Episode 3: Interview with Rahim Nathoo on his journey in Finance Technology

Today on the podcast I have an accomplished technologist and friend of mine who I’ve known from 2007! When I first spoke to him, he was working in Beijing as a software developer with no experience in the Finance space. Today, within 11 years, he is an Executive Director at JP Morgan in New York. He has had many roles in Finance with several of the top Investment Banks including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. He has worked in Equities Trading for Goldman Sachs, then worked on Equity Derivatives Systems in Morgan Stanley and CLSA. He has also worked in different places including Beijing and Tianjin in China, Hong Kong and now America.

On the podcast today, we’re going to talk to him about his background and how he managed to get into a senior position in Finance Technology within 10 years and what he sees as the future in Finance Technology.

So let me welcome Rahim Nathoo to the podcast!

“Rahim’s humble beginnings”

  1. Please introduce yourself in your own words and say a few words about your background
  2. This story never gets old and is always inspiring – you have a Bachelor degree from McGill University in Canada and you were working during night times as a security guard to pay for tuition. Talk about that. What were those times like and how did you manage to keep the drive to study while not sleeping?
  3. You worked for two great tech companies after graduation, Teradyne and Microsoft. Without your time at McGill University do you think this would have been possible?
  4. What was it like getting in to Microsoft? And, how does that compare to landing a Finance Tech job at an Investment Bank?
  5. Why did you decide to move to Beijing from America?
  6. How did the HK job come about and were you actively looking at jobs in Finance in HK?

“Entering the finance world”

  1. You entered the finance world in 2007 and worked for Goldman. For a “tech” guy entering the finance world in 2007, what was it like in terms of technology and culture?
  2. Did you always want to rise up the ranks of Investment Banking when you joined?
  3. You worked on Cash Equities Trading systems in Goldman. What was the learning curve like in terms of learning the domain?
  4. In your opinion, what would it take for a tech developer to do well in the Finance world?
  5. Coming from a Microsoft and Windows background, was it harder for you at an Investment Bank because of the systems are Unix based?
  6. what did you do to learn the finance domain?
  7. can you talk about communication skills and relationship building skills and its impact on a developer’s success in the Finance world?
  8. you have changed your job every couple of years and you even changed your location. How important were these role changes to the overall success of your career? Would you recommend that as a strategy for quicker growth?
  9. after your Morgan Stanley role you switched to becoming more of a people manager while remaining technical but not as hands on. Was this a strategic move?
  10. Is it harder for developers who want to stay hands on all the way and do not want to manage anyone else to still rise to the top in the technology space?
  11. You moved into the business side with Parry. Why the move?
  12. Would you now describe yourself as a tech guy or a business guy?

“Quick sneak peak into the future of Electronic Trading systems”

  1. What’s the biggest tech change you have witnessed in Electronic Trading since 2007 when you first entered finance
  2. How do you see this industry changing in the future?
  3. Everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and Big Data. What do these mean in the world of Electronic Trading? How much of it is hype?

“Advice and personality”

  1. What career advice would you give to young ambitious IT professionals climbing up their career ladders now and wanting to do something in the world of finance?
  2. Do you have a special routine that you follow that has enabled you to achieve success in your career?
  3. What books do you read? Is there a pattern and what are some of the top books you’d recommend?
  4. Has there been a key mentor or a significant person in your life that has enabled you to achieve the success you have had in your career?
  5. Knowing what you know now, if you could travel back to when you were 25 years old, what advice would you give yourself?
  6. Is there anything else you would like to say that we haven’t asked you?

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