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This interview was conducted in 2017 when Cyrus Chan was serving in Deutsche Bank.
Q: How did you start your career in an investment bank?
A: I was born and raised in Canada, then moved to London to study Engineering after graduating from high school. While studying in London, I was inspired by many of my classmates who were doing internships in investment banks, and so decided to apply for an internship in the Technology Division at Deutsche Bank.
I worked in commodity trading IT during the internship. Interestingly enough, I was supporting a desk that traded European power and gas, which was quite related to my degree. After the internship, I was hired for the Bank’s graduate programme and started work full-time in London in 2011.
Q: Why did you move from London to Hong Kong?
A: While I was working in the Global Technology Division at Deutsche Bank in London, I wanted to move from an application support role to a business facing one. A year later, I found a role as a business analyst in Hong Kong and made the move. Asia is an exciting and dynamic region, and working in Hong Kong put me right in the middle of it all. During the next two and a half years, I worked very closely with the trading desks and was given an opportunity to move to the ETF market making desk.
I would like to apply my technology background to financial markets, and evolve with the industry. My goal is to learn the best from the industry and I am getting the chance to do that at Deutsche Bank.
Q: What does your daily routine look like?
A: Usually I get into the office before 8 am to get everything ready before the markets open. I have to make sure pricing is accurate as I am responsible for market making 91 ETFs listed in Hong Kong and Singapore that track different equity indices. I continuously quote bid and ask prices on screen and I also help our sales price block trades when we receive larger orders from clients who want to trade these products.
After the markets close, I can relax a bit and start doing my end of day reporting. This usually takes a couple of hours after 5 pm when the Singapore stock market closes. Sometimes we have trades to hedge risks in other markets though the instruments are listed in Hong Kong or Singapore, for example: an ETF that tracks the Indian stock market which closes at 6 pm Hong Kong time.
Q: Have you encountered any challenges?
A: In 2015, when the Chinese stock market slumped, a large number of A-shares suspended trading and some of them were the underlying instruments of our ETFs. I had to consider how to price, mitigate and hedge the risks. It is one of the biggest challenges I have encountered but it is probably the interesting part of my job.
Q: What is your advice for people who want to enter the financial industry?
A: Since I joined Deutsche Bank in 2011, I have found that if you stay inquisitive and keep an open mind, there are an unlimited amount of things to learn and many great people to meet. I studied Engineering in London and I am doing trading in Hong Kong right now. No matter what you study, you should know what areas you are interested in. You also need to have the willingness and ability to learn new things and adapt to the ever changing market and industry environment.
To work in banks, knowledge in financial markets and software skills is extremely useful. If there are things you don’t understand, it is always advisable to ask questions - not just ask people around you but also yourself. When you think of an idea, question yourself what the risks are and discuss with other people.