There’s nothing like being back home!
CHRISTIAN KALLEVIG ARNESEN IS A SENIOR MANAGER AND PARTNER IN FINANSCO – AN OSLO-BASED ASSET MANAGEMENT COMPANY THAT WORKS WITH WEALTHY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES.
In 2019, Arnesen chose to move back home to Arendal with his wife and two sons after 13 years of studying and working in big cities in Norway and abroad. After Arnesen moved home, he realised that work efficiency is not necessarily defined by one’s physical location, and that in fact a good deal of work can also be done from a home office. It is also easy to travel to the office in Oslo whenever it is required.
– I moved to Arendal at a very young age, moved out of Arendal due to higher education and starting my career, but I also moved back to my hometown with a family and work experience after having spent several years away, Arnesen says.
Arendal became Arnesen’s new home when at only four years of age and speaking only Danish, he moved to Arendal together with his mother, father and little brother. It is from his mother that he gets his last name Kallevig from – a widely known name in Arendal’s history. It was shipowner Morten Michael Kallevig who had the “Kallevig Palace” built on Tyholmen as his private residence in 1815. It later became Arendal’s town hall until 2005.
Arnesen’s wife is also originally from Arendal. They both decided to move back to Arendal because it meant that they could be close to friends and family. It also meant a more favorable housing market than in Oslo, with the possibility of a detached house, a view and a garden. Arnesen recalls how his eldest son was brimming with excitement when he was told that he would be living in a house with a garden. It was then that they realised that the move was the right decision for the whole family.
– Privately, moving to Arendal has had a great, positive meaning in my life. I am very fond of Oslo life and the city’s “pulse”, and I must admit that I was sceptical and thought the move would be an abrupt transition. It turned out, however, that the transition was quite seamless and natural. With easy access to family and an adaptable management team in the company, it has been unproblematic to continue with the job I enjoy so much at Finansco.
FINANCE IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE GREEN SHIFT
In Finansco, Arnesen works for private individuals and companies to manage their capital. The company’s customers are predominantly those who have already accumulated a fortune and want their wealth to be managed in a sensible way and not those who would like to “get rich overnight”. The company must, amongst other things, take into account investment goals, risk, tax and the kind of exposure that the customer is comfortable with.
Arnesen says that Finansco has placed a lot of emphasis on sustainability considerations from very early on, in both management and consulting. Being out early provides both knowledge and experience and allows the the company to be well positioned for the future. “The green shift” is a trend both he and his company have great faith in.
– We have probably seen only the beginning of an important change the world is facing, and the financial industry is an important player in channeling the capital to the type of companies that must succeed in order for us to achieve the UN’s sustainability goals, he says and continues – There is much more green technology than just renewables. There is also energy storage, agriculture, marine life, gender equality and education – all of these things are part of the UN’s 17 sustainability goals. You still have to be selective when choosing your investments. Companies must have good fundamentals such as having relatively secure earnings and a product range. These are important criteria. One should be wary of investing based on “hype” and newspaper headlines – it can be a costly experience.
A GREEN PROFILE GENERATES SOCIAL CHANGE
A company’s employees are an important resource that can influence the company’s ability to change in a sustainable way, Arnesen states. He believes that it does not help with hyped-up visions and slogans if they are not inherent in the employees themselves. And to achieve this, you must be able to have a clear focus on sustainability both internally and in what you deliver to the customer or consumer.
– The financial industry has been early in adopting new technology, at least here in the Nordics. We are good at applying pressure and having a high standard for how new technology should be. My hypothesis is that the financial industry’s most important contribution is to channel capital into companies that focus on the green shift and new technology. This is not only important for our customer’s returns, but also for the customer’s desire to contribute to a better world and future, says Arnesen.
He also emphasises the importance of “achieving something positive” when investing funds. It goes hand-in-hand with good results and good returns from the customer.
-There has been a spotlight on, for example, fund products that cover sustainable companies, and there is a much greater demand now than 5 or 10 years ago. Where in the past you may have had to give up returns to invest in sustainable funds, I would say that these days, you have very good opportunities for returns if you choose correctly, and you could also reduce the risk, somewhat, in companies that are most likely to be on the good side of government regulations in the future compared to a number of other industries, says Arnesen.
Arnesen agrees with the hypothesis that Morrow Batteries will be part of a “sustainable cultural change” in Agder. Morrow offers a sought-after product in a market that is in rapid development and which will be even larger in the future. They will also help increase the demand for goods and services delivered on a good green energy storage method for us as consumers.
– Battery technology will definitely be with us in everyday life in the future, and this together with energy storage in general is an incredibly exciting field, says Arnesen.
AGDER IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE GLOBAL PUZZLE
Norway benefits from standing along side the rest of the world in the green shift and Arnesen is confident that Agder will play an important role in this global interaction in the future. He also points out that Arendal and Agder are geopraphically well positioned, in relation to the rest of the country and the rest of the world, and this is very favorable.
– We have a proud shipping history. And in many ways we serve as a maritime hub to the industry, both nationally and internationally. I think this is an advantage for Agder as a region. Although shipping is not as large here today as it used to be, much of the infrastructure is still the same, namely a well-designed hub, which can and should be utilised in the future. Gard is an excellent example of a company with local maritime roots, and at the same time the company is of a world-leading size, attracts a very competent workforce, and they are using this position to focus on sustainable solutions, he says.
Arnesen considers our region as uniquely cooperative and he believes that Agder has many good competitive advantages to offer.
– Agder has proven to be a forward-looking and forward leaning region on many occasions. Several sustainable initiatives have sprung up from our region and Arendal municipality has clearly been ahead and good at turning up when needed. The “battle for the battery factory” is a good example of just that. The impression I have is that businesses in general have a willingness to cooperate, the municipalities are service minded especially when it comes to new, green industry, which I think is unique.
Arnesen is happy that Morrow Batteries is coming to Arendal and Agder. He believes that the company will have a positive effect on the region. A large company such as Morrow will mean that more newly qualified jobseekers, and jobseekers with higher education and long work experience, will want to settle in the region, which is important for both Morrow, and other businesses in Arendal and Agder.
– Hopefully, we will be able to achieve a good interaction between Morrow and the existing industry in various industries,” he says, adding that the conditions are well placed to stimulate an industry such as the battery industry.
YOU GET MORE TIME BY LIVING IN ARENDAL
– One of the nice things about living and working in Arendal, is that when the work day is over, you have easy access to nature and lots of activities, and everything that you need is within a short distance. Logistics are in many ways simpler, which saves us time. For us, of course, proximity to family and friends was also an important factor for moving home. In short, you get more time living in Arendal.
He points out that Arendal also has the world’s best chocolate, namely Heimdal Chokolade.
– It is also worth noting that there is a lot going on in Arendal even though we are not a big city. Arendal has been good at facilitating a broad cultural life. The municipality itself functions almost like a kind of event agency at its best, and with so many good and different events, there is something of interest for everyone to participate in, says Arnesen. You get used to a rich cultural life by living in Oslo or other big cities, but the cultural events offered in Arendal was one of the things that surprised me the most when I moved to the city – a pleasant surprise, he adds.
AGDER IN THE FUTURE
Arendal has a strong focus on the climate and the environment and Arnesen refers to Arendal municipality’s ambitious goal of becoming Norway’s first climate-neutral municipality.
– It shows which direction you are going in, but not least that you dare to aim high, and I would say that it is an inspiration for us who are part of the region, that you dare to think so far ahead. I also think it motivates others to take action.
Arnesen adds that the establishment of a large battery industry in Arendal has positive ripple effects for the residents. He also believes that it will have even greater ripple effects for the next generation “Egder” (someone from Agder) when they choose education and career paths.
– I have two boys aged 2 and 7 – it is clear that securing a future for my boys is my biggest priority. Knowing that Arendal and Agder will now have a Giga establishment in a sustainable industry, and not least that Agder will become “the battery coast”, makes me believe in my sons’ future in Arendal. We are here to stay, Arnesen smiles.