From the Field to FinTech: Athletes & Veterans Thriving in the Digital Financial Revolution
Embark on the inspiring stories of athletes and veterans thriving in FinTech as they leverage their unique skillsets to make a remarkable impact in this rapidly evolving world.
FinTech, a term shortened from "Financial Technology", refers to the shift of financial services to digital platforms. By leveraging technology, FinTech companies offer a range of financial services that allow clients to manage their financial operations with ease, from opening bank accounts online to using digital wallets, to even accessing telematics-based car insurance. The adoption of FinTech has contributed to numerous benefits, including faster transactions, enhanced convenience, reduced costs, and greater personalisation.
The world of FinTech is rapidly evolving, and as technology continues to reshape the financial landscape, the demand for skilled professionals in this field is soaring. Working in FinTech provides a unique opportunity to work at the coalface of innovation in an industry that has dominated the world for centuries. In this article, we delve into the advantages athletes and veterans bring to FinTech, showcasing inspiring stories of successful professionals excelling in their area. Whether you are a candidate considering the industry or a FinTech employer, read on to discover how those individuals make a remarkable impact in this industry.
Olly Benkert – from Traditional to Faster, More Efficient Finance
Olly Benkert, a former Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, made a move to the FinTech industry. With almost two decades of experience at Goldman Sachs, particularly in interest rate trading, securities finance, and collateral, Olly now serves as the Co-Founder, Advisor, and Board Member for HQLAx.
Global FinTech specialising in digital collateral registry, HQLAx facilitates efficient trading and settlement processes by creating records of legal ownership of baskets of collateral on a distributed ledger and facilitating ownership transfers without moving the collateral across custodians. This new process saves banks capital and funding costs. Collaborating with major financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citibank, BNY Mellon, BNP Paribas, and Deutchse Borse, HQLAx is redefining the way collateral is traded in the capital markets.
Olly's motivation to join the FinTech industry stemmed from the opportunities that were created to use technological innovation amid the new financial landscape which followed the Great Recession (2008-2007 financial crisis). He appreciates the faster decision-making process of a start-up and the excitement surrounding FinTech's role in enhancing financial services' efficiency through technological advancements – “the ability to be creative and move fast makes fintech an attractive environment to work in”, he said.
He emphasises the importance of a diverse skillset when considering ideal candidates for FinTech roles, citing former athletes as valuable additions due to their self-starting nature and goal-oriented mindset. Having worked with former athletes during his tenure at Goldman Sachs, Olly found their presence refreshing and intriguing.
Jesse Menghini – Mastering FinTech with Military Precision
Jesse Menghini, a former Running Back in American Football and a US Air Force veteran, transitioned into FinTech successfully. After facing an injury that cut short his sport ambitions, Jesse enlisted in the US Air Force where he worked as a Radar, Airfield & Weather Systems (RAWS) Technician for 7 years. Jesse eventually obtained his BSc in Finance from Northeastern University while in the Service. He then joined PrismFP as an Execution Trader in the Sales & Trading team.
PrismFP is a next generation brokerage providing many of the world’s leading buy-side clients with transparent and highly technical services, combing cutting-edge market and trade analytics with seamless digital connectivity. PrismFP’s proprietary software 3fiftyseven® empowers users to make optimised trading decisions across asset classes and currencies. Jesse values the ‘tight-knit community’ at PrismFP and enjoys the opportunity to work across various workstreams beyond his assigned role as opposed to working for a larger financial company where similar roles are typically narrower in focus. Within his office in New York, the team of 10 is, experienced and well-connected, contributing to the collaborative culture across the firm.
Jesse finds FinTech rewarding, offering creative problem-solving and abundant opportunities for improving industry capabilities.
His military experience equipped him with valuable soft skills such as accountability, problem-solving, and the ability to stay focused on completing tasks. His ability to maintain composure in high-pressure situations is a valuable asset he acquired from his military career. He recommends leveraging military or athletic backgrounds, as skills acquired in those environments will serve individuals well throughout their careers. Also, he emphasises the importance of demonstrating interest in finance and gaining practical experience. In addition to internships, which may not always be possible, Jesse highlights other valuable ways to showcase your interest/desire to work in finance, such as through your studies, volunteer activities, and gaining professional qualifications.
Luke Harding – Paddling Out Through In & Out of the Boat
Luke Harding, a former canoe sprint marathon paddler, transitioned from his successful sports career to FinTech. He began kayaking at the age of 8 with his Dad and later joined the Longridge Canoe Club, where he gained valuable mentorship from a former GB athlete. In 2014 he won the k4 1000m semi-final, finishing second at the Junior World Championship. He also won the under-18 European Championships. After winning prestigious titles and representing his country in canoeing, Luke studied Physics with Theoretical Astrophysics at Nottingham University, followed by a Master's degree in Finance with Financial Technology from the ICMA Centre (Henley Business School). Currently, Luke serves as a Junior Quantitative Sales Analyst at PrismFP in London, where he works on the Execution desk, pitching ideas and client strategies based on macroeconomic events, and striving to provide excellent client support.
Working in a smaller FinTech company allows Luke to explore different aspects of the business and be at the forefront of innovation in finance. His experience in canoeing has instilled valuable skills such as teamwork, focus, and persistence, which have greatly contributed to his success in the FinTech industry. Luke's sporting philosophy of giving his all – “all in or nothing” * and enjoying “being in a team that pushes you really hard”, aligns with his corporate career, making him an attractive candidate for FinTech roles.
* as read on Luke Harding’s profile – International Canoe Federation
Exploring FinTech as a career path offers exciting opportunities for future student-athlete graduates, while employers can benefit from the valuable skillsets and attributes these individuals carry from sports. While some roles in FinTech require a more technical background, many positions necessitate adaptable professionals with problem-solving skills, coachability, and a willingness to thrive in fast-paced environments - traits that are found within the add-victor talent pool.