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Katja Steblaj: An alignment of values in Macquarie’s Group Treasury team

Katja Steblaj‘s interests in development, environment, and ecology drove her to apply for Macquarie, but it’s the empowering and dynamic culture that has led her to stay. 

 

Katja Steblaj had always wanted to work in a financial services organisation with a purpose, either with a focus on impact investment, social responsibility, or green finance. Following her ambitions, she completed a Bachelor of Economics and an International Master of Business Administration in her home country of Slovenia before being selected to intern with an Inter-American development bank in Washington DC. The internship led to a full-time position, and she ended up staying with the bank in risk management for five years before relocating again, this time to the UK. 

Arriving in London, Katja embraced the opportunity to pick up some highly transferable skills in liquidity by taking a position in treasury for a UK high street bank. Looking for a greater sense of purpose, she saw a role advertised at Macquarie and immediately knew it would be a great opportunity.

“I like finance and solving complex problems,” Katja says. “But it’s also very important to me that an organisation I work for has a strong purpose. I’m very interested in development, the environment, and ecology. Macquarie felt aligned with my values.”

 

The value of green credentials

Katja had first heard about Macquarie while still working in the US, on the risk side of a wind generation project in Latin America.

“Macquarie is very big on green initiatives and is a leader in this field,” Katja says. “The fact that it had been arranging and investing in green energy projects since 2010 really got my attention.”

“I felt that Macquarie was a financial organisation with a purpose and it would be a great cultural fit for me.”

 

Growth in Group Treasury

Katja joined Macquarie in 2016 as Treasury Manager, covering liquidity and funding in the London Group Treasury Balance Sheet Management team, which at the time consisted of just two people: Katja and her manager.

Today the London liquidity and funding team has grown to have five members. Group Treasury regionally has also grown dramatically, including establishing reporting and capital teams to improve its day-to-day responsiveness and decision making.

“We have grown strategically and organically as Macquarie’s operations in Europe have also grown,” Katja explains. “The industry has also become more complex on the regulatory side, and we help manage this.”

“It’s very dynamic. Although I’ve been in the same team for five years, the landscape, businesses and approach have all changed, as have the scope and responsibilities of the role.”

 

A diverse role

Katja is currently a Senior Treasury Manager, a role that sees her monitor and advise on funding and liquidity for the organisation.

“We ensure our entities have enough liquidity to survive and grow,” Katja says. “I look after policy documents, stress testing and regulatory corrections. I also advise on other ad hoc projects, such as setting up the bank in Ireland for Brexit or broker operations in France.”

“It’s fast-paced work and the stakes are high,” Katja says. “We may be juggling regulatory deadlines on the one hand, while an internal business could be asking us for advice on the other.”

“Depending on the time of year, we also get involved in board reports, making sure we stay within risk appetite limits,” Katja adds.

Katja and her liquidity colleagues interact with external stakeholders, including regulators, and advise internal businesses and teams on funding or optimising structures for complex or large transactions. They also collaborate with their colleagues in the central teams across Australia, the US, Ireland and the rest of Europe.

 

A unique perspective and culture

Katja enjoys the fact that Group Treasury sits right in the middle of Macquarie’s operations.

“In liquidity, we are involved in the process from beginning to end,” Katja says. “We aren’t just a piece in the puzzle.”

“Increasing regulations will always be a challenge but this is balanced by our teams creating smart solutions that give us a competitive edge,” Katja says. “We’re already seeing more automation in reporting and analytics that will help us give the best advice in a shorter amount of time.”

Now, after five years at Macquarie, Katja still values Macquarie’s strong green focus, but she’s also come to appreciate its empowering culture just as much.

“Macquarie values self-starters,” Katja says. “Everyone is encouraged to come up with ideas and solutions. It’s motivating and empowering for people to have a voice and to own their work.”

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