Audur Capital

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Audur Capital (Auður Capital) was a financial service company, founded in 2007 by two Icelandic business women, with the aim of incorporating feminine values into finance. Halla Tomasdottir was Audur’s executive chairman and Kristin Petursdottir was the company CEO.

The company offered wealth management, private equity advice and corporate advice. It attempted to correct what it perceived as a historic lack of balance and diversity in the financial sector. The founders blamed the 2007 financial downturn on high risk behavior, short term orientation and a narrow definition of results which had driven the financial sector for the past years.

Audur managed to preserve the funds of its clients when the Icelandic banks collapsed in October 2008 and was the only Icelandic company that remained financially healthy after that collapse.[citation needed]

In December 2008 Audur announced the launching of BJÖRK, a private equity fund, established by Audur Capital and the renowned musician Björk Guðmundsdóttir, who is an active supporter of entrepreneurship, creative thinking and increased diversity in the Icelandic economy. The aim of the BJÖRK venture fund was to invest in early stage corporations, with high growth potential capitalizing on Iceland's human and/or natural resources, as well as emphasizing sustainability and a triple bottom line.

Audur received significant international attention. The Audur story has been featured by the BBC,[1] New York Magazine,[2] The Guardian,[3] and The Financial Times,[4] among others. Halla Tomasdottir spoke at the 2010 TED Women's conference on her financial philosophy.

Financing with Feminine Values[edit]

According to Halla Tomasdottir, Audur Capital’s former Executive Chairperson, the company’s primary goal was to inject feminine values into Iceland’s financial sector.[5] According to Tomasdottir in her TED Talk in 2010, she and CEO Kristin Petursdottir sought to accomplish this by adhering to four principles: risk awareness, straight talk, emotional capital, and profit with principles. Tomasdottir believes that investors and clients should be fully informed of the risks involved in investments before engaging in them. Audur Capital adhered to a principle of straight talk; clients should have access to both positive and negative aspects and developments in their investments and these should be presented in a way that directly reflects this. Tomasdottir and Petursdottir also believe in emotional capital, asserting that “emotional due diligence is just as valuable as financial due diligence”.[6] Lastly, Audur Capital believed in profits with principles. They called for an expansion of the definition of profit, asserting that financial gain is not the only type of profit to be had.

Tomasdottir asserted that the 2007 financial crisis in Europe and the United States could at least partially be attributed to the fact that these principles were largely ignored within major financial firms; clients were not fully informed of investment risks, negative developments were not presented to clients in a transparent and accurate way, and emotional capital and ethical principles were devalued in the financial sector. Tomasdottir contended that financial sectors globally must have a greater diversity in those that make decisions; for Audur Capital, this meant having more women take part in decision making processes in the financial sector. Halla Tomasdottir argued that including more women in the financial sector and in decision making processes will lead to better decisions, which will help deter other potential financial crises. She stated this is not because women are better than men, but that they are different, and can lend a different perspective, thus leading to better informed responses and solutions.

Merger in 2014[edit]

Audur Capital started its operations in 2007 and merged with the financial services firm Virding in January 2014. The merged company operates under the name Virding.

The Icelandic Competition Authority authorized the merger at the end of 2013[7] as well as the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority in January of 2014.[8]

Virding owns the Audur Capital brand and operates several private equity funds using the "Audur" name.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC News - The women who want to save banking". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "What If Women Ran Wall Street?". NYMag.com. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Ruth Sunderland. "After the crash, Iceland's women lead the rescue". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Financial Times, May 27, 2009
  5. ^ http://www.ted.com/talks/halla_tomasdottir.html TED, November 18, 2013
  6. ^ http://www.ted.com/talks/halla_tomasdottir.html TED, November 18, 2013
  7. ^ http://www.samkeppni.is/media/akvardanir-2013/akvordun_3613_Samruni_Virdingar_og_Audar_Capital.pdf ICA, December 20, 2013
  8. ^ <http://www.fme.is/utgefid-efni/frettir-og-tilkynningar/frettir/nr/2011 FSA, January 22, 2014.

External links[edit]