05 February 2021 ... min. read Listen

Roko Uglešić

Our team has a really strong drive to continuously improve

Roko Uglešić was predestined to study mathematics, with a mathematician for a father, a grandfather in gas engineering and a great-uncle who was a university maths professor. Maybe his move to the Netherlands was predestined too, as his grandfather regularly spent time working in Groningen in the 1970s

After gaining his master’s degree in maths from the University of Zagreb, Roko enjoyed a varied career in finance, something he had always aspired to. Roko: “I graduated on a Tuesday in 2009, at the height of the financial crisis, and started working two days later. I was extremely happy and proud to be earning my own money at last. My studies had always been funded by scholarships and prizes.”

Career steps

“My career started off with a short period as an analyst for the retail department of Croatia’s biggest bank, followed by a role in internal model validation and a switch to a huge Russian bank. That gave me the chance to go to Vienna in Austria to work on a project as a quant analyst in modelling and validation. I really liked Vienna and I met the lady who became my wife there, so I decided to stay. The next step was a new job at a smaller bank where I was asked to set up my own modelling team. I got the opportunity to travel to the Balkan countries, including business trips to Zagreb.”

The orange lion

“So everything was running smoothly, and then I was headhunted by a major bank in the Netherlands. Since I wasn’t considering moving then, I declined their, but just a month later I was headhunted by ING. I was a lot more open to that idea, because I was already familiar with the ‘orange lion’ brand and the company’s good reputation, so I thought ‘Why not give it a go?’. The whole application process was a joy. Everyone made me feel so welcome. I was really flattered and very enthusiastic, both about the team and the job. It was a big step for me and my wife to move to the Netherlands, but I couldn’t allow this chance to play in the ‘champions league’ of banking pass me by.”

An expanding domain

“With a team of around 45 people in Amsterdam and 30 in Poland, we work on model validation for credit risk. Model validation is an expanding domain due to ever-tighter regulatory demands. I started as a model validator, but progressed to become the ‘guild lead’ or expert for IFRS9, the instrument that specifies how an entity should classify and measure financial assets and financial liabilities. IFRS9 validation must be done in a consistent and proper manner across all the different internal departments. Besides that, I’m the contact person for third parties.”

Best place to work

“I felt completely at home at ING right from the start. I’ve switched employers more than once so I have a good basis for comparison, and ING is by far the best place I’ve ever worked. The company culture plays a big part in this, as do the people I work with. Our team includes people from all over the world and we come from lots of very different backgrounds, but we also have some very important things in common: a talent for quantitative analysis, ambition and a really strong drive to continuously improve. We want to be a center of excellence for Credit Risk.”

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About Roko

Roko was born and raised in Zagreb, Croatia. He lives in Utrecht with his wife and their three-year-old daughter. He is a soccer fan, likes reading about history and enjoys watching movies and series. His most recent bingewatch project was The Queens Gambit. Roko is a big foodie too and loves to talk about different cuisines with his colleagues from all over the world. During his student days, he won the Croatian version of the TV show called The Weakest Link.

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