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Risk in Focus: Mr Denis Zubovas, IRMCert, Director of Credit Risk Management and Control Department, AB Siauliu Bankas, Lithuania


Mr Denis Zubovas, IRMCert

Director of Credit Risk Management and Control Department

AB Siauliu Bankas, Lithuania


We speak to expert risk management professionals from across different businesses and industry sectors to get a better idea of what working in risk is really like and what hints and tips they'd share with people looking to move into the industry


Denis recently placed first in the top ten students (on average over the two International Certificate in Financial Services Risk Management exam papers) in Europe (excluding the UK).


How did you get your job?


My career path in credit risk started about 20 years ago, when I joined a company dealing with the assessment of corporate clients’ credit risk. 15 years ago, I had joined the banking sector before the financial sector faced the financial crisis.


It was valuable experience to be in banking during financial crises, proving how important risk management is in all chains of the credit circle. During my career in the banking sector, I had the chance to strengthen my risk management competencies through a wide range of risk management activities, from managing a large portfolio of higher risk loans, leading projects and teams dealing with risk monitoring, management and control to building of  risk assessment, management and control frameworks.


What is a typical day like as a Director of the Credit Risk Management and Control Department?


Every day is quite different, filled with various activities from leading and educating the team I’m responsible for, to driving changes, leading projects and participating in a wide range of other activities related to building and supporting a strong risk management and control framework. 


What do you enjoy most about your job?


Since all working days are different, the variety of activities makes the job interesting. My risk management position requires wide collaboration with colleagues from different departments and brings plenty of challenging activities such as project, stakeholder and change management, analytical, planning and educational activities.  Besides the variety of tasks another aspect of risk management job satisfaction is the value it creates to whole organisation by employing the opportunities considering risk universe,  ensuring implementing of strategy and satisfying high expectations set by regulator, shareholders and other stakeholders of the organisation.  


What are the challenges?


By taking a risk manager role you have a responsibility to ensure that the right balance between risk and reward is set in the organisation. Risk management is far more than only operational routine activities. You must understand how your decision may affect other departments and the wider organisation in the context of business strategy. Setting of the right risk culture is also challenging. Driving of cultural changes usually takes significantly longer than setting of new processes.


What would you say to others thinking about taking the International Certificate in Financial Services?


It worth taking if you want to understand the concept of enterprise risk management and how it is applied in financial sector. Studies help you to understand how risk management in financial services evolved, what standards and regulations are set in risk management and governance, how different types of risk are managed and foremost, it helps to see the big picture of risk management contrary to fragmented view of specific risk management areas. Furthermore, during studies you get practical tips how theoretical knowledge could be applied in your everyday activities.  


What have you been able to put into practice in your job as a result of what you have learnt?


It is always pleasure to share with the team with new knowledge how risk assessment, monitoring and management could be more effective and efficient.  Risk assessment, analysis, and control tools presenting in the course can be easily applied into practices regardless of type of banking risk you are involved. 


Since a considerable part of the course is dedicated to proper risk governance it helped me in defining the roles of employees responsible for risk management in first and second lines of defence, allowing to build proper risk management structure. 


What advice can you give to others? 


My advice for others starting theirs career in risk management would be to broaden your horizon in understanding risk management by learning more about the enterprise risk management concept, and how it is applied in the banking industry.


This will help to understand how specific management activities are incorporated into the Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) process and how strong governance and adequate risk culture could be ensured considering evolving banking risk regulations and modern risk management standards.   

My other advice would be never lose focus on proper risk governance and risk culture setting risk management processes and policies. Risk governance and risk culture are paramount in  implementing  risk management goals.  Without clearly defined roles and lack of the culture, the processes and policies will not be brought effectively and efficiently into practice.  I assume it is one of the reasons, why so much attention is devoted to mentioned topics in IRM course.   



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