Hey everyone and happy Thanksgiving!
Wondering if anybody has ever made the leap from traditional financial careers over to the fintech side. What skills from the traditional side were most useful in general and what skills did you have to learn? Was there any major change in the work environment/growth path? Appreciate any thoughts.
I work for one of the biggest TAMP fintech firms in existence. If you’re leaving the traditional asset management side of finance for fintech I would say you’re crazy. However, all of these firms have their own internal asset management divisions, in which case, if your opportunity is within that part… then welcome to the future.
I think you need to know about the online and the blockchains.
I started my career on the traditional investment side as a research analyst. I transitioned to ‘fintech’ (before this was a term) about ten years ago & it was the best personal decision I could have made.
Whilst I enjoyed investment research, I found my real passion was creating solutions for the investment industry. There is something about ‘making things’ (albeit software is quite intangible) that is hugely satisfying. I knew the exact pains of the investment domain well, so this helped tremendously in transitioning to the ‘fintech’ space.
Learn to code. If you are moving into the fin-tech space, it will definitely be beneficial to have some programming/coding exposure. Even if you don’t do the actual coding yourself, it helps being able ot talk the same language as the devs.
Mark, really appreciate the detailed response. If I may, can I asked what firm you wound up working for? I see you’re in South Africa based in your signature. Was that where you were based on have you since moved?
my personal finance career really started in London just a few months before the financial crisis. I joined a leading international multi family office & was part of a team managing wealth for ultra-high-networth families. Despite the financial market crisis the team (&larger firm) flourished. However, during my tenure, I had noticed that my real passion does not lie within portfolio management, but in process automation & building useful tools for the team (key was obviously understanding the business). Upon my return back to South Africa, I pitched the idea of a portfolio management application to the leadership team. They agreed & took a big reputational risk in backing me in this (ad)venture. I brought a technical founder on-board & we proceeded to build and deploy the application in record time to the investment team. We continued improving it as the business grew. The application is still being used on a daily basis after nearly a decade (albeit today in a more limited capacity)
The programming knowledge and experience gained in building & maintaining a software solution for a decade allowed me to fulfill the role of CTO in a smaller investment consulting firm (here in South Africa) at the start of 2018.
Hope this is of interest