Onno van de Stolpe
CEO and Founder, Galapagos
When it comes to electronic trading in the fixed income, currencies, and commodities (FICC) asset class, JPMorgan has one of the largest platforms. Helping to lead the charge is Chi Nzelu, the bank’s head of macro e-commerce, who oversees development of electronic trading algorithms for foreign exchange, commodities, and interest rates.
Educated as an engineer and computer scientist, Nzelu has been instrumental in helping build one of the largest institutional currency trading franchises through automation. He also drives the execution component of the firmwide digital markets strategy.
For London-based Nzelu, transforming finance means “challenging the status quo at every juncture.”
“Why has it always been done this way? How could we be doing it differently?” he says. “It’s really an exercise in taking a step back and opening everything up to be challenged.”
Of course centuries-old firms such as JPMorgan cannot shift gears as quickly as a startup.
“Articulating a vision across a large organization and getting everyone on the same page is hard,” Nzelu says. “Innovating technology is one thing, but innovating mindsets is another.”
He says having Black, Asian, and mixed-ethnicity people on board helps bring new perspectives to legacy banks.
“The crux of the issue is the diversity of thought that BAME people bring to organizations,” Nzelu says. “Characters, experiences, philosophies, and perspectives from different cultures are extremely important for innovation.”