by Karin Schmidt
translated into English by Doris
He fought against Boris Becker, won 6 Grand Slam titles and was leading the world rankings for 72 weeks. Meanwhile the former tennis professional Stefan Edberg works in his own financial management company. In this interview with “The Investment” he explains why investing money is much more different than playing tennis.
How did it happen that you got from a tennis player to a financial professional?
Edberg: As a professional tennis player you earn lots of money within a short time. I earned about 20 million dollars in my 13 years of professional career. During my active time I ceded the investment of my fortune to other people. Especially as a young player you only concentrate on your sport. You practice, eat and sleep, nothing more. But I was always interested in finances. After the end of my career I decided to care alone for it. I started to inform myself, read financial pages in the internet. I wanted to find out which ways there are to invest money.
Have you ever gambled away?
Edberg: I didn’t really lose much money. I’m cautious with investing. But since the dot-com bubble – where I had invested much in stocks – I believe in diversification. In the current crisis this works quite well.
How do you invest your money?
Edberg: I live in Växjö on an own farm with forested area where I lease the fields. I have also bought apartment buildings nearby. I invested much money in corporate bonds, especially from Sweden. In the current international debt crisis I feel more comfortable to give my money to a good Swedish bank instead of investing in consoles.
You invested a part of your fortune in funds of your financial management company “Case Asset Management”.
Edberg: Yes. I established Case in 2004 together with the former Hedgefonds managers Bo Pettersson and Fredrik Svensson. I have know Pettersson for over 20 years as he managed a part of my fortune during the 80s and taught me a lot about money. Now I am allowed to talk as a partner when it concerns decisions of investments. On one side we have the Case funds, which are mainly geared to stocks. On the other side we have Safe Play, which leads the focus on corporate bonds. Fair Play lies in between and mixes funds and corporate bonds. The same for all three products is that we stay with companies from Northern Europe.
Because of the international debt crisis which doesn’t hit the Northern countries that much?
Edberg: That is one of the reasons. But apart from that we see here and especially in Sweden lots of good investment chances. The Swedish Bond-Market is really small compared to the German one. Moreover there are the bonds “over the counter” which means outside of the bourse. You need to have good contacts – and money. Unlike with stocks which you can get for little money you have to pay several hundred thousand euros for bonds. Not everyone can do this and that’s where we see our overvalue.
Who are your investors?
Edberg: Most of all wealthy private persons. One of them is Stefan Persson, president of Hennes & Mauritz, who is coparcener of Case. We administer about 450 million euros right now. Because we want to increase we opened ourselves for smaller purses in the last months. You can now access from 500 euros onwards.
Does this also apply for German investors?
Edberg: The funds are Swedish special funds and therefore we don’t make any advertising for it in Germany. But when someone from Germany wants to invest, it is possible.
Are there character traits of a professional tennis player which help you today with your asset management?
Edberg: As an athlete you are used to work hard, 7 days a week. In addition to that you have discipline and determination. But in comparison tennis is much easier. You have clear rules: there is the baseline and the ball is either in or out. It’s different in financing business. There is more scope, you have to negotiate and depend more on other people. I had to learn all this.
Do you still play today?
Edberg: Yes, every week, but of course on another level as in former times. I love tennis, it is the best way to keep fit.
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