Our risk information team plays a vital part in our mission to help you achieve your long term business goals successfully.
The risk information team works closely with the risk underwriting team. Their role is to predict trade and credit risk in an unpredictable world. The 30-plus team members include three regional risk managers as well as more than 25 credit analysts who look after our clients’ buyer risks across the UK and Ireland.
We spoke to four members of the Risk Information Team about their jobs and what they involve: Stuart Sworn, senior credit analyst working on high profile risks, Ashley Taylor, credit analyst based in Birmingham, Agnieszka Niedzielska, senior credit analyst based in London, and Anca Maria Toporjinschi, information and grading manager based in our Regional Competence Center in Bucharest.
A critical role
Credit analysts play a critical role in our organisation. They assess and monitor businesses and their creditworthiness to ensure underwriting decisions are based on the very latest information and that businesses are not exposed to too much risk. Their job therefore involves collecting and analysing financial information.
When asked to describe their typical day, the analysts laughed. “There’s no such thing,” explained Midlands-based credit analyst Ashley Taylor. “Our job is incredibly varied and no single day is the same as the next.”
Some of the credit analysts are office based, but others are regularly on the road, travelling to speak face-to-face to clients and attending more than 100 meetings each year. These in-person conversations, along with official data, published statements and P&C management information, are vital parts of the evidence that the risk information team considers when making decisions.
Each credit analyst holds a portfolio of 200 to 250 companies, organised by sector.
While all analysts bring a wide range of skills to their role and have valuable expertise in credit risk management, they often oversee sectors in which they have previous experience. Stuart Sworn, for instance, worked in the oil and gas industry before joining the company 14 years ago. He is now responsible for evaluating a portfolio that includes energy companies.
One of the challenges is to make sure that their evaluation considers how an individual business is affected by the wider economic climate. The deliberation required to draw conclusions “is not an exact science,” says Stuart, which makes it even more important that every team member has a wealth of expertise and experience to support their decision-making.
This same valuable combination of expertise and experience helps the risk information team when they are faced with fresh scenarios.
A prime example is Brexit. The credit analysts now have to ascertain whether the businesses they are assessing may be exposed to new risks, such as possible tariffs or disruption to supply chains, upon the UK’s departure from the European Union. As a result, Brexit has come to dominate the risk teams’ agenda – as it has many others’ – over recent months.
Thanks to our team of economists based in Paris, our analysts also have access to macroeconomic scenarios and the resulting reports (you can find some of them here).
The credit analysts are unanimous in their belief that communication skills are also essential for their role. “Communication is key,” says Anca Maria, “as there are many different personalities within the different organisations that we work with.”
Good communication skills are particularly important when the credit analysts have to deliver decisions that have significant consequences for a business, such as changes to credit limits. They all value the staff training that helps them to share this kind of news.
At the same time, they regard the rapport that they develop with businesses within their portfolio as one of the most enjoyable aspects of their work. “Building relationships with buyers is definitely satisfying,” said Ashley.
Agnieszka Niedzielska agrees: “Supporting our clients is so rewarding, especially when we help to steer them away from working with risky partners. With a good working relationship, we can add value to the products and services delivered.”
By recruiting the best credit analysts, our market-leading information risk team continues to remain at the forefront of the industry.
As a customer, you benefit from this by receiving insights and support from knowledgeable and experienced analysts. Conversely, team members know that they have an important role in helping to protect businesses within their portfolio.
The team is also fully aware of the huge level of responsibility involved in what they do. “As credit analysts, we know that our role has wider significance,” says Stuart. “The recommendations that we make can have big effects on our organisation, our clients’ businesses – and, ultimately, the economy.”
With that in mind, our customers can be reassured that we have skilled, professional and expert credit analysts in place throughout our risk teams, working with them to minimise risk and maximise their ability to achieve their business goals.