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Pohjola and Conventum create new financial group

FINLAND – The announced merger between Helsinki-based insurance group Pohjola and investment manager Conventum also brings the office network of pension insurance group Ilmarinen and life insurer Suomi to the new joint financial services company for the Finnish market.

Eero Heliövaara, deputy managing director of Ilmarinen has been appointed as president and chief executive officer of the new group, and Peter Fagernäs, the chairman of Conventum, has been proposed to take up the position of chairman of the board at the integrated company.

“As the banking and insurance sectors in the Nordic countries are experiencing a major restructuring, Pohjola also has to move on to rapidly growing and profitable business areas,” says Fagernäs.

Heliövaara adds: “The acquisition of Conventum will complement the range of Pohjola’s core services by introducing investment banking and fund and asset management as new and expanding business areas.”

The move by the companies is very similar to what happened when the Helsinki-based financial services company Sampo, probably its biggest rival, bought investment house Mandatum at the turn of the year. Mandatum’s head, Björn Wahlroos was also appointed head of the merged group, and the main difference between the two deals is that the new Pohjola does not include a retail bank.

The merger has also upset Helsinki-based OKO Bank, which was in co-operation with Pohjola until the announcement of Pohjola and Conventum’s move. The bank is expected to stop selling the insurer’s policies by the end of the year.

It was also announced that Jussi Laitinen, currently head of major companies market for Finland at Stockholm based Nordic financial group Nordea, will take up the position of chief investment officer at Ilmarinen in September at the latest. Laitinen will report to the chief executive officer, Kari Puro, who is also in charge of a working group, reviewing the mandatory second pillar pension system in the country.

Ilmarinen currently has just under 400,000 pension contracts. Pohjola has over 1m private household customers and around 80,000 corporate clients. Conventum has total assets under management of e263m.

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