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Spotlight On... Mpanji Simfukwe


News - 16 October 2018

'Spotlight On' is the platform where you can get to know some of the members of our team. This week the focus is on Mpanji Simfukwe, from the Risk Management Team at ABN AMRO Commercial Finance.

When did you join ABN AMRO?
I joined ABN AMRO in July 2015. Working for ABN AMRO appealed to me as the role allowed me to continue working in Risk Management, and equally important, the business had incepted a business transformation programme – an area I am very passionate about.

Where did you come from?
I was with Close Brothers Group PLC, working as Head of Credit for Close Brothers Premium Finance, and prior to that I worked for GMAC Commercial Finance PLC.

What is your role here at ABN?
I am part of the Credit Risk Management Team and provide risk advisory. The latter involves being a risk sounding board for the Commercial Team. In addition to this I am also involved in the transformation programme of ABN AMRO and employee welfare.

As part of ABN AMRO’s transformation programme – so far I have been the Project Lead on 2 initiatives, (i) New Client On-boarding Process Reengineering Project (Time To Win) and (ii) Risk Factor Upgrade Project. The former delivered a reduction in the time it takes to on-board a New Client by 33%. The latter has enabled us to enhance our Risk Based Approach preposition, allowing us to constantly monitor the performance of the collateral, and identify challenges as they develop together with our clients.

I am also a member of the Information and Consultation Committee ("ICC"), and ABN AMRO UK representative on the European Staff Council ("ESC"). Both of these bodies initiate, discuss and provide advice/feedback to ABN AMRO UK MT and ABN AMRO Exco on matters that impact employee welfare.

What’s the biggest value-add your role brings to Clients?
As part of the application process, as part of the Deal Team, we assess the suitability of the funding solutions we offer to our Clients’ needs. We work with our Clients to understand their business objectives and funding requirements in order to provide them with a suitable funding solution that is aligned to their needs, their portfolio of assets and our risk appetite. We owe it to our Clients to lend responsibly, identifying gaps and mitigating risks to provide them with the most effective and affordable option.

Who do you mainly interact with?
I work closely with several other departments, particularly our Commercial Department, where I team up with our Business Development and Relationship Managers on new transactions, and the restructuring of existing Client’s facilities.

With our recent merger, I am also engaging with our colleagues from the Lease Credit Risk team as we embark on a knowledge and skills exchange to enable us to effectively underwrite both, or a combination of, Commercial Finance and Lease transactions.

With my remit in the ICC and ESC, I interact with colleagues from different function areas within ABN AMRO Bank UK and those from other European countries, respectively.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
It’s not monotonous. Every new opportunity presents a unique preposition and a new set of challenges depending on the funding solution required, the sector the Client operates in, etc. The fundamentals of credit risk may be similar but applied differently from Client to Client.

Where do you live?
I live in Eastbourne with my wife Judy and our two kids, daughter and son aged 8 and 16 years old, respectively.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with family be it just the four of us or visiting friends and family out of town. And of course, a good part of my spare time is expended on Daddy taxi duties as both our children have a ‘rich’ social and extracurricular life! I also enjoy reading, exercising and swimming when I get the chance.

What is your favourite film?
I have two! First is Top Gun – apart from its perceived ‘machoness’ it is very much about comradery, how we build relationships, healthy competition and how we get invested with our work colleagues. Second is What Women Want – which clearly highlights how clueless we (men used in a very loose way in line with the movie) can be and the value of communicating with one another.

What is your favourite kind of meal?
Beef or chicken stew made with kidney beans and okra and a side of ‘Nshima’, a Zambian delicacy which is a type of mash or thick porridge made from maize meal.

What was your earliest ambition?
I grew up in Zambia and studied Agricultural Sciences with a dream of one day going into farming – and the dream is still there. My postgraduate studies offered me an alternative opportunity – having completed my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Finance in the United States, I had a newfound passion in combining analysis with finance to tell a story.