Clearing can be a roller-coaster ride

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Global city

Working for Clearing can be a roller-coaster ride sometimes. Every day is different. While that may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s one of the reasons I love my job so much. I also like that the financial markets are so dynamic. You could say that the markets and our clients are always in a state of flux. The price of oil, gas and grain changes every second, and I’m in contact with numerous organisations active in markets all over the world. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true: no two days are the same.

You’re in charge of your own destiny Ilse Karelse Ilse Karelse Relationship Manager Energy and Commodity Clients

It’s precisely this dynamic I was looking for when applying for my first job. Clearing is a niche in the financial world, and ABN AMRO is one of the few banks to play an active role in this area. In a nutshell, ABN AMRO Clearing minimises counterparty risk in transactions on trading platforms or in bilateral relations. I’m the first point of contact for all the clients in my portfolio. They’re looking to hedge the risks associated with commodity trading, and it’s my job to offer them the best possible service.

A fascinating world

Signing on as a trainee, I was immediately introduced to a fascinating, complex world. It was a little like being thrown in at the deep end, to be honest. As a trainee, it’s all about proving you’re up to the challenge of getting to grips with this new environment. And for that there are no YouTube tutorials either. Right from the introduction, it felt like I was swimming in abbreviations. So I wrote each and every one of them down to understand them. At a certain point, you’re allowed to work on your own. It’s a hard slog, but if you really go for it, there are always more experienced colleagues who will be happy to help you.

Rolling up those sleeves

My background isn’t financial – I studied law and then got a master’s in international management. I’ll admit I had a preconceived idea of banks being places where older men in grey suits worked. The funny thing is, I haven’t actually seen that many around here… In fact, I’m often surprised at how down to earth and energetic the Clearing culture is. I guess you might say we’re a lot like the no-nonsense world of our clients, who are always sending ships loaded with grain and oil to the four corners of the earth. It’s all about rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in.

Working all over the world

Having worked at the London, Dubai and Sydney offices as a trainee, I’ve experienced just how truly global our organisation is. I learned so much and met so many people there, which turned out to be tremendously useful later, after my traineeship, when I’d landed my first job. The traineeship is no bed of roses. There’s so much to learn and experience, not to mention all the training and the assessments following each project. But you’re not in it alone, and you can share your experiences with other young professionals. Many of us are still in regular contact. I have lots of fond memories – it was a really special, and very educational, time for me.

The Global Clearing Graduate Programme

Back in the day, my traineeship was old-school, you might say. These days, graduates can enrol on the bank’s Global Clearing Graduate Programme for twelve months and work on a range of projects. It’s during this time that your knowledge and skills in areas like finance, negotiation and communication are taken to the next level. Training takes place both in and outside the Netherlands. I’ve been given to understand that the programme is every bit as challenging as when I myself was a trainee.

The possibilities are endless

Now that I hold a permanent position at the bank, I still very much enjoy the work I do at ABN AMRO Clearing. At the moment, I’m based at our London office, but the bank offers lots of opportunities to work in other cities, too. With eleven offices on three continents, the world is your oyster. If you’re motivated, anything is possible, but you do have to prove yourself. The possibilities are endless. And that goes for courses and training as well. At ABN AMRO, you’re in charge of your own destiny. As I mentioned earlier, I love the fast-paced nature of my job. I’m a person who doesn’t like to sit still, and I think the same can be said of many of my colleagues. Speaking of which, last year I competed in the Race of the Classics, and next summer I’ll be doing my first triathlon. Recently, we formed a team made up of bank employees and clients to enter the Amstel Gold Race, in which we cycled 150 km through the hills of Limburg in the pouring rain. Talk about rolling up your sleeves… But then, that’s what we’re good at!

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