A victim of its own success
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A victim of its own success

Nordic banks: Jostling for supremacy

Since his departure from Alfred Berg, where he was chief executive until ABN Amro's takeover of the Swedish investment bank in 1995, Patrik Brummer has gone on to reinvent himself as the creator of one of Europe's most successful hedge funds. In a sense, therefore, Brummer remains Alfred Berg through and through. The modern-day bank of which he was the architect has built its success on a culture of excellence, in which the ranks are filled with some of the brightest and the best. The upshot, compared with the competition, is that Alfred Berg has delivered a service offering just that little extra touch of class.

Other Nordic investment banks may have salesforces and research teams comparable in size to Alfred Berg's but none can match its profitability. In the 1997 financial year, Alfred Berg generated revenues and an operating profit that were getting on for twice that of its main rival, Enskilda Securities.

A hotbed of banking talent, though, has its drawbacks. Over the past two years there has been a steady drip of top-flight bankers leaving Alfred Berg for other firms.

Until recently, the losses have mainly been among top-rated analysts.

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