Fast pace and many meetings in Singapore
Robert Fröjd is the regional manager for Nasdaq in South East Asia and Australia. He has been based in Singapore for ten years. He is also an alumnus of Uppsala University.
The lift stops on the 17th floor of one of the skyscrapers at Collyer Quay in Singapore’s business district. This is where Robert Fröjd works with a view of the Singapore River flowing into Marina Bay and the spectacular buildings on the other side of the water. He has been managing director of Nasdaq in Singapore for ten years. He is responsible for finding and looking after new clients in a region which stretches from Afghanistan to New Zealand.
“There is a lot of travel involved. I am often away two to three days a week meeting clients and colleagues in various countries. It is a very exciting job. I meet many interesting and important people, but all the travel can be somewhat tiring.”
Nasdaq is an international stock exchange operator providing IT infrastructure and trading systems for the world’s leading exchanges and clearing houses. When the company started operations in Singapore in 2003, it had only 10 employees in the region. It now has over 800.
“I came here in 2005 and we have grown an incredible amount since then,” says Robert Fröjd.
But let rewind a little: Robert Fröjd is an Uppsala University alumnus and has a degree in International Economics and French from 1992. He is from Norrköping and after graduating from high school, he started work at the stocks and shares department of the savings bank then called Första Sparbanken in Stockholm.
“It was actually by pure chance that I moved to Stockholm and started working with shares. But things went well for me and that is probably why I later decided to study business and economics.”
At age 19, he was given responsibility for one of the bank’s business areas involving share trading. After a break to do his military service, however, he took study leave and began studying economics and French at Uppsala University.
The degree programme meant spending a term studying at a French business school. In addition to learning French, Robert Fröjd also met his future wife, Nathalie, while in France.
“We switched for a time between Sweden and France while we completed our studies and Nathalie was also an exchange student in Uppsala for a term.
Robert Fröjd spent some years in the finance sector and was then self-employed. At the beginning of the new millennium, he was given a job at OMX as sales manager for South East Asia. OMX and Nasdaq merged in 2007 and their business activities in the region expanded considerably.
“The region has undergone incredible development and this rubs off on you. People here have a positive attitude and see opportunities.”
His job is fast paced and personal relationships are important for success.
“People treat each other with respect and courtesy and personal meetings have considerable importance. I believe that as a Swede, it is fairly easy to adapt and to work with people from many different cultures.”
Everyday life in Singapore is relatively easy to manage. The service level is high and most things work well,” says Robert Fröjd.
“I like it here very much. Singapore is a large multicultural city but a very small country. There are good schools and it is safe for children to move around by themselves.”
The only things Robert Fröjd really misses from Sweden, apart from his family and some friends, are the countryside and the change of the seasons.
“I don’t really like the climate here. Singapore is one degree north of the equator and it is always little too hot and humid. So even if we have a long winter at home, it is something I actually miss.”
The small size of Singapore is something else that makes itself felt after a while.
“You have to be fairly ingenious to find something new to do. But, on the other hand, it is easy to take your family with you and go to a nearby island paradise.
Although he very much enjoys being in Singapore, Robert Fröjd does not see his long-term future there.
“I will not retire in Singapore, but it is a very interesting place to work with all the varied cultures and people you meet.”
FACTS - Robert Fröjd
Name: Robert Fröjd
Family: wife Nathalie and four children
Background: MSc in Business and Economics specialising in French from Uppsala University.
Makes me happy: Helping others
Makes me angry: Injustice
Last book read: No One Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez