customer-driven European bank with the Internet at its core and with 21,000 employees, most of whom are situated outside the borders of Sweden. SEB's vision for the future is to be the leader in Europe as regards customer-oriented, Internet-centric financial services.
"When it comes to investing in the new economy, we are also there with various network partners. In March, we went in as part-owner of B-business partner and we are in the process of creating SEB E-invest, which will invest in e-related companies that have a connection with the operations of the group. We already have within the group SEB Företagsinvest, which invests venture capital in the Nordic region. This has developed very satisfactorily."
"In the new economy we can't expect to do everything ourselves. SEB will continue to deliver a broad range of financial services to its clients, but, to a greater extent, we will work with various partners within various areas of operation," said Lars Thunell.
SEB's key words for the future are growth companies, savings and the Internet. SEB is growing on both the Internet and savings fronts. Today, SEB has 560,000 e-banking customers, of which 160,000 are outside Sweden. 25 per cent of SEB's Swedish customers use the Internet to carry out their banking transactions.
Tomorrow, 12 April, the first version of the SEB Group's new pan-European Internet Bank will be launched in Denmark.
In February SEB had - with German bank BfG included - SEK 925 billion in funds under management. This means that, as regards funds under management, SEB is the largest Nordic operator.