This Nordic Broker Wants More Women to Gain a Competitive Edge

(Bloomberg) -- ABG Sundal Collier Holding ASA is looking to women to gain an edge on its competitors -- and it’s willing to pay for it.

The Nordic broker, headquartered in Oslo, has started a foundation with other partners called Women in Finance to provide funding and attract more women into the industry. The foundation’s capital will have an annual return of about 2 million kronor ($219,000), which will be used to provide financial assistance to projects or measures that promote and sustain gender equality.

It’s sorely needed. Women currently only make up 17 percent of ABG’s staff, and its aim is to have a workforce that mirrors society as a whole.

"It is business critical to us that we can recruit from the entire talent pool," said Jonas Strom, the broker’s managing partner in Sweden who will take over as chief executive officer in May next year. "It will make us an even better and more relevant adviser. We meet a much more multifaceted reality, and the companies of the future expect us not only to adapt, but to drive the development toward greater diversity and equality."

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The foundation, started earlier this year, is already paying off. The number of applications from university students to ABG’s internship program has increased dramatically, according to Strom. That increase is largely explained by a higher interest from female students.

"Exactly in line with the goal -- to make more women choose our industry," he said.

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