Sweden | Sean George, inclusion to spread sustainable capitalism

He was highly recommended to me for an interview. And I wondered how someone that busy could find time for a “newborn” magazine. Anyhow, we met virtually. And it became very clear how he has become the success he is today.

He is Sean George, Swedish finance person, co-founder and chief investment officer of Hamiltonian GCO, a hedge fund business based in Sweden. We are not talking about a random hedge fund here. It was only created about two years and a half ago, and just reached 100 million dollars in assets.

This is a big deal in the industry. But Sean George is very humble about that. Because, as he puts it, it’s not all about money. Sean George says, “we analyze macro trends in the global economy and see how to invest in companies. We bet in both directions long and short. We invest in European, American businesses but not emerging countries. But we choose to invest in positive impact on environment, companies. We have low to no investment in oil for instance”.

Not a typical “grey suit”

I need to say that, for some reason, I did not Google him before the interview. I didn’t want any spoiler to the experience. And I was inspired to approach him like that. Because, neither the distance nor the poor quality of the network that day (Sean George was in Stockholm – Sweden and I was in Cotonou- Bénin), could alter the charisma of the man, and the strong positive first impression I had. I immediately felt that there was definitely more to what he was telling me about his job.

Mr Sean George is not the typical “cold-grey-suit-finance-guy, who speaks gibberish to us with non-finance educated people. On the contrary, I met a very open person, keen to explain whatever seemed unclear, and paying attention. We quickly left the finance subject to move to leadership and management considerations.

Financing sustainable ventures

I wanted to know why he specifically chose to invest in sustainable businesses. “When I started in 1996, it was a big adventure”. Yes, Sean George’s professional background is with big companies (banks), all over the world. He was already working on environmental Social Governance back then. When he decided to go back to Sweden after travelling the world for business, it was essentially for family considerations. After fruitless job hunting, regardless of his spectacular international pedigree, he decided to be his own man and create his own business, with his own rules.

Hence, further to him paying attention to sustainable environmental businesses to invest in, he is also vigilant about supporting only “positive social impact” activities that help “increase inclusiveness in the HR and recruitment for instance”.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” – Edmund Burke

The particular topic of inclusiveness has become very important to him, not (only) for the obvious reason (Sean George has Caribbean roots). But most certainly, because of the senseless strategic move of leading a business without building on all the competences available.

Sean George was so concerned about the topic, that he started “speaking to the press to make sure people are aware” of the potential financial losses experienced by businesses who do not implement inclusive management. He brings that awareness “using data and not emotion to spread the news”. For Sean George, all business, social and political leaders need to gather forces “using education to help companies understand the importance of diversity and its impact on business performances”. Inclusive management is something intentional, especially in his line of business, were “governance is really a key on investment decision making”.

Of course, we could not avoid the COVID-19 conversation.

I asked Sean George how he saw the future after COVID?

He was confident that we would experience an “acceleration in a certain number of processes (example ZOOM)”. Clearly, it would have been, more expansive, less comfortable, and certainly not so easy to set up and run a meeting with him in Stockholm, and me in Cotonou, without communication’s latest tools. “Technological boom that would have taken 5 more years” have been tested and upgraded within few months, to face the predicaments consecutive to the pandemic. Now, “from operational standpoint, we can work from anywhere in the world”.

What should we take away from that conversation?

In the last few months, “the richer got richer, and the level of social disparity has been highlighted. Our business functioned more than fine through the crisis. So socially we decided to step the ground for social inclusiveness. I’m using my exposure to draw attention on the matter”.

The bottom-line message is literally, “non-inclusion is costing you as a business, as an institution, a lost innovation, lost income etc…”. Sean George is confident that “a lot of European companies are waking up” to that matter. And as far as K-World Magazine is concerned, we want to help raise more awareness on the economic et social potential additional value to be created by inclusive management in businesses.

Retrouvez cet article en français dans le magazine page 20