THE LEGENDS

Ronald Akkermans

As he prepares for his retirement, UBS veteran Ronnie Akkermans reflects on a working life spent at one bank.

Inducted: 2017
How much of your working life have you spent in securities services?

I started in the securities department at UBS on my 21st birthday so I’ve effectively been in the same business all my working life! I tried to think about how many roles I've had over those 40-odd years and it turns out to be approximately 15, which explains why I never got bored. I believe I'm one of the few left who has really gone through all securities services functions operationally.

Was it by accident or intent that you ended up in this business area?

At the time I started out, it was not that easy to find a job. I thought it would be interesting when I was hired, but I must say that counting physical securities – my initial responsibility – was not the most interesting part of it.

Since then, in your view, what market or industry developments have posed the biggest operational challenges to UBS and its peers?

Already in the ‘old days’, we were going through tremendous changes, including the start of computerisation and desktop PCs. What makes today the most challenging time is that we are faced with a reduction in transactions on the one hand and an increase in regulation on the other, so we are forced to cut costs and at the same time invest more. That’s a challenge for everyone in the industry.

What are the kinds of things that make a day at work a good day or a terrible day?

Apart from win a new mandate, a good day is one where you’ve achieved something with the team and where you feel the support of your environment. That's always a great day. Conversely, it’s always a great disappointment when you don’t get a mandate you’ve been working hard to win. However, a worse day is when you see someone with a personal issue that makes you realise there are important things in life outside of work.

You've spoken about changes from the days of manual processing to computers. What innovation to you feel has made the biggest visible improvement for your customers?

I think that would be the introduction of Straight Through Processing (STP) in the 1980s and 1990s, when volumes increased and manual work was reduced. I believe the industry as a whole really made an effort to find ways to improve our clients’ experience.