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Dos and don'ts of getting into fintech

Laura Noonan, US banking editor at the Financial Times, has written a feature on what it is like to move from the world of banking to building your own fintech business.

Her feature draws on insights from 10x Banking’s Antony Jenkins, former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, Ping An’s Jonathan Larsen, Fintru’s Darragh McCarthy, Arun Krishnakumar of GreenShores Capital and Nick Hungerford who founded Nutmeg - among others.

"It isn't for everybody. You have to see the world in a different way ... that allows you to both identify problems and identify solutions that other people haven't thought of," Antony tells Laura.

‍"When you're doing this type of work it's an adrenalin ride. Things happen very fast, some things work, some things don't. You don’t have the security of a large organisation behind you to absorb the ups and downs, and for some people that would be an uncomfortable transition to make.”

The story includes several distilled perspectives around the dos and don’ts of getting into fintech:

Do: Think hard first

“Really think about what motivates you, what you’re passionate about, and think about have you identified a problem and secondarily do you have a solution which is far superior to any other solution out there and then are you willing to go on the journey that inevitably has ups and downs as an entrepreneur,” says Antony Jenkins.

Do: Show you care

“You just don’t hire people that aren’t passionate for the area the fintech is working [in],” says Nick Hungerford. “No one survives a start-up if they don’t believe in the mission, it’s just not worth the emotional and physical and financial stress.”

Do: Temper your expectations

“No one pays you JPMorgan money when you have an 11-person start-up, but it can be quite exhilarating,” says Santiago Suarez, a former JP Morgan banker who has just launched online lender Addi in Colombia.

Don’t: Write off the competition

“Never underestimate the power of incumbents, for the profitability they have, the scale they have, the customers they have,” says Vikram Pandit. “There are incumbents that can move fast.”

Don’t: Expect an easy ride

“It’s very tough to create a new business,” says Jonathan Larsen. “This is a long road and I’m sure there are some people who get lucky very soon but they are few and far between.”

Don’t: Think it’s an escape from regulators

“The notion of regulatory arbitrage as a reason to go and build something new is not a good premise,” says Mr Pandit. “The notion of escaping the intent of regulation is a tough one [to achieve].”

You can read the full article at the Financial Times here.