Fenni is an FX and Inflation Desk Strategy Quant at Barclays, providing front office quantitative support to the trading and structuring desks. She collaborates closely with the business to develop quantitative strategies and analysis to help price and risk-manage large derivatives positions, and innovate algorithmic strategies to help generate revenue. Fenni has delivered a number of successful fin-tech business projects through her EMBA and has a strong passion for improving gender equality.
Fenni Kang
Fenni Kang
Barclays

She has been shortlisted for the 2020 WIBF Tech Star Award.

How does it feel to be nominated for the WIBF Tech Star Award?

I feel so grateful to have been nominated. The other nominees are all successful brilliant women within the FinTech industry and being nominated amongst them is an honour in itself.

I really value the fantastic WIBF initiative. It helps create role models for younger generations and encourages female peers by recognizing their contributions to the FinTech industry. It’s also a great opportunity to meet other brilliant women from same industry, share thoughts to inspire each other, and consider opportunities to collaborate in the future.

How did you first get involved with FinTech, what has been your career path?

I hold PhD in Applied Mathematics and have 12 years’ experience in mathematical modelling projects.

The first time I got involved in FinTech was when I was finishing my PhD study. After hearing my interest in the finance industry, a good friend helped teach me the quantitative finance fundamentals. Since then, I have been constantly learning and gaining experience in quantitative finance. I am now a desk strategy quant at Barclays and have led and delivered several important quantitative strategy projects, impacting the trading and structuring businesses.

In 2018, I joined the Executive MBA programme at the University of Cambridge. Through that programme, I have not only grown my business knowledge but also been engaged in FinTech business projects impacting real world business. I achieved my MBA degree in May 2020 and remain involved in FinTech business projects. For example, I recently led the team winning the Future Of Blockchain Challenge Prize with our highly innovative cryptocurrency project.

You are currently an EMBA candidate at Cambridge University, what have your highlights of that experience been?

A big highlight was the Cambridge Phenomenon, which forms the massive resources and opportunities on offer. I was lucky enough to have collaborated with so many brilliant people with diverse backgrounds, fusing our expertise together to deliver high-standard projects catching the world’s challenges, particularly in FinTech.

For example, I led an EMBA team on accomplishing a marketing project for an AI-based algorithmic trading analytic FinTech company. My EMBA thesis was a FinTech entrepreneurship project, building an innovative platform to provide user-friendly algorithmic trading analytics to retail investors, and a market place for algorithm developers to share and monetize their algorithms. The project was supervised by Jack Lang, co-founder and chair of Raspberry-Pi, one of the most influential entrepreneurs in Cambridge.

It was such an inspiring experience overall. On the very first day of the programme, the Judge Business School EMBA Director, Prof. Khaled Soufani, told us “we are not only teaching you the knowledge, but the ability of thinking, because in the fast changing world, the good ability of thinking can help you generating your own new knowledge to cope with the new challenges”.

And at the end of our programme, he said:

In your executive journey, it is not only about being economically viable, it is not only about being financially viable, it is not only about being efficient and productive. It is also about being good to our society, good to the world, good to the poor, good to sick, good to the weak, good to everybody. Please remember that as part of your decisions and as part of your thinking”.

That really inspired me and I agree it’s crucial for business to take responsibility and help solve problems for the world.

In 2017, you were involved with the Micro-Tyco Business Challenge, winning first place by turning £1 seed capital into £9,000 in one month – can you tell us more about that?

In the 2017 Micro-Tyco Business Challenge, my team of five won the first place and raised funds for WildHearts, a charity addressing gender inequality in the developing world and equipping young people with employability skills.

We turned a £1 seed capital into £9,000 in one month with our “Helper for a Day” event. The idea saw senior managers turn into “helpers” for a day, for example, giving golf training lessons, and the highest bidding colleague would secure the “helper for a day”. The event promoted communication and understanding between colleagues of different working levels, and helped fundraise for the charity. Its success led to a second event in 2018.

I have always been actively involved in charity and helping organisations overcome issues they might be facing. I recently mentored the team winning the Cam vs Covid-19 Hackathon, which solved small business’ survival problems. I am now organizing a Defeat-NCD Hackathon aimed at making medicine more affordable in undeveloped countries.

What would be your advice to young women starting their career in FinTech?

Be brave, open-minded and kind-hearted.

Be brave enough to seek opportunities and challenge yourself. Stepping outside of your comfort zone helps you grow quickly. Keep studying, stretch your potential and trust that you can achieve your dreams.

Be open-minded to new views, new approaches and new opportunities. Don’t be influenced by gender bias, women can excel in the FinTech world just as much as men!

And, be kind-hearted. It’s always important to be a good person and always try to help others.