Higher demand for our services
2020 was a year that will have impact on people and companies for a long time to come. We might not see the beginning of the end of the pandemic that has swept across the world until 2021. The pandemic also had profound impact on Carnegie, mainly affecting how we interact with our clients and each other. The economic sector in which we operate proved to be relatively resilient, even in a pandemic. The swift and powerful actions taken by governments and central banks around the world are an important reason that the consequences on the real economy and, by extension, the financial market, were less serious than initially feared. Viewed across the entire year, activity in our business was very good, although it varied over time and from one segment to the next.
We are continuing to raise our ambitions in the areas of sustainability and diversity. This is critical to maintaining our position as the leading financial adviser in the Nordics.
Activity was high in the equity market during the year and demand for Carnegie’s services rose. Institutions and individuals were very active in the financial markets, while numerous companies were seeking capital. In total, we participated in 86 ECM transactions during the year, more than any other bank in Europe. Of these, 16 were IPOs, double the number in 2019. There was initial negative impact on the M&A market when the pandemic hit, but the market recovered towards the end of the year.
There was strong inflow of clients and assets under management to Private Banking. When the pandemic made face-to-face meetings impossible, we quickly switched to digital communication with our clients, which proved successful. There was a huge thirst for knowledge and the digital seminars were well-attended. Operating income rose by 26 percent to SEK 3.3 billion while profit after net financial items grew by 67 percent to SEK 836 million. Our strong performance can be attributed to factors including higher market activity and our investments over several years in solidifying Carnegie’s position as the most full-coverage provider in Nordic equities, research and corporate finance.
Björn Jansson, CEO