According to the Norwegian former fund manager at SEB, Sigmund Haaland, the Swedish bank have practice robbed their customers by inflicting them losses at a total of one billion Swedish kroner. Håland accuses SEB of illegal insider trading, frontrunning and systematic violation of the Bank’s internal rules. SEB rejects the accusations.
“I knew that there is great risk associated with being a whistleblower, but I felt that the customers interests were about to be largely disregarded.”
The Norwegian top analyst and fund manager Sigmund Haaland (48), says in a interview with the Norwegian news paper Dagens Næringsliv that his former employee, the Swedish bank SEB, have inflicted losses on their customer that amount to about one billion Swedish kroner.
Mr. Haaland was fired by the top executives at SEB in September last year after he sent a letter to the Bank’s CEO Annika Falkengren to notify her of the violations of the Bank’s internal rules.
“I believe that the SEB-executives serious and systematic violated the Bank’s internal rules to the limits of economic crime, and that this may have caused the consumers an estimated loss of one billion Swedish kronor,” ha says.
Sigmund Haaland believe he was fired because he loudly confronted his boss to tell her that he was about to introduce changes in fund management practices that were inconsistent with the Bank’s internal rules, and probably also with the Swedish legislation.
“I knew that there is great risk associated with being a whistleblower, but I felt that the customers interests were about to be largely disregarded. Besides, the SEB internal guidelines encourage employees to notify their boss in cases like this.”
According to the news paper, that has been given access to the 12-page letter that Haaland sent to SEB’s CEO Falkengren on September 29. 2009, Haaland accuse the leadership at the major Swedish bank of three critical conditions:
* To have robbed their German customers for about SEK 200 – 300 millions.
* To have changed the European team’s management strategy under pressure from its largest customer and the bank’s subsidiary company, so that other customers probably lost several hundred millions kroner.
* For possible violations of the insider trading rules.
The SEB European Team, where Haaland worked as a fund manager, consists of eight funds with total capital of 1.5 billion euros.
It’s common among the European funds that they have approximately the same portfolio and investment strategy.
“I was told that the German fund systematically was being frontrunned by the other funds. When they decided to buy a share, all the funds bought – except for the German – shares first. When these had completed their investments, often resulting in a rise in the company’s share price, the German fund began to buy. The consequence was that the German fund usually paid more for the stocks than the other funds. Similarly, when managers wanted to sell down or out of a share, they sold to the other funds first before sales was given to the German fund with the result that the German fund had to sell at a lower stock price than the others, “ Mr. Haaland explains.
Sigbjørn Haaland was fired with two months salary.
“I spent the next few months to find out how much damage SEB has caused its customers. My estimate is that the violations of the Bank’s internal policies have inflicted extra costs on consumers at a total of around one billion Swedish kronor.”
Mr. Haaland have never received any answer from SEB-CEO Annika Falkenberg to his letter.
Dagens Næringsliv writes that SEB rejects Sigbjørn Haaland accusations. Director of Information Viveka Hirdman-Ryrberg says the bank has conducted an internal investigation on the basis of Håland letter, but they did not find anything that supported his allegations.
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