How to acquire the skills of finance 2.0: CFTE panel

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An audience of entrepreneurs and business leaders gathered at LATTICE80 on Tuesday night for a special event being held by CFTE in partnership with SuperCharger, one of Asia’s leading fintech accelerators.

The event was centred on two evening sessions that attempted to dive deep into the growing influence of fintech on the financial services sector.

Below, we share excerpts of the discussion from the panel titled How to acquire the skills of finance 2.0. Moderated by CFTE Co-founder Tram Anh Nguyen, panelists included:

  • LATTICE80 Co-founder, Gina Heng
  • SuperCharger Founder, Janos Barberis
  • Tryb Co-founder and CIO, Veiverne Yuen

LATTICE80 Co-founder, Gina Heng

  • It’s hard to define certain moulds of entrepreneurs. These days, there are traits they all need to have: flexibility, being open minded, long term vision, reliable co-founders, and a willingness to learn along the way.
  • In my case, I started as a researcher at a bank before founding my own hedge fund business that has evolved over time into fintech. Old knowledge from traditional industries, while increasingly less relevant today, can be built upon. Financial professionals must be willing to adapt and learn at the same time.
  • Staying relevant is about self improvement and putting yourself in the position of a student, always looking to learn from others. I don’t know much about London or the UK, so I would want to talk to locals from that market before launching a business there. Never assume you know enough, always look to reach out to people from different sectors and expertise. It’s one of the quickest ways to learn.
  • Everything changes so fast these days. Even with a degree, it may no longer be relevant a few years down the road. Take a modular approach to learning new skills and markets. Bite size online courses are good for people with short attention spans and many distractions.
  • Finance 2.0: Mobile is allowing more financial transactions to take places in markets like Asia by creating tech-driven opportunities to for new players who leverage data and cater to the unbanked population.

SuperCharger Founder, Janos Barberis

  • Entrepreneurs must be relentless in their desire to grow a company and learn at any given time as things change. As you drive a company, you need to think about what’s happening tomorrow. If you don’t, the lack of foresight spreads across the whole company. Continuous learning and tracking where the market’s going is a very important thing. Remember your assumptions may be wrong.
  • Entrepreneurs who have really walked the talk can also identify others who are the same. It’s not just certain skills, it’s a way of carrying yourself and telling your story.
  • Markets are always changing and if you keep repeating what you’ve been doing for the last 12 months you are somehow, somewhere missing a change in the market. You can risk going down a path that is not there any more. Even if things are going well, the entrepreneurs who do best are the ones that keep on challenging themselves.
  • It’s hard to identify immediately whether a founder will be successful or not, but usually founders are successful for two main reasons: 1) personality and drive, and 2) the ability to make good partnerships.

Tryb Co-founder and CIO, Veiverne Yuen

  • Knowledge aggregation and analysis is needed constantly: Read, listen, watch, talk to people. Most people are not particularly aware of the slant on articles they are reading, or what particular research papers they study.
  • From a macro standpoint you need to know where the world’s going. From a micro standpoint, and in fintech specifically, you need to build and run a company. Can you free yourself from fear? Do you know how to fail in the right way? Are you managing expectations right?
  • Read everything and anything. Sometimes it will help you connect the dots in a way you didn’t expect. You need to be able to persuade people (and investors) that your vision of the future is better, is the right one, and is the one they should back.

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