With roughly SKr600 billion ($59.7 billion; €57.3 billion) in assets, Skandia Mutual Life Insurance is no small fry. Its asset management unit is viewed as an influential and thoughtful LP with deep pockets.
Daniel Winther, its head of of private equity and infrastructure, recently spoke with affilifate publication Private Equity International about a range of topics, including reporting on diversity, equity and inclusion. It is an area that Winther believes some measures are proving counterproductive.
“For a European, it seems like a very American approach to drive equality,” he notes, adding that Excel templates that encourage GPs to disclose employees’ skin colour and ethnicity are counterproductive. Winther cites one template that included a category for Alaskan Indian Native as a step too far. “They try to break down all those minorities. In Sweden, it’s prohibited by law to track people’s skin colour. You can’t do it. It’s breaking the law.”
Have industry efforts at promoting DE&I gone too far? “It’s shooting completely in the wrong direction,” says Winther. His own team comprises six men and two women and, in a recent recruitment process, he says he focused on the “best CVs” as opposed to specific ethnicities, gender or sexual orientations.
“I’m not in favour of hard targets. I’m for creating equal opportunities, supporting women in the midst of their career when they have a child, supporting female forums where they can network and build networks together. But I’m not in favour of managing the decimals on the outcome side of things. I think it’s counterproductive in the long run.”