‘While we all have our own roles, we also all support one another’

The Kroll team. Front row: Executive assistant Louise Bamber, managing director Malin Nilsson, vice-president Josh Parker, senior associate Ranait Feeney. Back row: Senior associate Rory Brampton, managing director Ed Shorrock, director Sarah Bentley and director Manu Hinojosa Picture: JON GUEGAN (38266874)

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Emily Moore finds out how Kroll combines the warmth of a small office with the resources of a global network

IT is often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home but in the case of one professional services firm, this gathering place is also very much at the heart of the office.

Indeed, with a plentiful array of sweet treats scattered across the worktop and bowls on the floor awaiting the next visit of office dog – and regular LinkedIn star – Molly, if it wasn’t for the arrangement of desks in the adjoining open-plan office, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had stepped into someone’s home.

And this homely feel is no coincidence. As Kroll managing director Malin Nilsson and director Sarah Bentley explain, while the Jersey office is part of a 6,500-strong team of employees around the world, a “friendly and supportive culture” sits at the heart of the Island business.

“Although we benefit tremendously from the support of the global Kroll network, the Jersey team is small, friendly and relaxed,” said Malin, who, having launched the firm’s Jersey office in 2012 after relocating from London, has been instrumental in shaping that culture.

“In a recent international study, 60% of employees said that their manager had just as much of an impact on their mental health as their partner did and, when you think about, that isn’t surprising, as work forms a huge part of your day.

“Therefore, having a good workplace culture and strong relationships with your colleagues is really important, not just for boosting productivity but also for your own wellbeing.”

At the beginning, though, Malin was very much on her own, wondering whether her first job “should be to buy milk or recruit some staff”.

“We now have nine members of staff and have more opportunities for the right people to join us,” she said.

Driving that expansion, the women explain, is the continuing growth in regulation and governance, two areas in which the team specialises.

“We are a professional services company and our tagline is that we help firms manage risk,” said Malin. “The wider firm does that in a variety of ways but the main focus for our team is regulatory risk, with a particular emphasis on areas such as anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing. Having said that, regulatory risk is very broad, with regulation touching many areas of a company. Therefore, we don’t work solely with compliance teams but with the chief executive or chief operating officer to assess and address a range of strategic, commercial and technological issues.”

Adding to the complexity of this challenge, she continues, is the multijurisdictional nature of many of Kroll’s clients.

Kroll managing director Malin Nilsson left and director Sarah Bentley Picture: JON GUEGAN

“We could, for example, be carrying out the due diligence from a regulatory perspective on a trust company which is about to be sold or supporting a company which wants to modernise its policies and procedures to take them to gold standard,” she said. “Critically, though, that company could be operating in 20 jurisdictions, each one of which has a different standard, in which case we have to decide at which level the bar should be set. We then have to consider how people are trained to ensure that they maintain that level. The most important thing is to find a solution which works for everyone intellectually, logistically and practically.”

“That is the key,” agreed Sarah, who joined the firm in 2014 as a senior associate. “It’s all about pragmatism and finding solutions which work. Therefore, you have to have a very practical, analytical mindset to carry out this role, but the work is incredibly interesting and because regulation and governance is a high-growth area, the career opportunities are fantastic.”

Contributing to Sarah’s enthusiasm is the global nature of the work.

“We may be a small team but because we have the support of Kroll’s global network, we are able to work with people from around the world, all of whom have different areas of expertise, so you learn a huge amount,” she said. “We work particularly closely with the teams in London, Hong Kong and Singapore, which has given me brilliant opportunities to travel and expand my horizons. I think it is largely because of this, and the fact that no two years are the same, that I have been here for nearly ten years.”

Supporting the diversity of projects on which people work, says Malin, is the size of the Jersey team.

“Because we are a relatively small team, you have the opportunity to work on projects that probably wouldn’t be open to you in a larger team, which means you can progress much faster,” she said.

“While professional qualifications are important – and anyone who joins at senior associate level has to have or obtain a CISI investment compliance diploma – that hands-on experience is also invaluable.”

While highlighting the early exposure to a range of projects, the women stress that support to complete each challenge is always provided.

“No one is ever left to struggle alone,” said Sarah. “We don’t operate in a hierarchical way. While we all have our own roles, we all support one another and pull together. Everyone’s view is important and every team member has an opportunity to contribute to the business and how we operate.”

And it is not just client projects to which team members contribute, with Kroll also taking part in a range of charity and community initiatives.

“This is really important to all of us,” said Malin. “Every Kroll office can choose a charity partner and for a number of years now we have supported Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey, a cause which is close to the hearts of all our team members.

“Not only do we take part in a range of activities to raise money for the charity but we also help out with its allotments, trying to keep them tidy so that Islanders who are being supported by the charity can go down there and enjoy the space.”

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