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Operations- a decisive competitive advantage for the bank

When a customer deal has been sold and booked, Operations takes over and is responsible for all administration and post-trade processes. This is a job that has become increasingly significant over time, not least from the customer’s perspective. “We are not the reason that customers make their first deal with SEB, but certainly why customers continue to do business with us,” says Desirée Johansson, Team Manager in Operations, Structured Trading Services.

Desirée Johansson has good experience of working in Operations. Over six years ago while studying, she interned at SEB and following a Masters in business economics at Stockholm University in 2015 she was employed full-time as Team Member in Commodities Operations. This is where global corporate customers’ commodity trades in different markets are administered.

Many contacts inside and outside the bank

“I think a lot of people who start in Operations see it as a gateway into the bank and then move on to other departments and roles quite quickly. I feel this is a shame since the work here is extremely interesting and varied with a wide platform for networking with adjacent departments, close contact with customers and a unique opportunity to get to know SEB’s products. And you can make a career here,” says Desirée Johansson, who today is Team Manager for two teams in Operations – Commodities Services and Client Services (equities).

Even if Operations works with post-trade processes, that is handles all administration around deals, Desirée Johansson wants to stress that the work of Operations is very much more than traditional back-office.

“We are a big part of the deals. We have daily contact with external customers, counterparties and authorities. Since we are the ones with the administrative skills, other departments often turn to us for advice and recommendations,” says Desirée Johansson.

Our work gives the bank a competitive advantage

“Shrinking margins and higher transaction streams combined with deals and services that are increasingly tailored to customers’ wishes, make the post-trade function ever more important in the competition for customers. Customers must be able to rely on the administration working and make high demands on it being frictionless, digital and immediate. This is why it is often down to us if existing customers continue to do business with us,” she says.

As well as highlighting the function’s importance to the bank and for the business, Desirée Johansson wants to emphasise the advantages of working in Operations.

“It is a part of the bank that is developing all the time and people who stay here and improve their skills have good opportunities to get their ideas heard. It really is a place that promotes improvement initiatives,” she says, and adds that much of the work is carried out in collaboration with the business and several different departments and teams in the bank.

It was also her passion for improvement that led to Desirée Johansson, prior to becoming Team Manager, having a role at SEB as Global Process Expert.

“There I ran and led development projects often in close collaboration with Business Partners such as Front Office and Technology. It could involve adapting the business to regulatory changes or implementing customer-driven digital solutions,” she explains.

And if it was the major opportunities for improvement that led to Desirée Johansson enjoying the role of project leader. Subsequently, it was her wish to coach others and see them develop that resulted in her becoming Team Manager.

A culture that encourages initiative

“Even if being the boss is tough at times, it is also one of the most rewarding positions. Partly because of the varying tasks and situations you are confronted with, but above all, there are few things that beat the feeling of reaching out to your co-workers at a deeper level and being able to inspire, motivate and challenge them to truly grow. It’s cool to watch this happening and know that I have been part of that journey,” says Desirée Johansson, who also takes the opportunity to evaluate the culture that she thinks is characteristic of SEB.

“The culture that permeates not just Operations but the entire bank is one that I think encourages initiative. For someone who has the will and the nerve, the opportunities are there and it is really only you yourself that sets the boundaries,” she says and points out that it is above all the prevailing culture at SEB that leads her to believe she will stay here for a long time.