As Senior Investment Manager, Leo immediately takes action when a good investment opportunity comes along.
Following the financial markets things happen quickly around me. So, my daily work pace is fast, and it pays off also fast. That is quite satisfying.
‘I think we are a company that is bold in thinking and in taking action.’
Since nearly four years Leo Deng (36) works as a senior investment manager in the fields of rates, government bonds and derivatives. Here he follows the global economic and political developments closely, as he is always looking for new investment opportunities for Athora Netherlands. “We think more creatively than some other Dutch insurance companies.”
“My daily job involves reading a lot of news. Connecting global politics and economic developments with financial markets movements is so fascinating to me. I remember one day I read the news of China abolishing one-child policy and then New Zealand dollar exchange rate suddenly went up. The two seemed completely disconnected. But if you know that China imported significant amount of milk from that country to feed the extra babies, you can understand why the Kiwi dollar became more expensive. Observing these global developments are part of my daily work. A nice side effect is that I have so much knowledge of what’s going on around the world compared to the rest of my social circle.”
Fast Work Pace
Because the financial market is dynamic and changing constantly, Leo maintains a fast work pace when investment and risk management actions emerge. “When I find an opportunity that fits Athora Netherlands’ investment portfolio or balance sheet, I generally take action immediately. I discuss it with my team, write a proposal, do necessary checks with Risk department and request the approval from the investment committee. Following the financial markets things happen quickly around me. So, my daily work pace is fast, and it pays off also fast. That is quite satisfying.”
By the time of the interview Leo is working from his hotel room in China, where he is in quarantine and waiting to start his three-week holiday in China, where he will be travelling and doing some family visits. It’s an obvious example of the amount of freedom you can have at Athora. “I like the dedication and the full trust I get from my manager to implement and deliver my projects. He does not intervene with my actions but supports them. That allows me to have a lot of ownership and deliver the project. Even before Covid we had the possibility to work from home for at least one day in a week, as long as you finish your job. That wouldn’t be possible if you are not completely trusted by your manager. A healthy environment and a big difference from the UK where I used to live and work.”
Having worked in different cultures Leo has some comparisons and knows what he is talking about when mentioning about the culture of Athora Netherlands. What he likes especially is the way colleagues interact with each other. “Generally, people are genuine and honest. If we like things, we tell them. And if we don’t like it, we say it too. Colleagues are generally helpful and have a pragmatic can-do mentality. Our team is nice and diversified. Some years ago, there were mainly men, but now there are four women too as well as two non-Dutch speaking colleagues. You can tell that the company is becoming more internationally orientated with the new shareholder. That’s a good thing. Within my department we also have an ‘Amsterdam-group’ of colleagues. We organize poker nights together which is a lot of fun.”
Leo is optimistic about the future of Athora Netherlands and the strategy, focusing mainly on pensions. It’s a growing opportunity for us. I think we are a company that is very bold in thinking and taking actions. We think more creatively than some other Dutch insurance companies. With our new shareholder we are becoming more pioneering. Under the new strategy the company is growing and becoming healthier and more successful. We have a bright future ahead, which is encouraging for people who are applying for jobs at Athora Netherlands.”