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Industry practitioners offer insight during virtual lecture

6 May 2020

As a kick-off to students’ group coursework, Dr Tobias Dieler, Lecturer in Finance, had three industry practitioners visit a lecture in Banking for second- and third-year undergraduate students.

Dr. Yaroslav Melnyk, Quantitative Analyst with Morgan Stanley started out by describing his path to the position he holds now. He has a technical background and holds a Master and a PhD in Mathematical Finance. After a Postdoc at the Swiss Finance Institute, he joined Morgan Stanley.

He went on to briefly introduce his company and the division he is working in. Morgan Stanley is a US investment bank and he works for the fixed income division. More precisely, he writes the pricing program for the FX trading desk. This requires the use of large amounts of historical data and has the objective for their FX traders to be able to quote an arbitrage free exchange rate to their customers.

Georgia Stewart is the CEO and co-founder of Tumelo. She finished her Bachelor in Climate Change at Cambridge University and founded, right after graduation, their own company with two former classmates. She has been interested in Climate Change since secondary school and had interned and volunteered with numerous organizations in the field.

The idea for their business was to improve small shareholders’ impact on the companies they are owning. Currently, most of the shareholder decisions are taken by larger shareholders. They are trying to “democratize” company decisions by increasing shareholder participation. She explained, using the example of pension funds, that most of us are shareholders of companies but our views are hardly represented in the annual general meetings. Tumelo offers to pension funds, among other investment management companies, a software which aggregates their clients’ views on causes which are voted on in annual general meetings. Georgia’s and their colleagues’ ambition is that, by giving a voice to small shareholders, causes like gender equality and greener business models obtain more support from shareholders.

Matt Franklin is the CEO and founder of Payaca. He has a background as data scientist and before founding his own business, he had a 10 years career as product manager. The idea to found his own business grew out of his job as a product manager and one of his first angel investors was a former business partner.

His business offers intermediation for unsecured loans for projects like home improvements. The idea is to improve the service of independent craftsmen. Many bigger companies are able to offer financing options to their clients when they buy a new kitchen, say. For small crafts businesses there would be too much risk and too many regulatory barriers to offer financing to their clients. Instead, they can refer their clients to Payaca which helps to find a lender. The lending facilities range from applying to an interest free credit card over obtaining an unsecured loan from a high street bank to obtaining funding from a lending marketplace. Payaca earns commissions from the lender.

Georgia and Matt also touched upon the challenges of obtaining the initial funding for their business and the risks of founding a business.

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