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Helping companies through their transitions for a more sustainable world

Robert Van Wijk, working in Advisory Sales for Fixed Income, Commodities, and Currencies
Robert Van Wijk, working in Advisory Sales for Fixed Income, Commodities, and Currencies

Robert has been with SEB for just over a year, so he is still relatively new within the company. He works in Fixed Income, Commodities and Currencies Advisory Sales.

What do relationships at SEB look like?

“Being in a client-facing role, no matter where you work, your business is nothing without your clients and the relationships you have with them. At the same time, if you don’t have good internal relationships, it becomes much harder to deliver on the products and services that we provide, and that in turn harms your client relationships because their experience in dealing with you becomes less efficient. Everything depends on those internal relationships.”

What do you feel makes SEB a friendly and welcoming environment?

“SEB London is a relatively small site compared to our other home markets, with the benefit that everyone knows everyone. I couldn’t believe how many people already knew my name and who I was in my first few days at the firm! At the same time, I rely heavily on my international colleagues with support from across the network, most notably in Sweden where we have centralised a lot of our trading, but also from my counterparts at other sites where we do a great job of helping out across borders, particularly when it comes to collaborating on advisory topics.”

What has been the biggest driver of your personal development at SEB?

“I joined SEB with a very clear outlook on my responsibilities and how that fit into SEB London’s growth plans. We’re over a year in and glad to say that so far things have exceeded expectations. I’ve been able to combine bringing in some different experience while at the same time picking up a lot of new skills as I broadened my role, so you could say it has been mutually beneficial. I’ve been able to get involved more in the business development side too, both in terms of client strategy as well as product development.”

How do you feel challenges create opportunities at SEB?

“SEB is very selective in the type of business we do, in terms of clients, products, and markets. We know what we’re good at, but within that there’s a lot of space to innovate where it makes sense. In the UK, SEB is a relatively new entrant, but we’ve got ambitious growth plans and we’re willingly competing with the other big banks around the world. This can be viewed as a challenge, but it also gives us the opportunity to be the best in class, constantly innovating to stay relevant.”

What role does SEB have in positively impacting society?

“We have some very ambitious targets when it comes to decarbonising our banking footprint, especially towards the energy sector. In addition to redirecting capital to best-in-class performers and lower emissions alternatives, we support the energy transition through our commodities offering, which has been particularly topical this past year: runaway inflation, energy crises, electrification and so on. We’re able to accompany our clients and their organisations through these challenging times while providing advice on how to change their ways in order to meet our requirements and goals on environmental and broader societal impacts. We want to help companies through their transitions in order to lead to a more sustainable world.”

What is something you feel is on the horizon that will be impactful in the world of finance or sustainability?

“A lot of the work we are looking at is SEB’s role in the voluntary carbon markets. We’ve approached carbon offsetting quite cautiously and recognise that carbon removal technologies are going to be really key. SEB is looking for ways to innovate in these commodity markets and financing structures. While these are a few years away from actually becoming operational, we’re trying to be pioneering in that market”

What innovation do you hope is coming in the future?

“I’m not entirely sure what to hope for! More than just hope, I truly believe that while the role of SEB won’t change, namely that we connect people, ideas and capital, if we get our innovation journey right, the products and services we offer, the types of businesses we support and even things like titles and job descriptions will all become unrecognisable from where we are today.