Moving to October and November, Hong Kong FIntech Week (HKFW) and Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF), two of the largest fintech conferences in Asia, are around the corner! We are privileged that 100WFinTech will be the HKFW Supporting Organization and SFF Community Partner, and some of our 100WFinTech Public Directory members will be the Panelists in these two conferences. In late October, we will co-host an event in Hong Kong together with Fintech Association of Hong Kong and Private Wealth Management Association (PWMA) to discuss the hot topic “From Data to Decision: A.I.’s Role in Client’s Investment Journey”.
In this ‘100WFinTech Changemakers’ series, we are interviewing two FinTech women from these 2 Asian fintech hubs in the 100WFinTech’s Public Directory, Taosha Wang and Amanda Ong, telling the stories of how they were open to the opportunities for them on writing a Fintech Book, “Techonomics You Should Know, Life-Changing Economics of Disruptive Technologies” and conducting Channel News Asia Interviews on Business and Capital Market News respectively.
Worldwide, women are leading the way in building and funding disruptive technologies in fintech to advance businesses, broaden access and reduce the disparity in wealth, and transform how people invest in digital assets. Many of these women are featured in 100WFinTech’s Public Directory and are the changemakers in their respective fields in FinTech.
Taosha Wang, Portfolio Manager, Fidelity International, Author of Techonomics You Should Know, Life-Changing Economics of Disruptive Technologies (Hong Kong).
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.con/author/taoshawang
First, we chat with Taosha, who has recently debuted her book, Techonomics You Should Know: Life-Changing Economics of Disruptive Technologies.
Taosha is a portfolio manager at Fidelity, a leading investment company. An experienced tech investor and a trained economist, she specializes in investing in thematic growth opportunities. She has previously worked at McKinsey & Company, Goldman Sachs, and PIMCO. She is regularly quoted in media such as Bloomberg and Reuters. She is the mother of an almost two-year-old daughter to whom she has dedicated her new book.
Technologies can be disruptive and unpredictable, but the economic framework for understanding their impacts is surprisingly consistent and simple. In Techonomics You Should Know: Life-Changing Economics of Disruptive Technologies, Taosha breaks down the techonomic impact for individual working professionals on three essential fronts: jobs, income, and wealth. Using this intuitive approach, the book guides readers through the impacts of disruptive technologies with confidence and ease.
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Why did you write the book Techonomics You Should Know: Life-Changing Economics of Disruptive Technologies?
I have always found myself drawn to the big forces that will shape the future for decades to come.The inspiration for the book formed along my habitual future gazing. Being an investor is all about predicting the future and its financial impact. We predict everything from inflation next month to new product launches by companies. If we take a step back and look at the really big picture, technology is among the most disruptive forces out there. We can’t paint a picture of the future without understanding its impacts.
At a more personal level, I also wondered how my job, income and household wealth would be affected by these great new forces. As I started asking these questions, I realized they are shared by many. Much has been discussed about the technical and the business potentials of technologies. Yet little has been said about their economic impact on working individuals. So I started to put words into computers and the rest is history.
What have you learned from this book writing experience? If you could redo it, is there anything you would change?
I learned it is not easy writing a book (*laughing out loud*), especially if you have a competitive day job and a toddler at home that is either too cute or too naughty to ignore.
But I have always wanted to do something brave. To prove to myself that I can do something out of my comfort zone if I really put my mind into it. Working on this book turned out to be just that. We are all busy with life and work and it takes tremendous effort to squeeze out that extra bit of time and energy – like wringing the towel – for something else. But when something sparks passion in you like my book did for me, you will wring the towel just a little tighter.
If I were to do it all over again, I would have probably been less shy about it earlier on. I kept it in “stealth mode” until I couldn’t anymore. It is a curious combination: being brave and shy at the same time. But that’s how I felt when I was working on my book.
Since my book announcement, I have received so much warmth and support from friends, colleagues, and strangers. I have gotten (re)connected with and inspired by so many people. I think the whole process would have been easier if I allowed myself to be carried by the support a little earlier on.
What didn’t go according to the original plan?
The creative process was very emotional. I was surprised by that because I was writing a serious matter-of-fact non-fiction book on economics and technology.
I did not expect that writing a book can be excruciating and exhilarating at the same time. There are so many times when I felt like I was never going to finish the book, let alone proudly showing it to the rest of the world. I still pinch myself that it has happened.
What would you do if you were not doing what you are doing?
If I were not writing a book, I would still be researching and trading at my day job and taking my baby to the playground. I also host poker games among friends at my house, which has been my only mental getaway since I started working on my book. I enjoy compartmentalizing my brains into different roles as a woman, a mother, an investor, and now a book author. In a somewhat inexplicable way, I feel like the combination of these responsibilities help me do better in each of them individually.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow a similar path, i.e., writing about disruptive technologies?
Virginia Woolf once said: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” The same is probably true for non-fiction. I am grateful for my day job as an investor which is intellectually stimulating and pays the bill. I have deliberately made sure there is an enclosed space at home where I can withdraw from my other duties and focus on translating ideas into words. It helps even when you are (occasionally) staring at a blank Word screen. A physical space helps create headspace.
What is the biggest takeaway you want to leave with the readers at 100 Women in Finance/100WFinTech?
Find your unique voice in an exciting place.
We have all gathered in the pan-Fintech space because it is an exciting place to be. I found my unique voice because I know economics and I know technologies. I am trained to predict how jobs, income, money’s worth and asset prices respond to changes in the world. And these are exactly the kind of questions that people ask when they are faced with powerful AI and new technologies.
Once you have identified an exciting place, get yourself out there, offer your most unique value-add, and connect with the great minds in the community. I am very grateful for the opportunity to speak with 100WFinTech. Thanks so much to the team for inviting me today.
Amanda Ong, Country Manager, Arta Finance
We chat with Amanda Ong, Country Manager of Arta Finance. She leads their Singapore business as well as international distribution and partnerships. Before joining Arta, Amanda was Head of Partnerships, Global for Prudential Wealth Management. Amanda brings with her an in-depth knowledge of developing wealth businesses globally via both digital and traditional channels. She has experience in scaling up teams from scratch and across countries. She was also a member of the Wealthtech subcommittee of the Singapore Fintech Association.
Previously, Amanda was heading the Singapore business of StashAway, a leading fintech and one of the largest digital wealth managers in the region, as Country Manager. She led StashAway’s Client Experience team building it up to a team of more than 48 people in 5 countries (Singapore, UAE, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand). She also led public relations and StashAway Academy, the company’s financial education arm, for StashAway globally and was a Wealth Advisor to the company’s HNW and UHNW clients.
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Amanda is regularly invited to share her insights on markets/business news with programmes including Channel News Asia. The Channel News Asia Interviews happened regularly – almost every other week – and it was on their radio station CNA938 for the Asia Business segment which occurs in the morning drive for most commuters.
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Why did you share economic and capital market views on Channel News Asia?
It was important for the company to be considered a thought leader in our field. We were regularly asked by the media to provide our point of view or expertise on a range of topics including financial markets and business.
It was a way for us to help educate the general public about investing and financial education has always been a core pillar for us so we were always more than happy to do those engagements.
What have you learned in the process? If you could redo the process, is there anything you would change?
I definitely learned a lot and got better at it over time. One important thing was to always be as prepared as possible and to practice it out loud at least once or twice. I found that days where I had more time to prepare so perhaps the questions came at least 90 minutes before going live and where I had done some research the night before on potential questions, I would be a lot more confident going into those interviews than times when I didn’t.
What interesting things can you share with us about how you prepare for your CNA interviews?
I would usually only get the questions an hour before we go live so I always had to be up to date on what has been happening and what happened overnight with markets. Some of the questions could also be about data points that are announced the morning of the interview – so for example, we’d go live at 10am and the numbers for China’s PMI numbers could be announced only at 9am. So I would have to quickly look up the release and provide a perspective on the numbers as well as the potential impact on markets and businesses.
In general, what I would do is to make sure I have talking points drafted in response to each question and then practice them quickly at least once before going live.
What would you do if you were not doing what you are doing?
I’ve always wanted to be in the financial services industry so I can’t really imagine myself doing anything else. However, when I was younger I did want to become a professional golfer. At that time, I was a competitive golfer in the Singapore Sports School so I was aged about 12-14. I was doing interviews relating to my performance in competitions as well as future goals for golf. Those experiences have also helped me now when I speak to the media or at events.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow a similar path, i.e., being a speaker to share economics & capital market views on media channel?
First of all, having a strong understanding about financial markets would be a good start. This can come from a degree in economics, business or finance, a professional certification like the CFA or even be self taught. For me. I did a double major in Accounting and Finance in University which helped me with the foundation for understanding what was happening in financial markets. After that, it really is about continuous learning. I would regularly read the business and financial market news every morning as well as keep up with industry reports and relevant articles. Alongside the practical experience I was getting everyday at work advising clients and talking to partners, this provided me with the knowledge to speak about topics relating to financial markets and wealth management.
What is the biggest takeaway you want to leave with the reader at 100 Women in Finance/100WFinTech?
As a woman in the industry, I am grateful that 100 Women in Finance and 100 Women in Fintech exist. It is a great way for women to connect and discuss their challenges in a safe space from those that may have experienced it before them. I would encourage everyone to take advantage of the tools and events that 100Women in Finance/100WFintech make available to reach out to peers and potential mentors. Networking is key and these are people that can help you grow in your current role or help with your future goals. Be hungry to learn and be hungry to connect.
Upcoming and recently completed events organized/co-hosted by 100WFinTech:
- September 27th 2023, New York, USA – AssetTech and AI in Investment Management. On Pepper, RSM and 100WFInTech are co-hosts.
- October 25th, Hong Kong, China – From Data to Decisions – A.I.’s Role in Client’s Investment Journey. Panel speakers include Alex Ypsilanti, Quantifeed; Benson Wong, JP Morgan; Charice Yue, Clifford Chance; Nelson Chan, Amazon Web Services; Jennifer Hsieh, PWMA. Fintech Association of Hong Kong, Private Wealth Management Association and 100WFinTech are co-hosts.
- October 25th, Frankfurt, Germany – Future of Finance: Where Cutting-Edge Tech Meets Wealth Management. Panel Speakers include Christina Epplen, Allianz Global Investors; Irina Gontcharova, Microsoft; Robert Delill, Revolut; Laurent Bertrand, BTO; Rukayyat Modupe Kolawole, PaceUP Invest. Allianz Global Investors is the corporate sponsor and host with 100WFinTech.
- November, 7th, London, UK – Scaling Fintechs Globally; Navigating Challenges and Seizing Opportunities. Panel speakers include: Alicia Ariffin, SteelEye; Diana Dinis, Remote; Nicky Goulimis, Tuna and Nova Credit Founder; Richa Verma, EY. 100WFinTech and EY are co-hosts.
This is the 2nd article of our Changemakers in FinTech series. In the future, we will continue to feature FinTech book authors, Ted talkers, lecturers, and influencers from around the world.