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Mike Otten

Director Corporate Sales FX, Interest Rates & Commodities

"At the tender age of 29, I had the opportunity to set up a Corporate Sales desk abroad. That's typical of ABN AMRO: you’re given a lot of responsibility here at a young age."

To ABN AMRO for substance

"When I was a student, I started investing in stocks and bonds. For the potential return of course, but also out of interest. What fascinated me most was how political and economic events in the world affect the financial markets. My Business Administration studies included subjects in this area, but I wanted to go into it in more detail. I was especially attracted by the complexity of financial instruments, such as derivatives. I wanted to understand them: what they do, and how they can contribute to the management of financial risks."

"I joined ABN AMRO to pursue my interest in the subject. It's the only bank in the Netherlands with a specific trainee programme in Global Markets, which really prepares you for a job in this area. So that's what I applied for after I graduated, and I was taken on!" 

Excitement of the job

"After the traineeship, I progressed to a role as a currency and derivatives trader. I did that for three years, serving with a team of experienced professionals. I love the speed and excitement this profession brings with it. Waking up in the morning, checking your phone for the latest news, reviewing the financial markets and thinking: ‘Our customers are bound to call about that.‘ Then it’s off to the office, where the first customer is already on the phone, keen to perform a transaction.”

To Asia on my own

"Then one day, a fantastic opportunity came my way: I had a chance to go to Singapore to set up a Corporate Sales desk there. Single-handedly, at the tender age of 29. To me, that's typical of ABN AMRO: they give you a lot of responsibility at a young age. Regardless of whether it's in the Netherlands or elsewhere in the world."

"So I went to Singapore and set up a Corporate Sales desk for the APAC countries. What’s more, in the beginning I did everything myself, from desk set-up to infrastructure and acquisition – a wonderful experience! I also had my own client portfolio, for which my team and I built up customised foreign exchange, interest-rate and commodity derivatives. It's what we refer to as ‘over the counter’: products you don't find on the stock exchange but which are created for a specific customer, for a specific purpose."

Pool manager of your own traineeship

"After three years in Asia, I returned to the Netherlands because ABN AMRO was winding down its offices outside Europe. Now I concentrate mainly on managing the derivatives portfolio of our clients in Asia. I addition to my regular work, I’m also pool manager of the Global Markets traineeship. That's right: the traineeship I was once on myself."

"A colleague and I are jointly responsible for the trainee programme, and conduct interviews with candidates. Our main aim is to help young, talented people find a promising initial placement in our business at the end of their traineeship. It’s really great working with young talent. They bring in new skills which we need to stay future-proof."

Derivatives for sustainability

"Our sustainability initiatives are another sphere of activity which promises to be interesting. Within Global Markets, for example, we’re hard at work on the development of Sustainability-Linked Derivatives. These are derivatives that encourage sustainable behaviour in customers. They might, for example, agree to cut their CO2 emissions by 5% within two years, 10% within four years, and so on – in exchange for a discount on their interest rate. We expect to be able to make a real impact with this. So I’m very keen to see how it's going to develop."

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