JP Morgan: Climbing the ladder in treasury services

Susan Dean, JP Morgan

Susan Dean

Sitting with FN in the Wall Street bank’s Canary Wharf offices, the new head of treasury services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa is raring to get going.

“There’s a raft of challenges our clients are talking about – overarching market-driven events and also very specific to clients segments”, she said. “Our clients are saying, for example, what does Brexit mean for them? There are multiple scenarios. But our clients know we are at the forefront and ready for whatever comes through.”

Treasury services is big business at JP Morgan, responsible for more than 30% of banking revenues within the corporate and investment bank. In JP Morgan’s 2015 annual report, Pinto, the London-based chief executive of the corporate and investment bank, wrote that the business had about 14,000 wholesale clients and handled $ 5 trillion in payments each day. It is “an integral contributor” to the growth of the CIB, he added.

Pinto and colleagues believe it will get even bigger. JP Morgan’s 2015 report pointed to analysis by consulting firms and the bank’s own internal teams that suggested the global treasury services revenue pool could grow from $ 144 billion in 2014 to $ 280 billion by 2024.

Pinto wrote that “global multinational companies require an international bank, particularly as the growth in cross-border trade requires a sophisticated roster of services”. He said: “The business landscape, fragmented by multiple players, creates an opportunity for the consolidation of market share as clients look for global solutions.”

Dean adds that treasury services is “a critical component” of the corporate and investment bank, and that the increasingly global nature of clients’ businesses adds to its significance. She said: “Where it’s starting to drive even more strongly is around the overall strategy of operating as a global bank, which means being there for our clients as they grow in different types of products or new jurisdictions.”

Dean has seen the business from several perspectives during her time with JP Morgan. She joined the bank about 28 years ago in its custody division, and spent most of the the following years working in operations. Moving from those beginnings to her latest role heading treasury services across the Emea region came as a result of the bank’s top executives prioritising mobility between departments.

She said: “The firm is very keen to make sure we share experiences, best practices and move people around. Looking at things through a different lens is always valuable. CIB is about bringing a single view of the firm to the client. One of the ways you look to achieve that is having people who have navigated the firm.”

Dean moved into treasury services in the late 2000s, initially in operations, then products, which she eventually ran in Emea. From there, she moved into treasury services sales, which she headed in Emea since 2015. In her latest job she takes over from John Gibbons, who is leaving the bank.

Dean’s promotion gives JP Morgan another woman helping to head part of its European business, joining Ina De, co-head of UK banking, and Dorothee Blessing, vice-chair of investment banking in Emea.

Dean said: “JP Morgan has always had the diversity agenda at the centre of the organisation. As a firm we’ve been clear that it’s about your ability: are you able to do a role? Diversity is encouraging a mix of individuals to put themselves forward for roles for which they might not have considered they have the skill set.”

And given her own career path in the bank, Dean hopes she can be an example to younger women across the bank that they can rise to top posts without any sacrifice.

“There is absolute encouragement and support to maintain the diversity of the workforce at all levels. I think I’m an example of that. I joined as a clerical member of staff, I’ve married, had a family, moved from Bournemouth to London, and every step of the way the bank has helped me to make sure I keep the right balance for me to continue with my career and do the things I want to do – outside of work as well.”

• Career progression in banking: “don’t forget to look”

Like her peers in other areas of the banking industry, JP Morgan’s Dean faces a challenge in ensuring that the next generation of bankers remain enthused about their career opportunities – but believes her own business offers them plenty of scope for shaping their career path.

Given that Dean held roles in custody, treasury services products and treasury services sales before being appointed overall head of treasury services for Emea in September, she already appreciates the benefits that come from moving between departments to get a full picture of a bank’s offering.

Speaking to FN about approaches to talent management and staff motivation, Dean said: “It’s important to consider the full range of functions available to employees across a banking organisation including operations, technology, client services, legal, controls, HR, marketing, communication and more.

“What we tell to people who join the company is there’s such a wealth of opportunities, don’t forget to look beyond what you’re doing. Sometimes a role may be not quite right but it doesn’t mean that they therefore do not have a career in banking, there are so many options available.”

Dean also insisted that the issue of work/life balance, which many bankers have said is an important topic for younger staff and which several firms have introduced initiatives to address – such as ruling that bankers cannot enter the building between certain hours at the weekend, or can take an extra day off if colleagues cover for them – must be handled carefully. Not all bankers will begrudge burning the midnight oil, she pointed out.

She said: “People’s work/life balance is very personal, so you have to make sure you have discussions about individuals. I’ve been in roles where I’ve worked long hours and I’ve loved that. But there have been times I wanted a little more control and there have been those opportunities as well.”

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