Hi Joy, can you tell me a little bit of about yourself?
I am German of Asian origin, and my career is really a mixture of being an academic and a finance industry practitioner.
I started my career in economic development and policy, and then moved on to do academic work in Economics and Finance to earn a PhD in the subject.
I decided that after becoming a professor in Germany that the London financial hub was where I wanted to be, so I completed an Executive MBA at London Business School and soon after joined ABN Amro Asset Management, before it was acquired by the RBS-consortium. My next move was to help build an MSc Finance programme for BPP Business School, after which I decided to return to the finance industry.
What were you doing before you became the CEO of AinFin?
I was the Head of Strategy and Product at Old Mutual Global Investors, responsible for, among other things, the management of a £24bn product range.
Getting involved in tech is still a new thing for women, what was the motivation for you?
I have never ever considered my gender in my career decisions. Running a start up in fintech is a decision I made because I wanted to combine business activity with making a significant positive impact on society.
A way I could do this is through the innovative delivery of financial services as technology can solve a lot of the problems faced by the poor, helping emerging market countries to achieve wealth creation. Financial services do not have to be expensive for poorer people, however the current banking infrastructures are not designed to serve them in the way they need and do not accommodatevarious economic, social and even geographical considerations. People who live in far flung areas and are poor are stuck in a vicious circle of poverty. They are far away because they cannot afford to be near the cities where financial services will be more affordable. Yet being far away makes many things inaccessible – including financial services – thus it makes it more difficult for them to create wealth and as a result they become poorer.
In any case, working in technology, particularly in fintech, is likely to suit women well. There is a lot of multi-tasking required, if we are to follow the ‘stereotypes’. For women who have families the entrepreneurial initiative is well-suited as it allows flexibility around work activities in addition to responsibilities of caring for a family.
Technology is simply a tool to deliver services in a different way. I do not think men necessarily have the advantage in technology. If women fear they are not suitable for a tech job, I’d suggest they become involved and give it a try. It requires a lot of creativity, so women can definitely find their niche within technology-based businesses.
How have you found your journey so far and what has been your greatest accomplishment?
Life is a continuing journey, and every time I achieve a goal, I don’t necessarily reflect on the milestone itself as I believe that the journey is always more important. However I have always taken pride in my achievements in academia – in terms of helping aspiring students to learn and build careers. It is incredibly satisfying to meet past students and see what they have achieved and how they are appreciative of what they have learned through my mentoring.
I suppose that really means that what is more important to me is how I can help other people succeed. I hope that through AinFin, I can achieve the same success in helping people, and hopefully on a larger scale.
How do you think the industry can inspire more women to work in tech?
Try it out! Do not let yourself be stereotyped. There are loads of creativity needs in developing services based on technology. Women are needed to balance out the opinions and ideas in product development, in marketing, and in many areas of technology-based businesses.
What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs thinking about taking on the tech industry?
Technology will be a significant platform for the delivery of future services. One cannot simply ignore it, so the challenge is for women to see it as such.
In the end we still enjoy the same services with technology as before it advanced to this level. We want to be entertained, we want to have comfort, we want to be served, we want instantaneous delivery of everything so that we want to have more time for everything else that we enjoy.
It is still about life – and enjoying life, but technology makes it a little easier for everyone. I am certain that women have a lot to contribute to that.
What does it mean to you to be a woman working in tech?
You are generally surrounded by men! But that is probably the case everywhere. So I just stay as I am and remain comfortable with that. I just focus on getting the job done, exactly the same as men do.
Please can you provide an overview of how AinFin works
AinFin is a financial technology company that enables both the banked and unbanked to access banking services from any device they have and transact to anyone, anywhere.
Our product ‘Swifin’ provides a solution to the fact that access to financial services is difficult. Some would argue that financial services are increasingly accessible in some circumstances, however users are still being hit with high transaction fees and face difficulties such as the lack of interoperability between the traditional mobile money companies.
It is clear that users are not as empowered by the access to financial services as they should be and as a result wealth creation is near impossible. That is why Swifin provides users with an exciting solution that both promotes the potential for wealth creation and directly solves the problem of access and interoperability. In this way Swifin is a robust digital tool, carefully designed to promote true financial inclusion on a global scale.
The platform permits instantaneous money transfers and remittances alike, making money more liquid and therefore providing huge opportunity for both individual users, microfinance institutions and for expanding the reach and services of the trusted and traditional banks.
How to find AinFin: