“There are way more similarities between sabre fencing and anti-money laundering (AML) than you might think!” says Johan de Jong Skierus.
As a child, he wanted to be a fighter plane pilot or an actor. Instead, the 32-year-old Swede is now both an elite sabre fencer for the Swedish national team and also a specialist in anti-money laundering at Danske Bank.
The fencing began in high school, inspired by a teacher, and after a few years, he turned to the sabre instead of the traditional epee.
“More action, more decisions, and it is faster – much faster!” he says.
What is AML or anti-money laundering?
Approximately 2,000 people at Danske Bank currently work with anti-money laundering as their main field of expertise.
Not raring to get started with his career
Johan’s interest in anti-money laundering began during his final years of law school. “There was a lot of media attention and the whole AML area just seemed fascinating,” he says.
However, Johan was not exactly raring to get started on a career when he had obtained his degree. He pushed some tempting offers aside and instead travelled the world with his girlfriend for almost a year while doing a little law freelancing on the side.
Luckily, job postings within AML were still abundant when they came back and settled. And that’s how he ended up at Danske Bank in 2019.
“I felt they had faith in me, and I was given more and more responsibilities and room to develop. A year ago, I got a position job as daily production lead, which means I plan and oversee the daily flow of anti-money-laundering cases.
After-work activity on the fencing ‘piste’
A lot of career-minded professionals with a law degree would probably find it difficult to combine a career with doing elite sports. For Johan, however, juggling his work at Danske Bank’s AML unit with doing elite sabre fencing seems to have posed no problems.
“The bank appreciates that you have a life outside the office, and working conditions are flexible, so it hasn’t been a problem at all – and recently we even had an after-work activity on the fencing piste!” he says.