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A critical area where one never stands still

Therese Jergmar, Head of Third Party Governance

Therese Jergmar began working at SEB in 1998 and has since then had many different roles within areas ranging from tech to merchant banking. But after some time at the bank, she felt it was time for a change, and decided to work elsewhere. However, just a few years later, in 2020, she returned to SEB, and is today Head of Third Party Governance. 

What does Third Party Governance entail?

– Within SEB, we rely on vendors a lot. They play a great role in delivering value to our customers, but also in enabling our employees to perform their daily work. The Third Party Governance team deals with legal requirements and Vendor Management, including the companies that provide various services and solutions to the bank. This can include anything from pen and paper to system solutions from Microsoft. However, our specific team primarily works with SEB’s larger and global vendors that pose a higher risk and have an impact on the entire bank. 

– When working with these vendors, there are numerous requirements that need to be met, primarily from regulatory authorities, but also internally. There are, for example, requirements for reporting and reducing risks, as well as guidelines for forms, processes and governance that need to be met. Our job is to support the organisation with these requirements by being involved in the entire vendor process, from start to finish. Therefore, a large part of our work involves continuously monitoring the vendors to minimise any potential risks. 

How do you work to build strong relationships with these vendors? 

– The saying “know your vendor” is common within our team, and emphasises the importance of nurturing the relationships that we have with our vendors. This is something we actively work on as it’s essential for streamlining various processes. By maintaining a close and continuous dialogue we always know what’s going on, and most importantly, we always have a contact person in case anything were to happen. In such situations, we are just a phone call away and can quickly obtain help, support and guidance when needed. 

– As these relationships are very critical to the bank, we always have a vendor governance structure in place. That way, we establish written agreements on what the relationship with our vendors should look like, clarify responsibilities and specify requirements and goals from both parties. So, the relationships are always built on a sort of reciprocity. 

Continuous learning 

– There are always new things arising that could impact the way we work and the relationships we have with our vendors, including regulatory requirements or the effects of a changing market. Therefore, it is crucial that we stay updated and try to adapt to these changes instead of relying on past knowledge. At SEB, there is real opportunity to keep learning. The environment is highly dynamic, we have a fantastic learning portal, and most importantly, you are always surrounded by colleagues with incredible expertise. Having a culture of learning in the workplace makes a huge difference – you can grow within your division, never feel stagnant, and have a great opportunity to influence and take ownership. This is probably one of the reasons why many people stay within the bank and definitely a factor that influenced my decision to return to SEB.