Financial Talent Summit, Mumbai

CFA Society India organised 3rd Financial Talent Summit in Mumbai on September 28, 2019. Full day event covered the topics on emerging career areas for CFA candidates and charter holders also the skill sets required to get into those. Key takeaways from various sessions are as follows:

Session on “Moving Minds : The Power of Conversational Influence”

Presented by : Joshua Davies, Principal Consultant at Knowmium

Moderated by: Jayesh Gandhi, CFA

Contributed by : Vaibhav Jain, CFA

Joshua Davies, Principal Consultant at Knowmium, was the keynote speaker, kicking off the speaker series at the FTS, with the subject “Moving Minds: The Power of Conversational Influence”. Key take always from the session:

  • The session started with the theme of role of positive influence, how soft skills about communication and empathy are far more important than technical skills when one moves up the career ladder
  • Joshua involved the audience in practical games where 2-member teams were formed and were given an exercise to demonstrate the relevance of influencing abilities, listening and building trust
    • How did one frame the request, position one’s view, who spoke more, was one able to build trust and how did the partner view your request – was it a compromise? He suggested that to establish trust in first meetings, do the through research on the person or company you are meeting and open up genuinely.
  • Knowing vs doing– it’s very easy to know and understand the problem but difficult to actually implement that. This was again demonstrated by a practical thumb finger exercise
  • Discussion on triangle of Context-Character-Culture
    • Context is the situation – family, co-workers varies
    • Character is the individual variation even when they are from same demographics
    • Culture is the different cultures depending upon the geographical regions
  • Compared different cultures based on countries and the conversational overlaps that might create confusion or misunderstanding if one is conversing with a person of different cultures without having knowledge about it. Hence, it is important to understand the cultural aspects while communicating across geographies. Like some culture can be high context and others might be low context.
  • When do we go with a push or a pull in conversation – this depends on the situation
  • Building trust – Move from transactional to relationship orientation. Study up, show up, open up, follow up
    • We need to move a person from point A to point B, which isn’t a straight path but involves a lot of Stops. An efficient communicator is to build the trust and move the person from point A to point B efficiently
  • Audience Analysis– always prepare well before going to face an audience. Before going into a conversation, write 5-10 questions what other might ask you
    • Whoever controls the questions controls the conversation
    • Ask more open questions, dig deeper when asking questions
    • Move the conversation back and forth

This was followed up with a brief Q&A round


Session on “Emerging Opportunities for CFA Careers in AIF Industry”

Presented by: Manish Makharia, Business Head – Alternative Investment Fund, SBI Funds Management

Moderated by: Litesh Gada, CFA

Contributed by: Vaibhav Jain, CFA

  • He started off with asking the audience if anyone was working in the AIF industry and following up with who wants to get into this field and why
  • After getting a sense of the collective wisdom of the audience, he defined Alternative Investment Fund as a capital raising instrument when capital available from traditional sources gets exhausted or is unavailable
  • Discussed the regulations around AIF, with the SEBI as regulator came up with AIF as an asset class in 2012, after PMS regulations came up as early as 1993
  • Defined the characteristics – type of capital, investors, management, liquidity, customization, etc
  • Listed out major players in various segments
  • The industry has been growing massively with total private market fund raising expected to reach $7.5 trillion by 2023 (CAGR of 8%)
  • Government has been very supportive for AIF Industry with launch of GIFT City, opening up FDI investments and HNIs / FPIs are encouraged
  • Wrapped up the session describing various facets and departments in an AIF and what sort of skills are needed to get into those divisions.
  • He clearly emphasized that AIF is high risk high reward industry. One has to be clear as to which part of AIF industry one wants to work PE/VC or hedge fund as both require different skill sets and it is difficult to move from one to another. To consider AIF as a career option, one must keep in mind that profession is quite demanding and requires patience and dedication to establish oneself in the industry.

Followed up with a Q&A round


Session on “Emerging opportunities for CFA careers in Distressed Asset investing”

Presented by: Sourav Mishra, CFA, Head of structured credit, HSBC

Moderated by: Jayen Shah, CFA

Contributed by: Rajni Dhameja, CFA

Session started with Jayen briefly explaining the various segments in credit markets and how top rated segments differ from high yield segments. He introduced Saurav Mishra and the session started. Key takeaways:

  • Credit markets is an opportunity for CFA candidates and charter holders as the work involves analysis of the companies
  • The emerging areas in credit markets apart from traditional credit is in distressed credit
  • Introduction of IBC has created opportunities across the value chain
  • One must understand the nuances thoroughly hence it is important to be detailed oriented as identifying a distress company where funds can be deployed can be quite challenging
  • Patience and perseverance is a key to succeed in this space as closure of one deal can be long drawn process. Sometimes the deal gets dropped after some amount of time and effort is invested in it
  • After a lot of effort, when distressed asset gets revived and brings livelihood to the people who were affected by it, that is the point of ultimate satisfaction which brings purpose to the job


Session on “Are you data science ready? Skills for investment professionals”

Presented by: Dr. Jatin Thukral, CFA

Moderated by: Shreenivas Kunte, CFA, Flipkart

Contributed by : Priyank Singhvi, CFA

Science is the science of extracting actionable insights from data. This data can be both structured and unstructured. It employs techniques used from Statistics, Mathematics and Computer Programming. Deriving insights from data has been going on for a while but what has changed over the past few years is that the sheer scale of this has changed on back of advances in technology, telecommunications, social media and machine learning. There has been explosive growth in generation of data and ability to store and analyse that by businesses. This has in turn lead to exponential growth in jobs in this field. Harvard Business Review has called the jobs in the field as the sexiest jobs of the century.

Data science is used in finance in multiple ways like customer experience enhancement, risk management, assent management, FinTech and data monetization. The customer experience is enhanced through applications like personalized customer service, chatbots and voice recognition, etc. Use of data for through activities like better fraud and money laundering detection, insurance automation, etc. is used for risk management. Asset management sector used data science in managing quant funds, algo trading, etc. App based loan approvals and disbursals are examples of use of data science in FinTech.

Data Science is disrupting the financial sector by increase in productivity and emergence of new business models. These are manifested through the following techniques:  automation of the processes, scalability through analysing vast data, big data engineering, ability to use alternate and unstructured data, deriving consolidated insights by combining various week data sets. To illustrate application of these techniques, the speaker elaborated on use in the rapidly grown sub-sector of Quant Funds.

Quant Funds are the funds that extensively use quantitative techniques for security selection. Till about early 2000s most quant funds mainly used simple economic indicators and ratios like PER, div yield, etc. But in mid 2000s quant funds started using more complex data sets and by late 2000’s they started significantly outperforming fundamental based funds. Use of data science started becoming a differentiator for the more successful ones. Data science allowed these funds to achieve unprecedented scalability of insightsfor example machines to read millions of sell side reports, or, messages on investor forums, in a manner that is humanly impossible. Similarly through techniques of big data engineeringit is possible to find patterns across billions of orders, or, to identify biases like herding in millions of order flows. The more imaginative ones have started using alternate data sets, like ship booking to assess sales outlook of the management, or, analysis of employee boards to assess staff sentiment, etc. Advancement in technology and data science have also allowed to process unstructured data sets like biases hidden in texts of analyst conference calls, or detect signals hidden in central bank interviews, traffic and parking data to assess a malls sales, infra demand etc. as was done by some to correctly value REIT’s of sparingly occupied Chinese townships.

After success of data science in Quant Funds, some fundamental and value investors started applying it in their analysis and their success has led to wide understanding that it is not a technology fad and has applications across various segments of finance.

Today financial institutions are the biggest employers of data scientists. Data science is a vast field and requires two groups of skills: Math and Computer/Programming Skills. Statistics, machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence are the key math skills required in data science. Within programming, Python, is the best starting point. Learning is a journey and most popular skills is a good way to start. Afterall there is a reason why they are the most popular skills!

This was followed up by Q&A round with Shreenivas Kunte


Session on “Careers in Wealth Management and Private Banking Industry”

Presented by: Anshu Kapoor, Head of Private Wealth Management at Edelweiss Financial Services.

Moderated by: Gajendra Kothari, CFA

Contributed by: Vaibhav Jain, CFA

  • Anshu commenced the narrative by highlighting his career trajectory, that he never intended to get into Wealth industry but eventually moved towards it. In fact, back in 1990s when he started, this industry didn’t exist fully
  • Anshu showed how big the Wealth industry today in India is with growing number of HNIs and promoter families at a large pace
  • Compared to global market, India is still small in terms of coverage of individuals by professional wealth managers, so there is a lot of scope. Demand isn’t a constraint
  • Currently, billion dollar individuals in India are around 140, more than that of Japan
  • So what exactly is wealth management? As Anshu defines it – “helping clients spot opportunities and trends and protect them from risks”, hence it’s not only investment management but way beyond it
  • What competency is needed for a career in wealth management? – knowledge about various asset classes, financial markets, knowledge of global economy, products and services and technology
  • Empathy is one of the most important soft skill a wealth manager should possess
  • Other soft skills required are constant curiosity, imagination, global perspective, dealing with volatility and having patience

This was followed up by Q&A round with Gajendra Kothari


Session on: ” Getting Hired ! Landing your dream Job”

Presented by : Nalin Moniz, CFA, CIO, Alternative Equity, Edelweiss Global Asset Management

Moderated by: Jayna Gandhi, CFA

Contrbuted by: Rajni Dhameja, CFA

This was the last session in the conference. The earlier sessions focused on what are the emerging areas where one can look for the jobs and what are the skill sets required for those jobs. This session was about the next step, about how to get the job!

Nalin started with discussing the 5 real life examples who have taken unconventional path to land their dream jobs. 4 examples were of his mentees and the fifth was his about his career journey as he transitioned from overseas to India. He guided about the commonality across 5 examples. Following are the key takeaways on how to land your dream job:

  • Always be up skilling : Keep on learning the skills which are important for the role you aspire for
  • Network in focused and thoughtful manner: Connect with people who are part of industry in which you aspire to go
  • Have a goal in mind and then work backwards
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks in lateral shift. Sometimes you get internal opportunities in the roles you aspire for, don’t be afraid to take risk on those
  • Entrepreneurship can be fast track. Sometimes being entrepreneur brings you the opportunities which you have not imagined for

He emphasized that celebrate your diversity. Celebrate what makes you unique. This will help you to bring the value addition which is unique to you.

This was followed up by Q&A round with Jayna Gandhi


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