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Career Spotlight: Eunice Zhu

Book open Reading time: 9 mins

We caught up with Eunice, Executive Director at SMBC Group EMEA, to discuss what life is like working at the bank.

Eunice Zhu

Please introduce yourself and describe your current role at SMBC…

I’m an Executive Director and Head of Derivatives Counterparty Risk (XVA) Trading for the EMEA region at SMBC Group.

In my role, I specialise in managing valuation and risks, hedging of the bank’s derivatives counterparty risks portfolio. Since joining SMBC Group EMEA in 2018, I have led the enhancement of XVA risk management and trading operations while implementing strategies that consistently generated annual profits.

I also spearhead key initiatives to improve our XVA infrastructure and boost our financial resources management capability. As a manager, I guide my team through volatile market conditions and evolving regulatory landscapes.

Please outline your career journey to date 

For the past 15 years, I've been living in London, but I am Chinese, so I come from an ethnic minority background and my journey in finance started back in China. I studied econometrics at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, where I excelled and graduated top of my class with the highest GPA. Eager to further my education, I then pursued a master’s degree in finance and economics at the London School of Economics, where I graduated with distinction.

Starting my career in the midst of the ’08 Global Financial Crisis, I learned valuable lessons in resilience and adaptability. My career has taken me through several financial institutions, including HSBC, Citi, and AXA. Later on, I spent five years as an XVA trader at UniCredit and nearly three years in the similar role at the Royal Bank of Canada before taking up the Head of Derivatives XVA trading role at SMBC Group EMEA. 

Throughout my career, I think my guiding principles have always been a relentless drive for excellence, a commitment to constantly learning, and my determination to really make an impact in the finance industry.

What do you enjoy most about working at SMBC?

My role as Head of Derivatives XVA Trading combines technical expertise with progressive leadership. I love the rigorous financial and trading challenges, and I'm equally passionate about leading transformative initiatives. Seeing the tangible impact that I have made to the organisation through these initiatives is truly fulfilling.

Beyond the trading floor, I deeply value SMBC Group's employee-led diversity networks. These networks vigorously promote various aspects of diversity, ensuring that everyone feels included and valued. 

Additionally, the culture of teamwork and collaboration resonates strongly with me. Here, every voice matters, and we collectively share ideas and solutions, which enables us to embrace diverse perspectives, driving innovation and enhancing our problem-solving capabilities.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in their career?

For those embarking on a career in financial services, my advice would be:

  1. Develop a solid skill set combining technical expertise in finance, economics, and data analysis with vital soft skills like communication and leadership. 
  2. Keep up to date with industry changes by continuous learning.
  3. Build a strong network by seeking out mentors, sponsors, and connections across diverse backgrounds to enrich your personal and career growth. Find supportive communities offering resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities tailored to young professionals. 
  4. Resilience and adaptability are vital in any industry, but especially in the fast-paced and dynamic financial services sector. The ability to navigate challenges and embrace change will serve individuals well throughout their careers.
  5. Embracing one's unique perspective is valuable. A diversity of backgrounds and experiences can lead to fresh ideas and innovative approaches.

By embracing this mindset of lifelong learning, strategic networking, versatile skills, and determination, you can set a solid foundation for a fulfilling career journey in the dynamic financial sector.

Ready to find out more? Head over to SMBC Group's Profile to learn more about their opportunities!