Originally from Switzerland, Daniel Koepfer’s career took him to Asia 16 years ago – and he hasn’t looked back since. But he’s also travelled throughout the financial services world, from auditing and risk consulting to account structuring and underwriting.

Daniel’s journeys have also been a kind of quest – in search of satisfaction but also new challenges. And in surety, he’s found both.

My career so far has been pretty varied in terms of the functions I’ve experienced, but it’s always been in either banking or insurance. I was always exposed to surety, but it wasn’t my focus. In 2018, after several years working for multinational companies and running my own consulting business, I saw an opening at Allianz Trade in Singapore.  

I was really drawn to the wide scope of responsibilities and the opportunity to learn something new. However, I remember saying to the Regional Head of Surety during my interview, “do you know that I’ve never issued a bond in my life?!”

Luckily, my background put me in a strong position. I had the financial knowledge as well as experience managing complex international structures. So, I began the surety-specific learning curve – which was steep and fast! Even as Head of Surety and Guarantee at Allianz Trade in ASEAN, I’m still learning about different types of bond wordings as I gradually take responsibility for new regional markets and businesses. Meanwhile, it’s also essential for me to pass this knowledge and experience on to my growing team. 

As I said, the learning curve has been steep. I’m grateful that the global surety team is so available. I can contact my colleagues in the UK, for example, and ask them, “what would you normally do in this situation?” You always get the information you need quickly.

I also appreciate the diversity of my clients and of the job itself. What an opportunity to get to issue bonds all around the world! My day could include anything from business development to relationship management, underwriting, risk management, or even administration. Sometimes I meet with brokers, sometimes I focus on underwriting, or discussing strategy with local CFO/CEOs. It requires an amount of adaptability that I find very enriching.

Shortly after I joined Allianz Trade, we had some internal changes and with a reduced team I ended up as a kind of a one-man show. Then – to further complicate things – I was hospitalized and on medical leave for several weeks.

However, the Australian team was amazing, stepping in to help and being tremendously supportive. Our team effort kept business afloat, and once I got in-office support, we ramped up to doing more business than before.  

That experience taught me that I can handle more pressure than I thought I could. Also, sometimes it’s necessary to slow down and be patient with oneself. And crucially that a good sense of humor in the workplace is always helpful — we are always cracking jokes around here!

I feel very happy with where I am professionally right now. There is still a lot that I want to do in my region. I may spend more time on the multinational side of the business. I’ve grown so much already, quite organically, and that’s a trajectory I’d like to continue.
Daniel Koepfer
Head of Surety & Guarantees
Allianz Trade in ASEAN