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Wild geese Back  
Clearstream Banking’s customer relations director provides a European, and Irish,
perspective from Luxembourg.
Martin Brennan
Executive Director Customer Relations Europe, Clearstream Banking based in Luxembourg

How long have you been in your current position? 4 years

What exactly does your job involve? The key task is to maintain, expand and develop customer relationships across specific customer segments, essentially banks, broker dealers, custodians and investment managers as well as embracing the entire European geographic area. This involves marketing and cross selling of all of our service solutions within the orbit of securities clearing, settlement and custody. It is necessary to develop and maintain a sound knowledge of the economic and financial environment within the pan-European catchment area and to carry out competitive and environmental impacts on the business. I have to monitor customer’s cash and credit needs, manage customer placements and credit extension, and control credit lines interfacing with a central credit management and treasury function. The job also involves the development of specific market and key account plans and the control the implementation of sales strategies and tactical approaches. While implementing best practice for our customer services teams, I must also create effective training for all personnel within the unit and provide clear direction and guidance regarding company strategies and objectives. I often undertake customer visits for the purposes of both business development and trouble shooting.

Within this overall outline we manage a healthy growth profile in key competitive markets. Multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural skills are essential success factors within the role as well as sound ethical and commercial attitudes. Motivational, presentational and negotiation skills are paramount to cope with internal and external customer demands. Core values of trust, respect, teamwork, entrepreneurship and merit all need to be transmitted in order to build and reinforce a superior operational capability and competitive advantage.

How much of your time do you spend outside Ireland? I live permanently in Luxembourg and travel extensively throughout Europe on business.

What was your initial reaction when your were offered this position abroad? How has your opinion changed since you have taken the job? I have always looked for new job opportunities in the European context and have built my skill set to capitalise on these positions once they arise. My current job is challenging, rewarding financially and provides its own motivation.

How does your operation fit strategically within the overall group’s business?
Current role occupies the vital front end customer interface - bringing together marketing, sales, customer relationship management, customer service and customer training. As such it is strategically pivotal.

What’s the best thing about being located outside Ireland?
Multi-lingual and multicultural experience. Better food.

Looking back, how close is Ireland to the cutting edge of financial services?
Dublin, especially IFSC activities is closing the gap and indeed Ireland has the potential to lead in areas such as investment fund services, investment accounting and administration.

What’s the worst thing about being abroad?
Missing family and friends. Sky TV is a close substitute however. Also I miss Lansdowne Road when Mick’s Boys are playing!

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