Financial employees should be curious about the future

At a panel debate at Financial Services Union Denmark’s New Year’s reception in Copenhagen, which about 175 members participated in, it was pointed out that regulation, the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and ethics will be more in focus in the financial sector in the coming years. And for employees, it will be an important skill to be curious about new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.

By Carsten Jørgensen cjo@finansforbundet.dk 

​On Monday 21 January, where Financial Services Union Denmark (Finansforbundet) held a New Year's Reception in Copenhagen for about 175 members, a panel consisting of Julie Galbo, Head of Group Business Risk Management in Nordea, Lisa Herold Ferbing, President of Dansk IT, Nils Elmark, Fintech and trend expert based in London, as well as Kent Petersen, President of Financial Services Union Denmark, debated on the development of the financial sector and the skills that were needed.

With TV host Cecilie Beck as the expert moderator, the four debaters speculated on the international currents and trends that will impact the Danish financial sector in the near future.

"It's hard to avoid talking about regulation, which there's already a lot of focus on now. Digitalisation will also dominate the sector and this will mean that we will have different types of jobs in the future than we have now," said Kent Petersen.

Lisa Herold Ferbing, who has a long career in Nordea behind her, agreed but also said that there will be more of a focus on sustainability.

"The UN's 17 goals will get into the boards and into the sector more and more," she predicts.

Julie Galbo believes that increasing complexity and speed in technological development will characterise the sector in the coming years. But she also sees signs that there will be increasing global cohesion.

"I believe that the financial sector can quietly help move the world in a better direction," she says.

Nils Elmark referred to a new reality in banking outside Denmark, where new online banks such as N26 have been established in 22 countries and have three million customers, with only an eighth of the costs a Danish bank has.

"In Denmark, you'd sooner switch spouses than banks but in a generation, these banks will threaten existing Danish banks when the Millennial generation grows up," he said.


We need a nanny to train the robots

The panel pointed out that in the future the financial sector will need many types of skills in employees. Some who can develop new IT systems, some who can operate them, some with reflective skills – so it's important that they can work with people who have different skills than themselves, Lisa Herold Ferbing emphasised.

"We need a nanny to train the robots," Julie Galbo said, in reference to the importance of employees with financial understanding and experience who are also familiar with new technologies.

Nils Elmark agrees with the importance of the nannies, but they have to be more skilled, he points out.

"As an employee, you have to be interested in new technologies and in finding out what blockchain and artificial intelligence is," he said.

Kent Petersen fully agrees.

"As a sector, we have to open up and be more curious. And we have to go back to believing that there's something great about being in the financial sector," says the President of Financial Services Union Denmark.


I'm here today to meet former colleagues and expand my network. So I'd like to get into Financial Services Union Denmark and it also helps that they hold such great events like this here.

I think it was a really fun debate, to listen to the different places they were coming from and how they managed to come up with different ideas was interesting, because it gets you to think about how it's not just one or two paths we need to look at, we need to see more. So it helps that there's some advice to get out of it, I think that it actually does something more than just be an internal bank memo. So it was super exciting.


Kompetenceudvikling & Karriere