Previous generations would be aghast at the number of roles the average modern professional is likely to hold over a lifetime. It used to be the case that people would spend most of their lives doing the same type of work, often in the same company.

There are good reasons for this. Jumping onto a completely new career track usually means starting at the bottom. While it does mean learning new skills, this necessarily comes at the expense of deepening existing capabilities. Career advancement requires building directly onto previous experience. It doesn’t make sense for someone who aspires to reach the peak of their profession to remain a jack of all trades while gaining mastery over none.

What if we get a little creative about this? Silicon Valley-based branding guru Marty Neumeier asserts that imagination is what enables people to invent new business models, create differentiated products and services. He believes that imagination has a lot in common with dreaming. In order to create something new, we must first ‘conceive’ it in our minds. He argues that the number-one hazard for innovators is getting stuck in the ‘tar pits’ of prior knowledge.

Nicolas Bryon has enjoyed a long and successful career as a fund manager. He is a pragmatic ‘quant’ by disposition and likes to be deep ‘in the weeds’ of a spreadsheet. He is curious and has a penchant for efficiency which makes restless and discontented with the status quo. At first glance, it is hard to imagine Nicolas as the sort of ‘dreamer’ that Marty Neumeier would class as a natural entrepreneur. But appearances can be deceiving.

The same qualities that made him an effective fund manager spurred him to become a technological auto-didact and led to the creation of the “HALO” platform – a powerful online portfolio analysis tool that essentially provides ordinary investors with the same tools as professional fund managers. Nicolas believes it provides unparalleled capabilities to analyse stock portfolios and identify stocks with high return potential. He welcomes comparisons with competitors and regularly issues his own version of ‘the Pepsi challenge’ to any doubters.

Nicolas taught himself programming and worked on the platform at every opportunity. All the while continuing to fulfil his duties as a fund manager for aaig. He was fortunate that his employer possessed a workplace culture that encouraged innovation and saw the potential of what Nick was doing for the whole business. Not only ensuring he had time to pursue his new passion, but also investing cash to develop the platform. HALO has recently gone global by data for key US indices to the platform and is preparing for the launch of a mobile App version of HALO that will be available by subscription from Apple and Android stores.

In this way, HALO Financial Technologies was born. It is now one of the fastest-growing parts of the aaig group of companies and has turned what was a traditional financial services business into a FinTech with a focus on research and development.

Nicolas is still a fund manager. But now he is also a Fin-Tech entrepreneur and a whole lot cooler for that. All without leaving his office chair, more or less.

 

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November 4, 2019