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Preventing expensive mistakes

Areim is an independent Nordic property owner and fund manager, founded by Leif Andersson in 2003. As a service provider with responsibility for other people's money, Areim has no room for error. Learning as much as possible about both employees and external partners effectively prevents expensive mistakes.

With over 80 employees and offices in London and the Nordic Countries, Areim is a significant player in a capital-intensive arena.

And no matter whether it involves a successful property development or managing sizeable funds for some of the world's leading investors, the result depends on a frictionless and trustworthy collaboration for everyone involved.

“We care about good relationships. In everything we do, we are dependent on surrounding ourselves with good people,” says Areim’s founder, Leif Andersson.

Leif Andersson is the founder and a board member of Areim.

“The overriding focus of Areim’s corporate culture,” he explains, “is doing good business in a good way. There can’t be any cracks in the façade if you want to be trusted. No matter how good and attractive a contract is, in the final analysis you’re still dealing with people.

“As long as the sun is shining, there are no problems,” he adds. “But when you have to deal with problems that do arise, it’s essential that there is a common ethical and moral compass to act from.”

From the earliest days of Areim’s existence, it’s been necessary to carry out thorough investigations into people's background. The company turned to Look Closer following a recommendation from industry peers. Since then, Areim hasn’t felt a need to consider other alternatives, says Andersson.

“When I get in touch with Look Closer they are exceptionally responsive and quick to take action, just as a partner should be,” he explains.

“Consequently, we’ve used them for a number of background checks in connection with both new recruitment and for projects with prospective partners.” The results often provide a tool for in-depth discussions. But they can also lead Areim to walk away from a major deal.

“Of course, you learn a lot about a person after several meetings. But references and background checks are still vital for understanding who it is you are dealing with,” argues Andersson. "And it need not always involve pushing the boundaries of legality. More often than not, it’s circumstances in someone's life that can temporarily affect their judgement, such as divorce or illness.”

A totally unblemished record isn’t always what Areim is looking for, he adds.

“Someone who is very talented and competent, but disorganised, may well be worth investing in,” Andersson explains. “Everyone makes mistakes, and three parking tickets are not a red flag. But 60 parking tickets in a month tells a totally different story.”

Managing other people's money, which in Areim’s case is often in the billions, requires both a high level of responsibility and an obligation to be extremely careful. Andersson sees the cost of a background check as an insurance premium that helps reduce risks.

“In general, we prefer a pleasant approach, but we do not shrink from uncomfortable decisions or firm action when necessary,” he says. “And that's when it's essential to be fully informed.”


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