It’s interesting that the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) sparked by Lehman Brothers collapse in September 2008 sparked the FinTech revolution, according to some. I personally think FinTech was bubbling away before the GFC but, certainly, the GFC led to massive investment focus upon changing the system (almost $100 billion since 2010).
Equally, the collapse of Lehman Brothers did lead to lots of former investment bankers launching FinTech start-ups. One example is Revolut, “a secure, mobile-based current account that allows you to hold, exchange and transfer without fees in 25 different currencies”. Recently valued at $1.7 billion, it’s a FinTech unicorn created by Nikolay Storonsky, a former employee of Lehman Brothers. And it’s not the only one. Many bankers have left the banks to found start-ups in FinTech, such as:
Anil Stocker, co-founder of MarketInvoice
Founder Anil Stocker worked at Lehman Brothers before it collapsed, while his co-founder Ilya Kondrashov is a Goldman Sachs alumnus. This peer-to-peer lending platform lets companies borrow against unpaid invoices online. £400 million ($612 million) has been lent since launch and lending volumes are growing by an average of 30% each month.
Ronnie Mateo, CEO of Trumid Financial
A former Salomon Smith Barney VP who left the firm for the buy side only to return to Citi and rise to MD, Mateo became CEO of Trumid, an electronic-trading platform for corporate bonds, in 2014. It has secured $82m in funding from investors including Deutsche Börse, CreditEase, Peter Thiel and George Soros.
Giles Andrews, Executive Chairman of Zopa
Zopa was created by a group of former bankers involved in the launch of Egg, an online banking service in the 1990s. Zopa was a pioneer in peer-to-peer lending in the UK. Its platform lets people lend money to consumers and it passed £3 billion lent over the platform this year. Zopa has also partnered with challenger bank Metro Bank to offer loans to consumers over its platform.
Nick Hungerford, founder of Nutmeg
Founder Nick Hungerford is another fintech entrepreneur who has fled from the City, formerly working at stock broker Brewin Dolphin and Barclays wealth management. This start-up makes investment management services that are usually reserved for the wealthy available online for sums as small as £1,000 ($1,530). Savers can set goals like buying a house or paying for university and Nutmeg’s money managers will invest their cash accordingly.
Stu Taylor, CEO of Algomi
Founded by former UBS bankers, Algomi has created a social network for the bond market that connects those who want to sell with those who want to buy. Prior to Algomi, this was done through speculative phone calls wasting a lot of time. Its service is currently used by nine banks, including some of the world’s biggest. The start-up, founded in 2012, has offices in New York, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Chicago, and is planning a major push into the US.
Rhydian Lewis, CEO of RateSetter
Founder Rhydian Lewis worked at boutique investment bank and financial advisor Lazard, which advised the Government on the sale of Royal Mail. Peter Behrens, the other co-founder, was a banker with Royal Bank of Scotland. RateSetter is a peer-to-peer (P2P) lender that lets people lend their savings out to individual borrowers, cutting out the banks. Ratesetter was the largest P2P lender in the UK by volume last year, lending £292 million ($447 million). The business is already profitable.
Christoph Rieche, CEO of iwoca
iwoca was founded by ex-investment bankers — Goldman Sachs alum Christoph Rieche, now CEO, and James Dear, iwoca’s CTO who was previously at Deutsche Bank. iwoca’s online platform extends credit facilities up to £100,000 ($150,000) to small businesses. The company’s custom-built decision engine gives businesses a decision within a day and loans grew 250% in the year to June. It recently raised $20 million (£12.8 million) from 2 German investors, including the venture capital arm of bank Commerzbank.
Susan Estes, president/CEO of OpenDoor Trading
Estes, formerly a managing director at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Countrywide Securities Corp., got her start in the industry as a runner at the New York Board of Trade, a commodity futures exchange. Now the co-founder, president and CEO of OpenDoor Trading, a Jersey City, New Jersey-based fintech start-up operating an electronic bond-trading platform, Estes worked her way up from sales to trading and eventually senior management at big banks in a male-dominated environment.
Tammer Kamel, co-founder/CEO of Quandl
A former senior engineer at Citi, the director of risk management at the hedge fund Simplex Asset Management and a partner at the Iluka Consulting Group, Kamel is now the founder/CEO of Quandl, a provider of alternative data to hedge funds, asset managers and investment banks that launched in 2011. It has raised $20m from Nexus Venture Partners, August Capital and other VCs.
Brad Katsuyama, co-founder/CEO of IEX Group
Katsuyama, former MD and head of global electronic sales and trading and the co-founder/president/CEO of the anti-HFT stock exchange IEX Group, likely needs no introduction, as he was one of the main protagonists of Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.
Antony Jenkins, founder of 10x
The former CEO of Barclays Bank launched 10x to reinvent the banking experience through machine learning, cloud services, encryption at all states and other newer technology. Aimed at helping large banks manage data and transactions, build new products and work with consumers, it raised £34 million ($46 million) in its first funding round.
Eric Poirier, CEO of Addepar
Poirier, a computer scientist, worked on the fixed income analytics desk at Lehman Brothers for a little over three years before jumping to data software firm Palantir Technologies as a director just in time. In 2013, he became the CEO of Mountain View, California-based Addepar, a cloud-based software and data provider that has raised $215m from Valor Equity Partners, Harrison LeFrak, Blumberg Capital and 8VC.
Catherine Flax, CEO of Pefin
Flax climbed the ladder to the role of CEO of global commodities for Europe, the Middle East and Asia and then the chief marketing officer of J.P. Morgan. For the three and a half years, Flax was a managing director and the Americas head of commodities, foreign exchange and local markets at BNP Paribas. In September, she quit banking to become the CEO of Pefin, which uses AI algorithms to provide subscribers with personalized, fiduciary financial planning and investment advice.
Vikas Srivastava, CRO of Integral
After six years as the head of currency risk management at Barclays Global Investors (later acquired by BlackRock), Srivastava became an MD at Citigroup, where he worked for close to 10 years. Now he’s the chief revenue officer of Integral, a fintech firm providing cloud-based workflow management and FX trading software to banks, broker-dealers and asset managers based in Palo Alto, California.
Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset Holdings
Masters, the former J.P. Morgan banker who spearheaded innovation in complex derivatives, especially credit default swaps (CDOs), turned down the job of running Barclays’ investment bank. Instead, she became the CEO of New York-based blockchain start-up Digital Asset Holdings, which helps to cut banks’ back-office costs, in 2015.
Vikram Pandit, co-founder of The Orogen Group
Ex-Citi CEO Pandit steered the bank through the financial crisis but was fired in 2012. He and Atairos Group co-founded The Orogen Group, which invests in fintech companies such as CommonBond, an online provider of student loans; Orchard, a data and infrastructure provider for the marketplace lending sector; MMKT Exchange, a technology platform to improve liquidity in the secondary market for loans; and TransferWise, an online peer-to-peer money-transfer service.
Hans Morris, managing partner of Nyca Partners
Morris, the ex-CFO and head of finance, technology and operations at Citi, former president of Visa and private equity executive at General Atlantic, founded fintech venture capital firm Nyca Partners in 2014. It invests in alternative consumer credit, merchant payment solutions and financial infrastructure software startups, including Indiegogo, Affirm, CommonBond and Lending Club. Morris is the chairman of the board of the latter, and a board member of KCG, AvidXchange, Boomtown, Payoneer and SigFig.
John Mack, a member of Lending Club’s board of directors
Mack stepped down as chairman/CEO of Morgan Stanley in 2011. Since then, he has invested in various fintech companies, including Lending Club (on whose board he sits), Orchard and Dataminr, which sends social media-based alerts to traders. He also participated in a $10m initial funding round for New England Funding Technologies (NEFT), which created the mPowerCredit credit-rating platform.
Kerril Burke, CEO of Meritsoft
Burke, the co-founder/CEO of Meritsoft, a fintech firm that provides automation software to investment banks, custodians and broker-dealers, started his career a CPA at PwC before making a move to Goldman Sachs, eventually becoming an executive director there, and later worked at Credit Suisse.
Spencer Lake, vice-chairman of Fenergo
In April of last year, Lake, the former head of global capital financing and vice-chairman of global banking and markets at HSBC, was named vice-chairman of Fenergo, a Dublin-based client onboarding and lifecycle management software firm whose clients include HSBC, BBVA, BNY Mellon, Westpac and Scotiabank. He also worked at Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan.
Monica Kalia, Ezechi Britton and Martin Ijaha, co-founders of Neyber
In September, Goldman Sachs invested £100m ($1.39m) in Neyber a fintech start-up founded in 2014 by three former investment bankers, including two Goldman alums, that lets people borrow money and repay the loans via their paychecks.
Ijaha, the CEO of Neyber who left Goldman in 2012, and his co-founders – Kalia, another ex-Goldmanite, and Britton, a former Credit Suisse banker – attracted an extra £15m ($20.84m) of lending capital from existing investors led by former Deutsche Bank COO Henry Ritchotte and the former co-head of Credit Suisse’s investment bank, Gael de Boissard.
Tanmai Sharma, founder/CEO of Canopy Pte. Ltd.
Sharma worked in sales, structuring and trading globally and made MD at Deutsche Bank, but after his job went from exciting to boring, he quit banking and started up his own fintech firm, Canopy Pte. Ltd. (formerly known as Mesitis), which converts the raw investment statements of wealthy private banking clients into an electronic format. Private banks use this data to increase traction with their customers.
Glenn Havlicek, co-founder/CEO of GLMX
Havlicek made it to MD of global liquidity management over 22 years at J.P. Morgan and its predecessor firms, including Chemical Bank. In 2010, he became the co-founder/CEO of GLMX, a financial technology firm providing a money-markets trading, liquidity management and reporting platform.
Dominic Gamble, founder of Findawealthmanager.com
After starting out as a sales-trader at Credit Agricole, Gamble worked at Credit Suisse for seven years before he moved to Deutsche Bank in 2010. However, a year later Gamble left to set up his website, Findawealthmanager.com, which helps high-net-worth investors to research and evaluate financial advisers.
What this goes to prove, imho, is that bankers are not losing jobs to technology; they’re leaving banking jobs to become entrepreneurs with technology.