Best Bank Awards: Danske Bank

Danske is voted Best bank for Scandinavian currencies at the 2019 FX Week Best Bank Awards

Niklas Karlsson 2019 - web.jpg
Niklas Karlsson: “Where I think we differ is the way that we speak to and advise the client”

When Tier 1 global banks began eating into market share in the Nordics and luring clients away with mobile solutions, it was precisely the wake-up call that Danske Bank needed to begin overhauling its technology and changing the way it does business.

These days, customers who approach Danske to conduct their foreign exchange business are finding it’s like marrying into a large family.

“Where I think we differ is the way that we speak to and advise the client. We work a lot to educate our salespeople and try to speak as one voice – risk, sales, together with our economists – and we try to focus on the full value chain,” says Niklas Karlsson, global head of FX at Danske. “We even include our back office in the whole value chain. That’s where I can see we [represent] a little bit of a difference for the clients.”

Moreover, compared with eight years ago, when Danske’s salesforce was more specialised, it now rather consists of generalists who are more capable of understanding clients’ needs and their balance sheets.

In the Nordics, Danske was voted Best bank for Scandinavian currencies at the 2019 FX Week Best Bank Awards.

“The Nordics is a very corporate-driven region and most corporates don’t have that much [FX] staff, so everything needs to run smoothly,” Karlsson says. “When we handle our clients, it’s a little bit more complicated. The same model doesn’t fit all and you must have a lot of different solutions. And I think we’re good on that.”

Correctly organising itself around clients and their needs has been a top priority for Danske, says Karlsson. But delivering the bank’s services in an efficient manner became an imperative after a full review of its FX infrastructure found Danske’s ‘build everything’ approach was causing it to trail behind its rivals.

Today, a new Danske is ready to go toe-to-toe with the competition.

This year, the team began changing its in-house pricing engine and connectivity technology to a solution from Fluent Trade Technologies to remove latency. Early next year, customers will receive a mix of five passive and aggressive algorithms delivered through a white-label solution from another bank via the Bloomberg Terminal. Pricing and risk models will remain in-house.

Karlsson says: “It costs a lot of money to develop everything by yourself, so we think it’s a win-win. It’s a win for the clients if we power them up and it’s a win for us to keep the cost [down].”

The full list of winners of the 2019 FX Week Best Banks Awards

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