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    'I believe in balanced leadership that includes both masculine and feminine values'

    28 June 2022 | 10:00

    Complying with laws and regulations, investments, transactions, sustainability, Wwft & Sanctions, new products, legal procedures; there is very little that Simone Visser is not involved in as Director Legal, Compliance, Fraud & Security Affairs. In this challenging position no two days are the same.

    Simone de Visser
    As Director Legal, Compliance, Fraud & Security Affairs, Simone is always looking for new, talented colleagues.

    In 2014, a headhunter brought Simone (43) in from the legal profession at, what was then still called VIVAT. "I enjoyed working in the legal profession and was given many opportunities there. For example, I was seconded several times to London and Hong Kong, among other places. I always grabbed those opportunities with both hands. After ten years, however, I wanted to provide more direct added value and be less specialized. That's what I found at Athora: ensuring a solid pension for people and maintaining a liveable world by investing premiums sustainably. I find that a meaningful task."

    I've never done it before, so I think I can do it

    Simone leads three teams of around 35 colleagues in total. From that role, she thinks every day about how to get the best out of not only herself, but also her teams. "When I do something, I always do it for the full 100% and mostly on intuition. People you work with play a crucial role in this. Sometimes someone comes along who believes in you and dares to give you a chance. It's nice when you get that trust and can thus contribute to realising the strategy."

    Our department operates from the heart of the organisation and that is fun, because you are involved in everything

    Women at the top

    Simone was given the opportunity to grow into a management position, something that unfortunately is not always obvious in the financial sector. That is why Athora has expressed its ambition to appoint more women to senior management. Simone absolutely sees the added value of this.

    "I believe in balanced leadership, in which both masculine and feminine values play a role. Typical of female leadership, in my opinion, is the ability to look at the longer term and the overall picture, where the male focus is often more on profitability. Both perspectives are important for good decision-making. It is therefore a good thing that we now have a law to achieve a more proportionate distribution between men and women at the top. Fortunately, I have all the support I need here to develop myself further."

    Operating from the heart of the organisation

    It's hard work in the department, where colleagues have to deal with more and more requests and increasingly complex questions. "This demands that we increase our impact and set clear priorities. There is a legal or compliance component to almost everything Athora wants to achieve. "So our department really operates from the heart of the organisation and that's nice, because as a department you are involved in everything."

    To keep it fun, Simone ensures that there is enough room for exchanging information and for relaxation. The department develops all kinds of initiatives to strengthen the feeling of togetherness. "We have a lot of contact with each other, despite the fact that the colleagues work at home a lot. This concerns both substantive activities and moments for reflection and sociability. Recently, we have been able to have drinks at the office once a month again. That's how we keep it fun."

    The role of Legal & Compliance has changed dramatically

    There are often legal vacancies within the Legal & Compliance department. New colleagues with relevant expertise and the right mindset are very welcome. Simone has a clear picture of the type of colleague who will do well at Athora.

    "The role of the Legal & Compliance department has changed dramatically over the past decade. The legal and compliance officer are increasingly important. This development also calls for different selection criteria. Vision on interaction between company and society is at least as important as someone's legal baggage. Solution orientation and the ability to work with the business are crucial qualities. The same applies to risk management. So if you recognise yourself in this, then I'd love to have coffee with you!"