Fintech is among the most exciting industries to be in today. It continues to thrive and prosper as it plays a crucial role in supporting various economies. There’s also plenty of room for innovations, providing us with new products & technologies to improve how the financial sector operates. 

However, working in this business does not fall short of challenges, especially for women. Deloitte reports that there are very few companies with female founders and leaders. In fact, according to ValueChampion, an SG-based personal finance brand, 86 percent of fintech companies in the ASEAN are led or founded by males.  

But, that didn’t stop some female fintech professionals to challenge the norm. These are powerful women in Fintech who are leaving a mark and leading their respective companies to success. 

We spoke to some of the finest and most inspirational female figures in Fintech here in the Asia Pacific region to help us get to know the industry from their perspective; to share their expert insights, experiences, and tips for aspiring women in fintech. 

Here are the four questions we asked :

  • What inspired you to pursue a career in fintech?
  • What were some of the key challenges you have faced in your career as a woman?
  • If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
  • What would be your best advice to a young aspiring woman in fintech?

Check out their responses below:

 

Laura Ryan

Director of Analytics APAC 

FactSet

Growing up, I was surrounded by successful, ambitious women who worked in male dominated industries. From this, plus my inherent self-confidence, I was able to look past being the only woman in the room and focus on my valuable contributions. I thought to myself, “no one else notices I am the only woman in the room, so why should I?” Of course there were, and still are, hurdles to overcome ie, a client may prefer to speak with the male over the woman. Ultimately, the client will work with those they see value in, trust and genuinely feel will be the best business partner; regardless of gender or race.

My first few years of my career were on trading floors dealing derivatives and always had an interest in innovative technology. I am grateful to some key male individuals who, along my professional journey, challenged me to continually grow with this industry.

If I could go back in time I would have spoken up more in the early part of my career. I would advise young aspiring women in fintech to ask the questions you have, share your ideas; a different perspective is not only a way to stand out for yourself, but for generations ahead of you. Also, work to source a mentor. This way you too can grow up surrounded by successful, ambitious women like I did. 

Ivy Lun

Head of North Asia 

NIUM

What inspired you to pursue a career in fintech?

I have been working in the Payment industry for more than 20 years. For the last five years, I witnessed the significant change of consumers’ behaviors.  People are looking for more reliable, fast, easy and cost efficiency payment solutions. The traditional remittance charge ranging of 3-5% and more than 3-5 days waiting are not acceptable any more. Fintech is the only way to fulfil all the needs. Fund can send at 0.3-0.5% of charge and can be received within 10 minutes.    That is why I joined a fintech company, I hope to leverage my experience and knowledge in the payment industry to the Fintech world. 

What were some of the key challenges you have faced in your career as a woman?

The biggest challenge is certainly to keep the balance between work life and family life.   

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?

I would have taken my computer classes more seriously. 

What would be your best advice to a young aspiring woman in fintech?

It is rewarding to join a fintech company, it will be challenging every day, and be aware that to work for a Fintech start-up, you have to be very creative in your work. There will be no clear policy or procedure set up for a lot of issues/problems.  

Elaine Lim

Head of Sales APAC 

Cloud9 Technologies

What inspired you to pursue a career in fintech?

I was inspired to join the fintech industry by the challenges of growing an early stage or disruptive technology to the point of widespread adoption – in technology sales speak, it is called “Crossing the Chasm”. 

Crossing the chasm can be full of twists and turns but during the process you learn a lot and get to work with people who have a pioneering outlook and have a genuine passion for the product and customers.

This combination of an exciting work environment and great colleagues is what keeps me inspired daily at work.

What were some of the key challenges you have faced in your career as a woman?

I have found the fintech industry to be an open minded and egalitarian environment where people are judged on their work and originality of thought irrespective of gender.  

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?

Reflecting on my career, every work experience (whether in financial markets and enterprise sales) has helped me form important skill sets and knowledge that have led me to my current role at Cloud9.  So I would say do your best at each role that you are in, learn from it and follow your passion.

What would be your best advice to a young aspiring woman in fintech?

Fintech is a fast evolving world where success derives from a constant curiosity to learn, questioning the status quo, being open to improvements and possibly disrupting your own product to deliver greater value propositions to your customers.

Fintech is indeed one of most exciting and challenging industries to be in. It opens a lot of opportunities for career growth and development..There may be a bit of a gender gap as of the present time, but don’t let that deter you from pursuing a career in this business.  

Be inspired by the many women in fintech who balance their family life and work, defy common industry stereotypes, and provide great value to their organization. We hope you feel more motivated to grow into this line of work with the superb tips shared by our invited experts.

A special thanks to Laura Ryan, Ivy Lun and Elaine Lim for carving out time to accommodate our request for an expert roundup and for graciously sharing their tips for women in Fintech.

May we all continue to celebrate women, not only on special occasions such as the recent Women’s Equality Day, but on every milestone achieved.

 

 

Anchal Murawala is a Senior Associate at Datasearch Consulting, a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in the Financial Technology & Data sectors.

You can download their FREE comprehensive guide on “The Complete Guide to Hiring Fintech & Data Talent – 5 Proven Steps to Secure the Best Candidates Possible” hereAlternatively you can view the Datasearch Consulting website or contact them directly on info@datasearchconsulting.com for a more detailed discussion.

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