The chief executive officer of Nordea Bank AB says his industry needs to rethink pretty much everything it’s doing to brace for the future. And that includes how much it’s paying bankers.
The Nordic region’s biggest financial conglomerate is already in the process of cutting 6,000 jobs as part of a shift towards
relying more on technology and less on humans. But CEO Cas-
per von Koskull says the se-
arch for more efficient ways
of doing business won’t end once those jobs are gone.
“People said automation is only in personal banking,” von Koskull said in an interview in Stockholm. “But there are elements of it in investment banking, corporate banking, liquidity management, foreign exchange. You need to look at how much of it is automated and whether there’s less human involvement.”
There will always be a “human element,” he says. But ultimately, “you need to ask the question, what value is the human adding, and how does that affect pay?”
Von Koskull’s mission is to blaze a trail that other banks will be inspired to follow. In explaining his world view, he uses phrases like “you don’t need banks, but you need banking.” He also insists that “bankers need to be more tech savvy, and understand how you use tools.”
The Nordea CEO envisions a flatter organization. So when it comes to the bank’s planned job cuts, that means “the ones who are mostly hit are middle to higher-level management, because those layers aren’t needed, or shouldn’t be,” von Koskull said.