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Alexander Schmitt – Quantitative Expert, Risk Management

Encouraging innovation

As part of Risk Management, I’m one of a small team of quants who do credit risk modelling to calculate our capital and provisions. In real terms, that means we make models of the risks we run if a client with a mortgage or loan goes into default, for instance. Recently, with the Covid crisis and the war in Ukraine, we’ve seen real-world events have an impact on our clients’ behaviour, even if that wasn’t immediately apparent in the data. So we sat down with all the relevant stakeholders and figured out a way to incorporate this new reality into our credit risk models.

What I really like about my job at Van Lanschot Kempen, especially compared with larger companies, is that I have plenty of freedom and opportunity to try new things. From day one, I was given a lot of responsibility for our models and a lot of contact with our stakeholders – whether that’s the Finance department, senior managers, our regulator De Nederlandsche Bank or our auditors PwC. The company really values entrepreneurial spirit: no matter what level you’re at in the company, you’re encouraged to put forward innovative ideas and you don’t have to be afraid of those ideas being shot down.

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