Doris Yeung, Chief Financial Officer at Tradeteq: “Technology has significantly transformed how finance functions work”

The world of finance is changing, and for Doris Yeung, Chief Financial Officer at Tradeteq, London is right at the heart of that change. “I have seen it become undeniably an emerging market,” she told us, “particularly with more progressive regulations and openness to innovation and disruptive technology adoption.”

It’s this level of disruption, of opportunity, that led her to Tradeteq itself in November 2023. Tradeteq is trying to do something different, embracing AI to create a marketplace platform that can turn “pools of illiquid short-term instruments into tradeable and clearable products”.

Throughout this interview, AI and assets are never far away. “Through machine learning algorithms, fintechs can analyse customer behaviour, preferences and transaction history to tailor services and offerings accordingly to the unique needs of any individual,” Doris explained. And that’s just the start.

With a career that spanned Silicon Valley and Amsterdam before London, Doris brings a unique mix of experience – including spells at Okta and MessageBird – and that shows in her take on fintech below. Our thanks to Doris for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share her thoughts.

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Could you please introduce yourself to our audience and share how you ended up working in fintech?

I am currently the Chief Financial Controller at Tradeteq, a leading technology company transforming trade finance and private credit instruments into an investable liquid asset class.

I started my career in Canada as a trained accountant with a Big Four, setting sight to move to a larger financial centre to further expand my horizons on a more global stage. This decision has led to many opportunities in mostly international companies, exposing me to different business working cultures and innovative industries across the Americas, Europe and APAC.

Over the course of my career, I have worked in various B2B SaaS technology, retail and services companies at different stages of growth – from mid-stage scale-ups to IPO readiness and international expansion – and have tended to find an earlier stage company at each turn.

Ultimately I found my true passion: to build and scale companies.

Living in the heart of London, also the world’s leading fintech hub, I have seen it become undeniably an emerging market, particularly with more progressive regulations and openness to innovation and disruptive technology adoption – there are a lot of exciting opportunities.  

All of this led me to Tradeteq, with its unique offering to transform previously illiquid assets to accessible asset class through its automated workflow powered by its innovative technology. There are heaps of potential where I believe could add value to help its journey to scale and grow – and learn a lot along the way.

In what ways is artificial intelligence impacting the fintech sector?

AI will impact the fintech sector in many ways. I believe risk management will be revolutionised with the aid of AI and machine learning as fraud detection capabilities will be strengthened, with the combination of Big Data and the use of predictive analytics.

Furthermore, AI can truly transform the fintech sector by offering more personalised and intelligent financial solutions and services in a far timelier manner. Through machine learning algorithms, fintechs can analyse customer behaviour, preferences and transaction history to tailor services and offerings accordingly to the unique needs of any individual.

All of which will further enable fintechs to strive to democratise access to financial products and services to other underserved markets. For example, AI can enable fintechs to better analyse market data, assess risk and execute trades autonomously.

And of course, AI will truly improve efficiency and enhance automation of processes and operations. For example, previously mundane tasks such as loan underwriting, account reconciliation, and compliance checks can possibly be automated with AI algorithms. By automating routine operations, fintech companies can accelerate processes, minimise errors and deliver faster, more seamless services to their customers.

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What are some of the biggest regulatory challenges affecting the fintech sector?

The fintech sector faces several significant regulatory challenges. With innovative technology moving and scaling at a booming pace, companies, investors and developers face this significant barrier – all of which raises the stakes for regulators and watchdogs.

One of the biggest challenges in the fintech sector is navigating though highly regulated industries that are subject to strict compliance requirements often coupled with regulatory approvals. More than ever, fintechs operate across borders, necessitating compliance with a diverse set of regulatory frameworks. Understanding specific rules in various countries and managing cross-data flow will become ongoing challenges.

Another challenge is data security and cyber-attack prevention – fintech companies often handle substantial amounts of sensitive financial information. Regulatory bodies are concerned with data privacy which can lead to sanctioning companies for not following proper risk management and minimum standards around customer data handling. Ensuring robust data protection measures and policies is critical to protect sensitive information and maintain customer trust. Equally, as fintechs build and rely on growing digital infrastructures, the needs for safeguarding from cyberattacks becomes paramount. Having strong protocols in place will help not only prevent data breaches but also financial loss.

Any failure to comply with these regulatory requirements can result in very costly fines and legal hurdles, all of which can damage a company’s reputation. Needless to say, these challenges underscore fintech’s need for continuous vigilance and adaptability in managing these risks.

How has the role of the finance department changed with the advent of fintech?

Technology has significantly transformed how finance functions work – improving efficient data management, automation of financial tasks and processes, and transforming transaction processes. Above all, it has also the opportunity to elevate the value any finance department can provide.

Many fintech tools and cloud solutions have automated many previously mundane financial processes such as transaction reconciliation, data entry and reporting. Not only does this allow teams to become more efficient but also cuts down costs along the way.

With the rise of fintech, teams are also collaborating more closely with technology experts to implement and optimise financial solutions. That said, shifting to a digital-first mindset will help with embracing how technology can positively impact a team’s effectiveness and efficiency – and strength any collaboration with subject matter experts. Short of that, having a good grasp of technology will be benefit for more effective financial management.

New financial technology has not only improved the efficiency of a team but also created an opportunity for the finance team to capitalise on the data analytic ability to elevate its strategic value. Never before has data become more real-time and powerful with its analytic capabilities – augmenting the agility of data and precision available at any time. This increases the value of any finance team as we are now able to rely on more data-driven insight for forecasting, risk assessment and more strategic-led decision-making.

In short, the organisation’s decisions can now be based on real-time business intelligence.

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How does your company differ from its direct competitors in the fintech space?

There is enormous potential in the private credit and trade finance space which has slowly revolutionised over the last few decades with the intention to make it more flexible through non-traditional financing methods. This untapped market, estimated to be worth trillions of dollars, has a focus on technology that can automate trade finance, which is predicted to be the next significant wave in credit investing.

Tradeteq has a unique edge in this space in transforming trade finance and similar private credit instruments into a liquid asset class. Since our inception, we have built an AI-powered marketplace platform that can transform these pools of illiquid short-term instruments into tradeable and clearable products that can have multi-year tenors.

Unlike any close competitor in the same space, Tradeteq is able to offer not only an automated infrastructure to allocate these transformed instruments but also make it accessible to many sellers and liquidity pools based on dynamic investment criteria through our capabilities to securitise. Our product scale and evolution over the last few years serve and meet the increasing demand in this marketplace of asset sellers and institutional investors.

This is very different to any of our close competitors in the same space who are more focused on only improving the access and efficiency in this trade asset class. Most are primarily centred on asset management or lending with fairly few providing the automation services that Tradeteq can offer.

What advice do you have for aspiring professionals wanting to work in fintech?

It is an exciting time to work in the fintech space – as we are witnessing an era towards a more digital society, fintech plays a significant role in this evolution – particularly in the UK where it continues to be a strategic importance to the economy and growth of this capital.

This rapidly evolving fintech industry requires agile and forward-thinking professionals to keep pace with technological developments. Having strong technical and analytical abilities will really help given the importance of data analysis in this sector. Another option is to start building a career in a technology-driven sector where you can learn and develop this skill set.

My advice is to any aspiring professional is to keep an open mind and have an eagerness to learn when looking for new opportunities in fintech. In this particularly young industry, there are a multitude of new and emerging career pathways you can follow.

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Tim Danton

Tim has worked in IT publishing since the days when all PCs were beige, and is editor-in-chief of the UK's PC Pro magazine. He has been writing about hardware for TechFinitive since 2023.