DisruptionBanking interviewed Ditte Larsen, Senior Business Analyst at Nordea Bank Denmark A/S, on what it means to be a leading woman in the finance industry and how to set an example.
Could you introduce yourself to our readers and give us some background into you?
I started my career in Nordea in 1996 as a bank clerk in a Retail branch. I did client advisory among other things. After a few years I looked for more professional challenges and changed my career path to a headquarter function. Since 1999 I have been part of Nordea Wholesale Banking Operations, where I have gained experience with many operations areas like Currency Loans, FX/MM & CLS Settlement, Nostro Reconciliation and OTC Derivatives Settlement.
In end of 2006 I joined the Global Collateral Control team, which I have been part of since. I have processed and monitored the daily collateral exchanges and the related tasks for OTC, Repo, Stock Lending, Securities Finance and Clearing Houses. My role now is a specialist, who supports our daily operations, when complex issues occur, optimizing and implementing new processes, be a link between IT and Operations, support audits and finally I’m part of the Nordea Collateral Dispute Forum.
What advice would you give other women hoping to break into the financial industry or the innovative industries?
I believe that women (or men) should just be themselves and not try to be somebody else – and be honest. I have particularly experienced female managers, who have tried to change themselves when they have taken up a management position; this has never turned out to be a success. There is nothing wrong with feminine values and being you.
are the most enjoyable and challenging parts of your day in Nordea?
I have been part of our collateral team for many years now. It is fantastic to be part of a high-performance team and a business area that are constantly changing and developing.
It’s a good day when I grow – using and expanding my competences and knowledge by supporting my team, internal partners and our counterparties to handle complex issues. Being part of the engine, which ensures that Nordea is compliant with the high and ever changing requirements from the regulators.
I feel that Nordea has an atmosphere that gives its employees equal opportunities across gender and cultural backgrounds. Even though that I’m not a manager, I’m frequently asked to represent Nordea on conferences as a speaker. This is purely meritocratic, ie based on my skills.
How equal do you feel Denmark’s society is?
In Denmark there are many opinions, and of course there are organizations, which works for equality for women. I think that Denmark is already very far in terms of equal rights for men and women.
Within the bank, I believe that Nordea is working for equality, where everybody is on the same level, and that there are equal opportunities for both men and women.
About Ditte Signe Larsen
Married and has two sons, aged 10 and 12 years
Current position is Senior Business Analyst
Worked at Nordea since 1996
Expatriated in Brazil from 2004-2006 / China from 2008-2011
Banking Retail education
Large Project Participations:
– Implementing and structuring Collateral Exposure reconciliation
– Implementing and IT-integration of MarginSphere
– Implementing Initial Margining reform
– Part of Collateral Dispute Forum
About Nordea Bank
Nordea Bank is a Nordic financial services group operating in northern Europe and based in Helsinki, Finland. The bank is the result of the successive mergers and acquisitions of the Finnish, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish banks of Merita Bank, Unibank, Kreditkassen (Christiania Bank) and Nordbanken that took place between 1997 and 2000. The Baltic states are today also considered part of the home market. The largest shareholder of Nordea is Sampo, a Finnish insurance company with around 20% of the shares. Nordea is listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange, Helsinki Stock Exchange and Stockholm Stock Exchange.
Nordea operates across both the Nordic and Baltic regions with over 1,400 branches. The bank is present in 20 countries around the world, operating through full-service branches, subsidiaries and representative offices, although it primarily provides services in Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Nordea serves 11 million private and 700,000 active corporate customers. The group also operates an Internet bank, which has more than 5.9 million online customers and performs more than 260 million payments per year.