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Finnish house opens Luxembourg office

FINLAND – Helsinki based investment services group Evli Securities is to open an office in Luxembourg in the autumn to augment its European funds sales operations.
The current president of Evli Asset Management, Claes Tallberg, will transfer to the new office to manage its operations.

“We currently have operations in Finland and Sweden and when we were thinking about opening a new office for the rest of Europe, we decided that it should be in Luxembourg,” says Timo Viherto, head of institutional sales at Evli.

The new operation will be based on the current Stockholm office, where the asset management team reports directly to asset management in Finland, analysts report to the head of analysis and the local director is responsible for the day to day management and reporting.
“The new office will operate in the same fashion, except that we won’t have trading or analysts there, it will be purely a private banking and fund sales office,” says Viherto.

Evli is currently also going through several structural changes. All of the staff at Evli Options has been transferred to Evli Asset Management to start its new hedge fund range with Janne Lassila in charge. According to Viherto, the company specialises in technology sub-sector investment and hopes to be a global player in the field, together with its hedge fund products.

“The first hedge fund product, Evli Altius, was a fixed income fund and now the new Evli Citius fund has seen the light of day, it’s a low risk absolute return hedge fund,” says Viherto.
“The idea with the hedge funds is to have enough resources, three to four managers per fund, so that everyone brings in incremental added value. The products are absolutely market neutral: if there are long-short pairs, they will always be within the same sector, we won’t have long-term chimney industry stocks paired with short-term technology stocks,” he adds.

Evli’s products are registered in Finland, and Viherto sees no reason to register them elsewhere. “We haven’t really needed Luxembourg based funds. If you think about the tax status, Luxembourg is seen as a tax efficient domicile for funds, but Finland’s actually even better,” he says.
“They have a registration tax, which is payable yearly, but funds are free of taxation. Over in Finland they’re tax-free too, but don’t pay a registration duty. There are various specialised funds, of course, that are restricted to some countries only, so we’ll have to see what happens,” he adds.

In a related move Evli is merging its operations to maximise cross selling within the group, says Viherto. As a result, Evli Asset Management will be integrated to Evli Securities on December 31, 2001. Jyri Viskari, head of Evli Fund Management, has been appointed head of Evli Asset Management, and after the merger he will continue in both positions.

Evli has recently also gained a new institutional client as the Union of Journalists in Finland (UJF) appointed it to a FIM50m (e8.4m) portfolio previously managed Opstock Asset Management. The move is related to Timo Hovi’s, formerly portfolio manager at Opstock, recruitment in the spring of 2000 as head of discretionary asset management at Evli.

Marjut Mikkonen, head of investment at UJF explains the manager change: “The portfolio manager has changed constantly and we haven’t been satisfied with recent returns compared to our own portfolio index.”

Evli has offices in Helsinki, Stockholm, and San Francisco. In addition,
Evli has a 25% stake in Nordic Partners Inc., based in New York.
Currently, it has e2.5bn of assets under management.

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