Kim Skov Jensen. Photo: Antti Yrjönen

28 Oct 2021

Kim Skov Jensen: Venturing into sustainable finance

“Helping to create sustainable growth in the Nordic-Baltic member countries and beyond is very meaningful and relevant to me,” says Kim Skov Jensen, the Dane who recently started as NIB’s new Vice-President, CFO, and Head of Treasury & Finance.

“For me, this is a bit of an adventure really, to go into a new and interesting job and to live in a new country together with my wife. We are very Nordic orientated and have liked the idea of being able to travel across the Nordics without the need for a passport for many years. To live in the city of Helsinki is part of the reason why I was attracted to this job,” says Kim Skov Jensen.

In his new role, Jensen is responsible for NIB’s financial planning, reporting, and accounting; balance sheet management; treasury activities; and relationships with financial institutions and investors. He is also a member of the Bank’s Executive Committee. Before joining NIB, Jensen had a long career at Nordea where he held several senior leadership positions in Nordea’s Group Treasury and Group Finance, with the latest position being Head of Markets & Treasury Financial Control. At NIB, Jensen succeeds Björn Ordell, who served the Bank as CFO from April 2015.

What else attracted you to NIB?

NIB is an interesting and strong organisation with a solid ownership structure, a AAA credit rating, and it is anchored in the Nordic-Baltic area where the countries have many things in common. The Bank also has a very appealing mission to provide attractive financing to business projects and initiatives that promote productivity and benefit the environment. Helping to create sustainable growth in the Nordic-Baltic member countries and beyond is very meaningful and relevant to me. NIB is smaller than the bank where I used to work, which presumably should bode well for NIB being quite dynamic so that we can take fast action on the business opportunities we see.

What brought you into banking?

I got into banking because I was attracted to finance and financial markets. Apart from supporting payment infrastructures, banking is crucial for individuals and businesses to obtain financing for long-term investments like buying a house, new production facilities, technology, or the infrastructure that we all rely on. Banks support the transmission of funds from those with savings to those that need an injection of liquidity to implement their ideas and plans. This has a positive impact on our broader society and our lives.

How do you plan to start your new job?

I am starting in a new place and will be investing a lot of time in getting to know the people in the organisation. I will take a listening approach to form a sense of the opportunities and challenges the Bank is facing. Regarding NIB’s newly published third quarter results, I think it is fair to say that the Bank has seen the patterns from the first half of this year continue in the third quarter. Compared to last year, things are therefore less volatile. My hope is that we can enter 2022 pursuing our mission with business momentum, supported by the updated Sustainability Policy currently open for public consultation.

What is your take on the real economic effect of the pandemic in the years to come?

The main scenario for the economic development is looking better today than what the case was a year ago. It is somewhat concerning that public debt levels are increasing, and some businesses also still benefit from VAT payments being postponed. However, the bigger concern I have is that the fine-tuned global logistical supply-chain is at risk from Covid-related disruptions and cut-backs in capacity and inventories. Another concern are the current issues related to the production and supply of energy. Both are factors than can increase inflation. But, now that restrictions are being rolled-back, and we approach a more normal situation, the outlook from most economists is that we will see a fairly solid development in the years to come.

What has the banking sector learned from the last crisis? 

When the financial crisis hit back in 2007-2008, many banks only planned for a situation where everything was rosy with plenty of liquidity. Through new bank regulative requirements towards capital and liquidity, but also self-imposed new risk management and control frameworks, the sector is now in a better position to deal with a crisis. Today, most banks are much better capitalised and have larger liquidity buffers. The key points learned are that capital levels and liquidity buffers need to reflect the risk that may produce, even though this is not visible in the current situation. Over the last decade, this has led banks to strengthen their capital and liquidity position, along with establishing better plans for what to do in a contingent crisis.

What are the expectations for moving to Helsinki?

It will be an extra dimension to live in a new country and I look forward to exploring Finland and the neighbouring Baltic countries, that can be reached so easily from Helsinki. I look forward to gaining a real in-depth knowledge of Finnish society and the Finns, the culture, the design, the architecture and the landscapes. And I look forward to sharing this with friends and family from Denmark, including being their Helsinki guide when they come to visit us.

What are your hobbies and interests, and have you found any promising opportunities also for life outside banking?

We love skiing, which is a passion in my family. I also play golf and look forward to trying out some courses here. Besides these interests, to start with, I hope to explore hiking or biking in the many beautiful areas around Helsinki. During holidays, I enjoy reading a stack of books, mostly political biographies, and novels. I will try to read some of the world class writers from Finland and my wife has already recommended Kjell Westö and Sofi Oksanen to begin with.

Coming from a country where football is the main sport, I have seen most of the games played by the Danish national team since the 80s and I also follow Champions League football. Growing up watching Bundesliga Torschau on German TV on Saturdays made me a fan of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Paul Breitner and Lothar Mattäus, which made Bayern Munich my favourite club.

I also find it inspiring to visit exhibitions at museums and to go to the theatre and concerts. Helsinki has a lot to offer and is also known for its architecture and design, which we have already experienced in real life when we have been walking around the city. There are so many beautiful buildings. Although it is early days, hopefully we will get to experience much more of that and the cultural offerings Helsinki has in the coming years.