Miljan Malovic is the Head of the Business Legal Advisory Office of Banca Intesa Belgrade. He graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Belgrade in 2001, and joined Banca Intesa in 2006.
CEELM: Can you walk us through your career?
M.M.: My professional career started some 16 years ago. Upon graduating from the Faculty of Law at the University of Belgrade, I got a job as a law clerk in a law firm. After two years of practice, I took and passed the Bar exam, which is the precondition for becoming a practicing attorney-at-law. Even though private practice was my first occupational choice, professional curiosity took me to Banca Intesa in 2006 where I first served as Senior Legal Advisor and then took the post of Head of the Business Legal Advisory Office, which I have held since 2014.
CEELM: What did you ultimately find so appealing about the banking sector, to stay so long?
M.M.: I would say that one of the most significant things that influenced my career path and definitely drew me to the banking sector was the period of credit expansion in Serbia. This major change in the Serbian banking sector began in 2006 and consequently led to an increased demand for new corporate positions and various expert profiles in the legal department of banks operating in the domestic market. Having this in mind, it was a real professional challenge for me to start working for Banca Intesa, the number one bank in the local market, which is part of the international Intesa Sanpaolo banking group
CEELM: Are you satisfied with Serbian legislation for the banking sector? If there is one part of the legislative framework you would like to see changed, what would it be?
M.M.: Speaking in general, Serbia has taken its course towards the EU, and for more than a decade it has been working on harmonizing and aligning its regulations with the EU acquis. It is not an easy road – it is a road full of challenges – but beyond any doubt, progress is evident. On a more specific note, I would say that the era of digitalization, where information is available in a split of a second, has brought about specific changes in the legal environment. On the one hand, digitalization leads to faster and more accurate and up-to-date operational processes, providing us with great efficiency in obtaining required documentation and information while providing legal services. On the other hand, it opens the field of “e-business,” which has to be regulated in detail by laws, which implies a series of challenges involving the legal formatting of e-signatures, validity and accuracy of e-documents, customer data protection, and so on. Those who are able to adapt faster to the requirements of digitalization will be more competitive on the market.
CEELM: What is your biggest success or most significant achievement with Banca Intesa?
M.M.: It is difficult for me to single out a particular success or an achievement. Banca Intesa has given me the opportunity to work on a number of various projects and gain experience in different areas, from corporate governance to legal risk assessment. That is the beauty of my job. Still, what was particularly important to me was the chance I was given to further improve myself professionally and earn an MBA thanks to the bank’s commitment to ensuring professional training and development for its employees.
CEELM: What does a typical work day look like for you?
M.M.: Not a single day is typical or the same; for each there is something specific. What is typical for each day is the professionalism, enthusiasm, and teamwork I get to share with my colleagues.
CEELM: You said your original plan was to work in private practice. Why did you decide to go – and stay – in-house?
M.M.: Private practice is a great place for every young person to start their career in law. I believe the experience I gained there was a perfect stepping stone for what followed in my professional life, exposing me to many different aspects of the law and allowing me to work with clients. Both private practice and in-house have their pros and cons, but I guess in my case being part of an in-house legal team of a large, developed system such as Banca Intesa turned out to be a better fit. First and foremost, it was a challenge, not only in terms of expertise, but also in the managerial sense.
CEELM: What do you do to relax?
M.M.: Traveling and spending time with my family is definitely what relaxes me best. I also enjoy reading an interesting book or watching a good movie after a day’s work.
CEELM: Ok, we’ll bite. What are your favorite books and movies?
M.M. I have several favorites. When it comes to books, I enjoy The Stranger by Albert Camus, Shogun by James Clavell, and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, among others, while among my favorite movies are Casablanca, The English Patient, The Pursuit of Happyness.
CEELM: If you would move from Serbia, what other country would you most like to work and live in?
M.M.: I like living in Serbia, but there is something about the Mediterranean that is so appealing to me, both personally and professionally, so I guess in that case I would opt for a country such as Italy, Greece, France, Spain, or Portugal.
This Article was originally published in Issue 5.6 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.