Innovating between laws
"I joined the bank as a trainee, having taken Masters degrees in private law & the internet and intellectual property & ICT. I hadn't necessarily thought of working for a bank, but saw they were looking for a trainee in the Innovation & Technology specialist group. So I decided to give it a go since it tied in seamlessly with my qualifications."
The bank’s backroom office
"I work in the Legal department as part of the Group Affairs team. This in turn consists of two specialist groups; I’m in the Innovation & Technology group. We advise the bank on aspects such as commercial IT contracts, outsourcing, competition, real estate, privacy and intellectual property. We also support the Procurement department in the acquisition of various products and services. And we give legal advice on a range of innovative projects or partnerships which the bank enters into with third parties. Privacy and data are key aspects here."
"My focus is on negotiating outsourcing and procurement contracts with the bank's suppliers. These are often IT companies but they also include suppliers of, say, printers and office chairs. We also advise Group Innovation, a team that focuses on new technological developments such as open banking, blockchain technology and AI."
"I always like to think in terms of what’s possible. Banks are highly regulated institutions; they have to comply with many different laws and regulations. At the same time, though, ABN AMRO wants to keep on innovating. The tension between complying with these laws and regulations and the pressing need to keep on developing is what makes the work challenging for me. I also like the fact that Group Affairs has a good overview of everything that's going on within ABN AMRO. From the marketing department to Finance & Risk Management - we deal with the entire bank, so we know exactly what’s going on within the organisation."
Perfecting my trade
"My colleagues are what really make my work. The team is highly diverse, with lots of different specialists and characters who all complement each other really well. I enjoy working with my managers since they give me plenty of freedom and trust. We regularly do fun things together; obviously in the past 18 months most of these activities have had to be digital. So I’m glad we’re now finally starting to see a bit more of each other face to face."
"We can learn a lot from each other as colleagues. There's a lot of knowledge exchange in the legal department. For instance, lawyers from different teams work together in various working groups. And the legal department invests a lot in development and training. When I first started working at ABN AMRO, I took the Business Administration for Lawyers course. We’re also encouraged to undergo training in particular specialisms. All of which helps us to perfect our trade."