History of SKAGEN
Specialising in global equity and fixed income funds, SKAGEN Funds has over the past few decades grown to become a leading Scandinavian independent fund manager.
Founded by friends - for friends and family
Kristoffer Stensrud, Tor Dagfinn Veen and Åge K. Westbø founded Stavanger Fondsforvaltning AS in order to invest the savings of their friends and family. They all came from different backgrounds in the financial industry but agreed on one thing: a belief that things could be done differently and better.
They launched their first fund in December 1993 – the then Norwegian/global equity fund SKAGEN Vekst – and it quickly attracted 448 unit holders and NOK 20 million under management. The name SKAGEN was inspired by the street in the Norwegian town of Stavanger where the head office is still located.
SKAGEN built up its offering slowly and with an eye on the long haul. Read about SKAGEN’s historical milestones.
SKAGEN has grown to become one of the largest independent fund managers in Scandinavia. An entrepreneurial spirit, openness and trust have always been the company's watchwords – values that hark back to a time when the founders literally sat down and ate dinner with their customers.
A value-based investment philosophy – a vision of identifying attractively priced companies with potential for repricing, and a passion for global investments – remains the cornerstone of SKAGEN's equity and fixed income funds.
In addition to Stavanger, you can contact us in our offices in Stockholm and Gothenburg, Copenhagen, London and Amsterdam.
Approachable and straightforward
SKAGEN founder Kristoffer Stensrud comes from a family of hoteliers and believed that the financial industry should have the same focus on hospitality.
This is at the heart of the company's ambitious vision:
To be the best fund manager in the world when it comes to risk-adjusted return, service and communication.
"I inherited my love of hospitality from my paternal grandmother. Everyone is welcome at the table. We never judge by appearances. We have been constantly guided by an extreme focus on democratic methods," says SKAGEN founder Kristoffer Stensrud.
Shared interests with clients
From day one, the founders have insisted that the credibility of the company must be based on shared interests between clients and SKAGEN. For that very reason they decided that:
- Fees charged by the fund would depend on the manager’s success at outperforming. In other words, when customers obtain favourable returns relative to the benchmark index, SKAGEN charges a higher fee up to a defined ceiling. And vice versa.
- SKAGEN’s portfolio managers, along with other employees and founders, invest their own money in the company’s equity and fixed income funds.
- The company is independent of banks and other financial institutions. Independence brings the freedom to make the kinds of decisions that most benefit customers.
Where others fear to tread
Another typical SKAGEN characteristic is the ability to act and think for oneself. When the market flocks to certain companies, SKAGEN’s managers hunt for bargains elsewhere.
"Perhaps other fund managers have misunderstood a company’s ambitions, unrealised value, etc. The most thrilling challenge is to find high-quality companies that are unpopular or that do business in sectors that are currently out of favour," says Kristoffer Stensrud.
“The investment industry focuses too much on numbers. Companies are living organisms that grow and have a vision. Understanding the underlying thought processes is very important. People perform, not numbers. That said, numbers should obviously reflect success and be reliable, says SKAGEN founder Kristoffer Stensrud. ”