1. Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am originally from Sichuan, China. I love a life of adventure and of new challenges. During the past 17 years, I have worked in many industries: Investment Banking, Wealth Management, Asset Management, Corporate Training, and FinTech. I have experienced various functions from the back office to the front desk. Organically, I transitioned into the role of a Wealth Management (WM) relationship manager and later found my passion as a sales trainer, entrepreneur, and ultimately as the COO of a start-up.
During my venture in FinTech, I enjoyed some of its successes. As a woman in FinTech, it was a novelty. I was recognized for being different from my counterparts. I had won a few competitions and awards, such as the “Hong Kong SheLovesTech” Pitch Competition (2017) – 2nd place, and was featured on the power list of UK Women in FinTech award (2017). I contributed to HK FinTech Week (2017) and SPOT HK (2018). I made my radio debut as a guest speaker on the topic of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency with RTHK ezonerthk (2018). Where am I now? In a full circle journey, I have docked my sails back to banking. I have gained a vast degree of knowledge of the modern world through the immersion into FinTech, broadened my entrepreneurial skills and mindset by building my own business, and shaping a start-up company. Now, my teammates hear me repeat often: “Anything is possible, if you are willing.”
2. What drew you to a career in finance? What has motivated you to stay?
I started my career in the US in investment banking, and I feel it was a stroke of luck. To be honest, when I was in my 20s, I didn’t know what I wanted as a career. After I completed my MBA in the US, like most young graduates, my only plan was to get a job. Also, I wished for overseas working experience. My lucky stars aligned, and I accepted a part time job in the back-office of UBS. I started in their data management team, then moved to the front office FX desk. With that career shift, it moved me from the US to Hong Kong. My motivation is always driven by opportunities to learn, and the excitement to explore my next journey in life.
The 3 reasons I choose to be in finance:
- It is a dynamic environment: I love the active energy on the trading floor. I still have fond memories of the first time I walked into the world’s largest trading floor. The UBS Stamford trading floor, 712,000 square feet –larger than a football field I felt like “Alice in Wonderland”. Immediately, I fell in love with that magical place.
- To work with great people: I have had the privilege to work with some of the smartest people. You meet people with a PHD in Math from Harvard and those who were previously taxi drivers, but had street smarts and exceptional EQ.
- Poise for resilience: this is very important. Banking is a high pressure and competitive work environment. You need to have a way to release the constant pressure and not allow the stress to negatively impact your health and balance in life. Through my hobbies, such as travelling, yoga, hiking and meditation, I find stress relief. I focus on what I can control, and what empowers me in order to take on new challenges. I embrace any opportunity to grow.
3. Tell us about a proud moment for you in your career?
Many many moments are proud moments, especially when it comes to the human aspect of my position. The joy of turning an angry client to a happy and loyal client is so rewarding. In 2008, I was a FX specialist, and our clients bought a substantial amount of gold on margin. Then, gold crashed, and many clients suffered losses. I called a particular client (with the relationship manager), who had lost 40% on his gold position. When the client answered, as expected, he was furious. After he vented his anger, I said: “I am sorry for your loss. This is not our intention. We also do not want you to lose in your investments. If blaming me can make you feel better, I am willing to let you continue. The reason for my call is to see what we can do to help safeguard further loss.” Then he calmed down and apologized, admitting, “I agreed to the trade based on the market data and analysis. Let’s look at what we can do now.” Since then, the client and the RM are my loyal advocates, and know when things go “south”, they can trust that I will be here for them. It’s a people business. I feel the fear in uncertain times, but I also acknowledge the compassion we need as human beings.
4. What will be your 2021 mantra to keep you motivated, either professional or personally?
- I’m giving up “being nice”, and trading it for “let us be kind.” It’s too often as a woman, we are taught to “be nice”. I am seeing its inauthentic nature. I choose to be kind and it may not always be “nice”.
- “Anything is possible, IF you are willing.”