Tag Archives: Financial Forum

AmCham Financial Forum: IPO Frenzy and Transparent Compensation

AmCham Financial Forum: IPO Frenzy and Transparent Compensation

Leaders gathered at KPMG Norway’s downtown offices for AmCham’s quarterly Financial Forum. Reflecting on his own observations over the past years’ “Norwegian IPO Frenzy,” our forum was kicked off by Geir Bjørlo, Partner at Corporate Communications. With 100 listings since 2020, the pace has now slowed to only a handful due to current uncertainty.

Oslo Børs is hotter than Nasdaq and London. Oslo Børs holds a unique position internationally and is world-leading within the energy, shipping and seafood sectors, making Norway a preferred country for IPOs – as international stakeholders trust Norway’s financial institutions and methods.

Most of the Norwegian IPOs are related to sustainable investments and “energy capital” considerations. More listings are expected to take place post-summer, with the next window occurring in September through October.

“Uplisting” has been a buzzword over the past 12 months, says Bjørlo, referring to the process of listing an existing public stock on a major exchange. For example, transferring the listing venue from Euronext Growth to the main list on Oslo Børs. Uplisting reflects the company’s growth ambitions and shareholder base while contributing to increased visibility and access to a larger investor audience.

It has been very common for companies going public to announce targets for their projected earnings in 2025 rather than their actual past performance since a lot of companies still don’t have meaningful revenues. This practice is not usual on the NYSE for example.

Bjørlo walked participants through the “IPO toolbox,” illustrating how to build a trustworthy and credible company, as well as how to avoid post-listing value destruction. “ESG reporting is where accounting was in the 50’s,” suggesting there is still much work to be done in making ESG reporting more sophisticated.

Norway continues to be a preferred country for investments in seafood, shipping and energy, with the latter now branching to renewables in addition to “traditional” energy markets.

Presenters

Geir Bjørlo – Partner

Simona Vasile – Tax & Legal Partner 

CC powerpoint graphic
Image: Corporate Communications

Empowering Talent: Structure, Values, Technology Enabled Processes, and Equitable and Transparent Compensation

Simona Vasile, KPMG Tax & Legal Partner and the Head of Technology & Innovation at KPMG Law, presented trends and methodologies on current pain points of talent retention, gender pay gaps, how the remote workforce is reshaping policy decisions, and compensation benefit strategies while preserving value.

Following the pandemic, many companies still allow their employees to work remotely, however, making sure the employees stay compliant becomes a bigger liability. According to Vasile, “the ability to work remotely looks amazing from the talent perspective but can be an absolute headache for companies.” For employees looking to work from another country, this could mean that they need to be paid the local salary and pay taxes in the country they work from. Vasile also notes that there are differences between industries. Tech companies generally allow their employees more remote work than other industries.

Companies have tried to incentivize employees to stay in their positions (and some at their desks, or at least their country) through a variety of perks such as travel, bikes, and meals, but each incentive requires many layers of administration for the company. Many companies therefore opt for monetary bonuses according to Vasile.

Vasile also shared innovative technology insights using automation, AI and data analytics to both better understand employee preferences and customize the employee experience by creating seamless interactions with collaborators and partners. One such tool that KPMG uses is an Employment Methodology Framework to evaluate companies on aspects including employee retention, diversity and gender balance, and employee compensation.

Image: KPMG

About the AmCham Financial Forum

The AmCham Financial Forum is a platform that provides member financial leads the opportunity to interact, share best practices, and learn from each other – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway. 

Read more about our Financial Forum and please contact Madeleine.brekke@amcham.no for interest in future meetings.

AmCham Financial Forum: Bitcoin for Business and the CFO’s Role in Resilience

AmCham Financial Forum: Bitcoin for Business and the CFO’s Role in Resilience

Presenters

Leaders from AIGAmerican Express, Amgen, Badenoch + Clark, BI Norwegian Business School, Citi, Gard, Helly Hansen, Interimleder, KPMGKvamme AssociatesSparebank1, Raise Gruppen (IC Scandinavia), and Rud Pedersen gathered in person and virtually at AmCham Norway’s downtown offices for our quarterly Financial Forum.

Magnus Jones, Nordic Blockchain & Innovation Lead at EY Tax & Law, led with “money equals trust, and without trust there is no value.” The same holds true for cryptocurrency, as Jones illustrated with Dogecoin – both before and after Elon Musk tweeted about it. However, money also equals politics and there has been an intense push for sound regulatory frameworks to be set.

After providing a high-level overview of bitcoin and cryptocurrency and what needs to be understood as it relates to businesses, Jones urged financial leaders not to rush, but to prepare for where their organizations will inevitably be heading. “All companies will touch bitcoin going forward. All major central banks are evaluating crypto.”

Jones also shared expert insights on the demographics of bitcoin users, the convenience of use, traceability, criminal activity, energy use and how companies can best prepare themselves (including within the Metaverse). Jones illustrated examples of how EY has assisted several transatlantic companies within the crypto industry. 

Magnus Jones – Nordic Blockchain & Innovation Lead

Dennis Larsen – Managing Partner

Sustainability as a Business Model

Reputation Inc Managing Partner Dennis Larsen spoke on the CFO’s role within sustainability, from reporting to financial resilience. He clearly explained how the CFO should be firmly involved in the purpose of the organization, protecting brand value and reputation as a company’s most valuable business assets. “The one that holds the purse strings is the one who influences the priority.”

Reputation Inc assists organizations in successfully navigating reputational opportunities and challenges, while leveraging purposeful actions that make a material difference, winning trust, respect, and admiration from stakeholders. Although reputation dynamics are unique to each organization, two key drivers are sustainability and culture, according to Larsen.

In many cases, sustainability leads report to corporate communications departments, when they should be directly linked to CFO’s. For their part, “CFO’s should act as sustainability strategists, accelerators, stewards and analysts.”

Larsen shared multiple transformational examples, including from Unilever, Heineken, BlackRock and Novartis, with the latter embedding trust into their KPI’s to become the most trusted pharma company. As Larsen put it, “it is not a sustainability model, it is a business model.”

About the AmCham Financial Forum

The AmCham Financial Forum is a platform that gives financial leaders from AmCham’s member companies the opportunity to interact, share best practices, and learn from each other – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway. For interest in participating, please contact Madeleine.Brekke@amcham.no

AmCham Financial Forum: IPO Frenzy and Transparent Compensation

Leaders gathered at KPMG Norway’s downtown offices for AmCham’s quarterly Financial Forum. Reflecting on his own observations over the past years’ “Norwegian IPO Frenzy,” our forum was kicked off by Geir Bjørlo, Partner at Corporate Communications. With 100 listings since 2020, the pace has now slowed to only a handful due to current uncertainty.

Read More »

AmCham Financial Forum: Supply Chain Resilience & Financial Risk Developments

AmCham Financial Forum: Supply Chain Resilience & Financial Risk Developments

Leaders from AIG, Badenoch & Clark, CMS Kluge, Crawford & Company, DNB, EY, GE Healthcare, Honeywell, KPMG, Kvamme Associates, Roche, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Thommessen gathered in person at AIG’s downtown offices for AmCham’s Financial Forum.

Reflecting on supply chain resilience, the forum was kicked off by Geir Hetland, Head of Finance at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Returning from a two-year stint at the company’s Carlsbad, California facility in 2020, Hetland was faced with an instant backlog that February requiring the company to kick into “COVID speed.”

Thermo Fisher needed to quickly reallocate resources, expand production capacity and customer management to meet the sudden increase in demand, and minimize disruption in the value chain. This included companywide recruitment, adding 40 employees in Oslo alone.

Thermo Fisher reversed regular cost savings parameters to investment and rapid approval, meaning that decisions that usually took six months needed a next day turnaround. Hetland also outlined unique cross-industry collaborations to address rapid plastic scaling, as well as large scale infection testing in partnership with US universities.

AIG‘s Cyber Practice Leader Nordics & Financial Lines Manager, Tine Simonsen, joined virtually from Denmark to provide financial risk insights within several key areas, including the impact of COVID on the insurance market.

As one of the largest cyber insurance teams in the Nordics, AIG’s award-winning cyber solutions help their clients better understand and address cyber risk, including proactive services to address weaknesses – including vulnerability scanning, malicious IP blocking, and cyber prevention training.

IT criminals have quickly taken advantage of work from home regulations, with approximately 90% of cyber claims being ransom related. Simonsen detailed changes in cyber insurance and risk assessment, noting that particularly cyber decisions have moved from the IT department to the board level.

An engaging discussion ensued, with forum participants eagerly assessing risk, forecasting methods, corporate responsibility, and increased transparency throughout supply chains.

Geir Hetland – Head of Finance

Tine Simonsen – Cyber Practice Leader Nordics & Financial Lines Manager

About the AmCham Financial Forum

The AmCham Financial Forum is a platform that gives financial leaders the opportunity to interact, share best practices, and learn from each other – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway. For interest in participating, please contact Madeleine.Brekke@amcham.no.

AmCham Financial Forum: IPO Frenzy and Transparent Compensation

Leaders gathered at KPMG Norway’s downtown offices for AmCham’s quarterly Financial Forum. Reflecting on his own observations over the past years’ “Norwegian IPO Frenzy,” our forum was kicked off by Geir Bjørlo, Partner at Corporate Communications. With 100 listings since 2020, the pace has now slowed to only a handful due to current uncertainty.

Read More »

AmCham Financial Forum: Operationalizing Analytics & Effective Compliance Programs

AmCham Financial Forum: Operationalizing Analytics & Effective Compliance Programs

On the one-year anniversary of the lockdown in Norway, financial leads from Schjødt, BAT, Citi, Connectum Capital Management, Crawford & Company, Escalon Services, IBM, KPMG, Microsoft, OSM Aviation Management, Raise Gruppen, Roche, SAS Institute, Sonitor, and Wavetrain Systems gathered virtually for the first Financial Forum of 2021.

Operationalizing Analytics: Reacting Faster

The past year’s unforeseen events left many financial leaders with data and models that were no longer relevant. The ability to pivot existing processes proved vital to staying ahead. SAS Institute’s Ina Conrado shed light on the importance of operational analytics and how companies can use data to react quickly and confidently in response to changing data.

Source: Ina Conrado, SAS Institute

Presenters

Ina Conrado Advanced Analytics & AI Advisor

SAS FINAL

Helge Kvamme – Senior Strategic Partnership Manager

As an Advanced Analytics and AI Advisor, Conrado has had the opportunity to work with a variety of industry supply chains, amongst them healthcare, retail, financial, and the food and beverage sectors. When the country shut down a year ago – leading to major changes in consumer behavior and the economy – the models that were relied upon to make decisions became obsolete. In the case of credit scoring models, a reevaluation of risk assignment and approval of loans was needed. By having an analytical framework, it becomes easier to adapt and at times predict change.

Data is the new gold, but not before its extracted and refined. The value comes from the decisions we make based on the data.

Ina Conrado, SAS Institute

Conrado also touched on the different roadblocks to efficient dataflow, with major challenges being communication, collaboration, inability to scale and a lack of governance of analytic assets.

Integrity Breaches & Effective Compliance Programs

Helge Kvamme of Kvamme Associates shared his experience in international investigations, covering integrity breaches through his various leadership roles within law enforcement (including Kripos and Økokrim) as well as at PwC and law firm Selmer. He is also the co-founder of the Oslo Anti-Corruption Conference.

Kvamme detailed the hallmarks of an effective compliance program as well as Kvamme Associates’ unique corporate investigations model. The six-step process is designed to fully diagnose underlying issue(s) and to prevent future compliance breeches. Investigation results are used to building a stronger culture of trust and increased transparency. Kvamme also endorsed the US Department of Justice’s 2020 Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s 2020 resource guide.

Source: Helge Kvamme, Kvamme Associates

Over the past year, Kvamme has witnessed an increase in misconduct investigations and a positive focus on financial integrity of sustainability projects. He highlighted the lack of focus on the supply side of corruption, bribes often being paid by non-corrupt countries and well-known companies.

About the Finacial Forum

AmCham’s Financial Forum is a platform that gives financial leaders the opportunity to interact, share best practices, and learn from each other – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway. 

Our Q2 Financial Forum is in the works – for interest in participating, please contact Madeleine.Brekke@amcham.no!

Previous Finacial Forums

AmCham Financial Forum: IPO Frenzy and Transparent Compensation

Leaders gathered at KPMG Norway’s downtown offices for AmCham’s quarterly Financial Forum. Reflecting on his own observations over the past years’ “Norwegian IPO Frenzy,” our forum was kicked off by Geir Bjørlo, Partner at Corporate Communications. With 100 listings since 2020, the pace has now slowed to only a handful due to current uncertainty.

Read More »

AmCham Financial Forum: Evolving Advice & Partnerships

AmCham Financial Forum: Evolving Advice & Partnerships

AmCham Norway’s Financial Forum gathered virtually last week for the final session of 2020. Special member presenter Richard Stott, founding partner and CEO at Connectum Capital Management, outlined how financial advice is changing in light of the “Norwegian dilemma” within saving and investment culture.

With 25+ years of experience, Stott expertly compared traditional financial advice – where investors relied exclusively upon bank, insurance company and fund manager guidance – to evolved, forward-looking relationships between independent, specialized advisors and increasingly well-informed clients. “No one truly understands the complexity of financial markets. If uncertainty didn’t exist, returns wouldn’t be possible,” he iterated.

Forum participants eagerly engaged Stott on OTP risk profiles, ESG investments, state vs. personal savings reliance, and reputable Norwegian market resources throughout the session. Currently, Connectum is the only investment advisory firm in Norway certified by the Center for Fiduciary Excellence, which conducts third party audit of investment advisers in accordance with global standards.

Presenters

Richard Stott

Founding Partner and CEO

Julie Hellberg

Senior Strategic Partnership Manager

Kathy Chang

Head of Fintech Partnerships

DNB's Strategic Partnerships

In contrast to Stott’s insights, DNB’s Senior Strategic Partnership Manager Julie Hellberg and Head of Fintech Partnerships Kathy Chang then outlined how their team assesses potential partners in accordance with the bank’s five verticals and strategic models. Fellow banks, fintech companies, big tech, startups and non-financial firms are each potential DNB vendors, distributors, co-developers, co-owners and M&A prospects.

Detailing financial/tech industry partnerships and overlaps, both within DNB and externally, the pair strongly agreed that increasingly informed customers – combined with enhanced financial services price transparency – means intensified competition. “Banks’ significant infrastructure,” noted one participant, is an irrefutable and enduring competitive advantage.

About the Finacial Forum

The AmCham Financial Forum is a platform that gives financial leaders the opportunity to interact, share best practices, and learn from each other – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway. 

Our next Financial Forum is currently being planned – for interest in participating, please contact Madeleine Brekke.

Previous Finacial Forums

AmCham Financial Forum: IPO Frenzy and Transparent Compensation

Leaders gathered at KPMG Norway’s downtown offices for AmCham’s quarterly Financial Forum. Reflecting on his own observations over the past years’ “Norwegian IPO Frenzy,” our forum was kicked off by Geir Bjørlo, Partner at Corporate Communications. With 100 listings since 2020, the pace has now slowed to only a handful due to current uncertainty.

Read More »

AmCham Financial Forum – Outsourcing & Fintech

AmCham Financial Forum – Outsourcing & Fintech

AmCham Norway’s fully subscribed Financial Forum convened its October session in hybrid fashion at both our downtown Oslo office and via Microsoft Teams.

Escalon Co-Founder Sarah Lerche commenced the collaborative, cross-industry session by outlining critical factors for success when outsourcing in an increasingly digital landscape. Chief among these criteria – the importance of relationship management and communications, both during the onboarding process and for the duration of the engagement.

With Escalon’s CFO, payroll, HR, and accounting service offerings – closing over 1 200 books each month – Lerche underscored the importance of concise contracting and clear designation of clients’ responsible contacts. “Set responsibilities early on and document everything!”

Presenters

Sarah Lerche

Co-Founder

Camilla Wollan

Partner

Innovation in the Financial Space

Following up on Lerche’s financial automation insights was DLA Piper Partner Camilla Wollan. Focusing upon current and future trends, Wollan expertly mapped the Norwegian fintech space – both in terms of players and evolving policy impacts. Emphasizing that “Norwegian law is technology neutral” as an advantage for local, nimble businesses, Wollan went on to concede that “too many Norwegian fintech companies are not internationally oriented.”

She noted that COVID-19 has forced banks to develop new solutions for increased digital interaction with customers, with a focus on cost-efficiency rather than design. Cashless payment solutions, for example, have been essential during the pandemic and the threshold for payment without confirmation has increased. The threat of cyber security breaches and need for security measures, therefore, has also increased. “Industry – regulator collaboration is key to fintech success,” observed Wollan.

The wider group then shared trends from their respective industries, along with predictions on what will come next. Forum participants included senior finance representatives from AbbVie, Accenture, AIG, American Shipping Co.CitiConnectum Capital ManagementDiscovery Networks Norway, Fast SolutionsGIEKIBMKPMGOSM AviationRaise GruppenSonitor and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

About the Financial Forum

The AmCham Financial Forum is a platform that gives financial leaders the opportunity to interact, share best practices, and learn from each other – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway. Our December Financial Forum is currently being planned – for interest in participating, please contact Madeleine Brekke.

AmCham Financial Forum: International Learnings, Values & Principles

AmCham Financial Forum: International Learnings, Values & Principles

“With days normally filled with execution, it’s good to take a step back and think about what’s important.” So began special guest Bjørn Eide’s reflective presentation to peers during AmCham’s latest Financial Forum. Eide, VP of Finance at Norwegian big data firm Cognite, openly shared his most important lessons learned, having led financial teams in India, the Philippines, and Canada before returning to Oslo last autumn.

“Honor and integrity, above all else,” are what have guided Eide through his 9-year gambit of international financial department leadership challenges and successes. Though familiar, the return to Norway has not been without its surprises – especially within recruiting, divergent perspectives and professional passion, according to Eide.

Now well into the COVID-19 cycle, several Forum participants then went on to illustrate how their respective industries were faring. Macrotrends, pending Norwegian legislation, newly developed technologies and reworked revenue streams were all on the virtual discussion table.

About the Financial Forum

AmCham’s Financial Forum is a platform that provides cross-industry financial leads the opportunity to share best practices and have open discussions amongst peers – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway.  Through roundtable discussions and engaging, interactive workshops, member participants delve into real world financial operations challenges.

Please contact us for interest in participating in future Forums.

AmCham Financial Forum: Ongoing COVID-19 Challenges & Adjustments for All

AmCham Financial Forum: Ongoing COVID-19 Challenges & Adjustments for All

AmCham’s latest Financial Forum was convened virtually last week with mainstay forum leads from 24SevenOffice, BAT, IBM, KPMG, OSM Aviation Management, Raise Gruppen, and Sonitor in attendance.

The concentrated open-exchange session featured candid exchange on remote financial department workflow and resource engagement, forecasting through the remainder of 2020 and beyond, shifting US and Norwegian business regulations, and internal/external supplier and customer credit processes.

Atop participants’ forecasting agendas were currency exchange rates and hedging arrangements, with several financial leads emphasizing the criticality of current cash reserves. Many noted the varying impact of COVID-19 on their respective business lines, impacted both negatively and positively in some instances. Long-term fixed costs, international supply chains and customer payment delays were addressed as key joint concerns.

While financial leads increasingly dedicate their attention to evolving government guidelines and processes, the consensus was that Norwegian guidance is relatively straightforward and agile, while at times less so for their respective US operations.

Join Us!

In response to such government guideline challenges, AmCham – together with Innovation Norway, SelectUSA and partners – will co-host a dedicated session on COVID-19 relief packages for the Norwegian American business ecosystem on Wednesday, May 13th at 17:00 Oslo time. Please join us!

About the Financial Forum

AmCham’s Financial Forum is a platform that provides cross-industry financial leads the opportunity to share best practices and have open discussions amongst peers – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway.  Through roundtable discussions and engaging, interactive workshops, member participants delve into real world financial operations challenges.

Please contact us for interest in participating in future forums.

AmCham Financial Forum – January 2020

AmCham Financial Forum - January 2020

AmCham welcomed financial leads from Accenture, AIG, GIEK, Harvey Nash, IBM, Kluge, KPMG, Manpower, OSM Aviation, Pfizer, Sonitor, TGI Friday’s, and Verizon to Raise Gruppen‘s downtown Oslo offices for the first AmCham Financial Forum of 2020.

The Power of Hair - What Business Are We Really In?

Raise Gruppen CEO Christinah Nicolaisen and group CFO Camilla Hem started off the forum with an overview of the company, focusing on how their services and products have evolved and diversified over time – a business transformation that has not only helped the company thrive in an increasingly competitive market, but also successfully make the jump to the United States.

“We don’t simply talk about haircuts, but rather something that defines and builds confidence. We’re not just in the hair and skin care business, we’re in the identity business,” noted Nicolaisen.

Hem then walked participants through the financial, HR, and branding challenges Raise Gruppen is encountering as they continue to expand stateside. The presentation underscored how important it is for financial leads to understand the entirety of their businesses when undergoing expansion in a foreign market.

Digitalization and Automation – Where to Start?

OSM Aviation CFO Anders Bakken then led a roundtable discussion on the importance of people in developing financial systems to cope with rapid growth, sharing perspectives from OSM’s own rapid international expansion.

Bakken’s insights resonated with many of those in attendance, who noted that they also found the development of process-driven strategies with clearly defined outcomes as a critical component in successfully implementing digital strategies. In this regard, noted one participant, Scandinavia is at the forefront of adopting such strategies – a positive note for continued Norwegian competitiveness in the sector.

Discussion then addressed the importance of recruiting talent with a passion for change, dedicated professionals that understand the ins and outs of digital solutions on a global scale. “It’s all about people,” proclaimed Bakken, before going on to note younger, less experienced workers who are passionate about innovation can be more valuable than older, more experienced workers less open to change and adaptation.

AmCham would like to thank Raise Gruppen for graciously hosting and facilitating this instalment of our Financial Forum. We look forward to our next forum gathering, which will focus upon outsourcing  and the importance of connectivity within the financial industry.

About the Financial Forum

The AmCham Financial Forum is a platform that gives financial leaders the opportunity to interact, share best practices, and learn from each other – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway. Our Q2 Financial Forum is in the works – for interest in participating, please contact amcham@amcham.no.