The Mindset: Ansgar Finken

3 minute read

The Mindset: Ansgar Finken

Welcome to ‘The Mindset'

A new blog series from Solaris, where we delve into the minds of our wonderful Solarians’ to discover what makes them tick, why they like working at Solaris and reveal their key career advice.

First up, we have Ansgar Finken, Solaris’ Chief Risk Officer.

Who is Ansgar Finken?

Ansgar Finken rectangle

Before joining Solaris, Ansgar was with Deutsche Bank Group for more than 20 years. His last role was CRO of BHW Bausparkasse AG, a mortgage lender. In his career he has worked across the entire risk spectrum, including senior roles in risk controlling, model risk, credit, as well as bank management topics in retail and investment banking. Another focus of his work has been transformation and merger projects, including data & IT programs. Ansgar has always been passionate about sustainability and diversity, he co-sponsored BHW's sustainability management and has stepped into sponsoring sustainability, diversity, and inclusion at Solaris.

Ansgar, what most excites you about working at Solaris?

With our API and cloud driven products, Solaris can do things a traditional bank can’t do. That is what appealed to me about working at Solaris – getting to develop a closer understanding of the level of new technology and platform driven products, and of course the people. Solarians make the company what it is, amongst our Solarians we have a truly exceptional breadth of knowledge and cultural diversity.

What does a typical day look like for you at Solaris?

I can honestly say that there is no such thing as a typical day. I live in Frankfurt and now have a place in Berlin. I commute via train to and from Berlin at the start and finish of each week – this is where I get most of my working and thinking time. When I am at Solaris headquarters my typical day is filled with a mixture of meetings; ranging from internal discussions with teams and leads to more formal committees, and of course a whole range of interactions with regulators and auditors. In the future I am hoping to find more time to interact with our partners and the wider fintech community.

If you could give your younger self career advice, what would it be?

Don’t focus on formal career steps and doing what others think is the right thing to do. Instead find something that excites you intellectually, challenges your brain and brings you in contact with inspiring leaders. Follow the path that you want for yourself.

What specific trends do you see emerging in embedded finance?

When I look outside the strong market momentum and growth outlook of embedded finance, I am seeing a strong regulatory pivot.

There has been a large, and justified, shift to tough regulatory oversight of all licensed fintechs. We are now starting to observe a convergence – the regulatory differences between CRR (Banking) and EMI (E-Money) are shrinking, and regulators across Europe, including the FCA, BoL, Bafin and the EU are starting to treat CRR and EMI similarly. This convergence will drive a lot of the work we have to do in the future, but also provides an opportunity to leverage the sometimes painful lessons we have learnt from the past.

What are some of Solaris’ biggest milestones in tackling risk and compliance?

Solaris now has its own separate, group wide, risk function. We have given the new CRO function, not only my face, but lots of other faces across the EMI and CRR function of Solaris Group. Risk now has an identity, and a CRO function with strong leaders and experts to drive risk culture and awareness across the entire organization.

What do you think the most important thing is for businesses to do to help support sustainability?

As any bank or fintech company, Solaris’ direct CO2 emissions are minimal by nature, but we still take a holistic approach to sustainability, assessing it from three pillars: Nature, People, and Business.

The People aspect of our approach, particularly creating an open, diverse and equal opportunity environment, is very close to my heart. If we take gender diversity in the fintech industry for instance, we don’t see enough women in leading roles. This is also an issue at Solaris, women currently make up less than 30% of the workforce and sadly even less are in managerial levels. This is something we are actively working to resolve - and I am proud that we have a culture where Solarians feel empowered to use their voices to tackle these issues and promote diversity through our DE&I and Futura groups - two very important employee-led initiatives at Solaris.

What is your superpower at Solaris?

As Solaris’ first CRO, I strive to give risk awareness and risk culture at Solaris a face and am proud to be an ambassador for risk culture along with our great CRO team.

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