Bergen is an historic Hanseatic city with a long history in trade. Investment and finance have always been an important part of the city’s vibrant business and industry. In addition, a strong professional environment at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration has contributed to make banking and finance a driving force for the city’s business and industry.
Shipping, fisheries and in recent years oil and gas have formed the basis for the development of a very strong financial sector in Bergen. Educational institutions such as the University of Bergen and the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration have provided excellent added-value intellectual capital on many levels, and strong support of local and regional government institutions have laid the groundwork for a finance sector in the Bergen region that is solid, stable and an important employer.
Creating Commercial Activity
The strong background in banking and finance is an important impetus for the creation of new commercial activity in the region. Banks with a high level of local activity are close to the market and familiar with the companies, industries and activities in the region, thus they can act as strong partners for investors who want to build up new business here.
Norway’s largest bank, DnB Nor, has its headquarters for investments in Bergen. Handelsbanken is one of the largest financial corporations in the Nordic region, with over 10,000 employees and 700 offices, responsible for management of nearly NOK 2 billion, and Nordea has major offices in the city and a high level of regional activity.
A great deal of financial activities also provides fertile ground for new business within the sector. In 2000 Skandiabanken was founded in Bergen as the first internet-based bank in the country. During the last few years, several strong professional groups for the management of funds have also been established. Among others, Holbergfondene has built up one of Norway’s most recognized environments for funds management.
The energy sector is a vital and thriving financial element of this region in growth. Bergen Energi was established in 1991 as the first independent energy brokerage house in a new and unique energy market. The company’s 150 employees are experienced in systems, products and expertise for optimizing energy purchases, offering high-quality services to customers of the growing Norwegian energy market.
Bergen has Norway’s largest cluster for insurance. Vital, Norway’s largest privately owned life and pension insurance company, operates its head office at the district Fyllingsdalen west of the city centre. A stone’s throw away, the Danish insurance giant Tryg Vesta has operated its Norwegian headquarters here for many years.
The financial cluster is also characterized by a number of local savings banks that want to participate in value creation in the city and the region, some with activities all over the western part of Norway. This stable, secure and innovative financial environment ensures that investors feel that their money is well-placed in the Bergen region.