Welcome to our new Independent CRO

Meet Jakob Leegård Jakobsen, who has joined our Nordic Executive Committee as Independent Chief Risk Officer.

April 1st Jakob started in our company, and his appointment illustrates a strategic and strengthened focus on the independent risk function. Jakob brings to the company vast experience in financial regulation, thanks to six years as Executive Director in Finance Denmark, and a total of 12 years of experience at Nykredit respectively as a macro economist and department head of internal and external risk reporting and capital planning. On top of that, Jakob has taught macroeconomics at the University of Copenhagen and at Copenhagen Business School, and this is an opportunity for you to meet Jakob.

What are you looking forward to mostly in your new position?

“When you work with protection of interest, you often have the very long light switched on in your work. Often the results show years ahead of you – sometimes they don’t even materialise. So getting back to the banking sector, working with more concrete tasks, appeals to me. I have a very specific task ahead of me here in BNP Paribas Personal Finance, in strengthening the Nordic independent risk reporting to the Board of Directors, and also the governance and work of the Risk Committee.”

What do you think will be your primary challenge?

“Getting back to the sector to work concretely with risk reporting, requires that my “inner compass” must be adjusted towards everyday details instead of a more general perspective on protection of interest. It is has been some years, since I worked with risk reporting, and naturally I need to blow away the cobwebs before being 100% up to speed again”.

What are the main qualities of a CRO and leader?

“A CRO must be aware of and continuously focus on the role as a true independent identifier, measurer, and reporter of the bank’s financial, as well as, non-financial risks, and make sure that the reporting to the Board of Directors always gives as accurate a picture of the bank’s risk landscape as possible. Acting as a sparring partner for first line of defense is also an important task as a CRO.

As a leader I very much believe in trusting your colleagues’ professional skills and therefore give room for them to conduct their work without micro managing. Also, having a good and pleasant atmosphere at work is important.”

Which skills/experiences from your past do you think will be particularly useful in your new position?

“Naturally, my work experience from Nykredit in relation to risk reporting to the Board will be very useful in my role as Nordic CRO. But also the insight regarding financial regulation I acquired in Finance Denmark will be beneficial I’m sure.”

What are your ambitions for the Independent Risk department, and what will be your first move?

“It is key to build and develop a true independent Risk Management that performs a strong second line of defense of identification, measuring, monitoring and reporting of all the risks facing the bank. We do it because the financial regulators tells us to do so – otherwise we won’t be able to preserve our banking license. On the other hand, when spending this amount of resources on something that’s regulatory mandatory, I think it’s essential to put sufficient effort in the ambition that also the business should benefit from the risk reporting being done. I believe it’s possible to do a regulatory compliant risk reporting that at the same time is beneficial for the business. Connecting these two purposes of risk reporting is a key ambition for me. Therefore, the first moves we will be doing in the Risk Management will all pull in this direction.”

What are your thoughts about working in the BNP Paribas Personal Finance Group?

“Up until now I have worked only in pure Danish organisations. Being part of a large international bank which is present in many countries around the globe is therefore something completely new for me, and something that’s appealing. I’m sure I will be challenged in the “Danish” way of working – and I believe it’s sound to be presented for other ways of working than those you have been used to for many years. Also, I hope working for a French bank gives me the incentive to put an effort in learning French – something I have wanted for many years.“

What energises you? 

“One energiser for me is doing work that is useful in a broader concept. That’s also why it’s so important for me that the risk reporting we are building and the general strengthening of the independent risk management must be of value not only for the regulatory authorities, but at least as much for the business.
Another is when things heat up and you get close to a deadline, gathering all the loose ends, it lifts the level of adrenaline and gives me energy. That should not be a permanent condition, but sometimes it’s needed.”