As The Fintech Occasions celebrates Ladies in Fintech this September, we take a second to listen to extra from among the main females within the trade. Right here we meet Sam Seaton, CEO of information and intelligence platform Moneyhub. Australian Sam, who has lived within the UK because the mid-1990s, has the ethos ‘noise is easy to create, but making a real difference is much more difficult’.
Samantha Seaton has greater than 25 years’ expertise at tech and monetary providers firms. She began out at world advisory, broking and options firm Willis Towers Watson earlier than turning into CEO of economic forecasting agency Evalue.
Following this, Seaton grew to become managing director of Momentum World Funding Administration Retail UK enterprise, earlier than taking up the function of CEO at Moneyhub in 2016.
Moneyhub is now the market-leading open finance information and intelligence platform, with shoppers together with AON, KPMG, Lumio and Nationwide.
As well as, Seaton can be a digital advisory panel member at Newbury Constructing Society and a member of the Cash and Pension Service’s Pension Dashboard Steering Group. Seaton was additionally just lately appointed as non-executive director at CAF Bank – the bank for charities and non-profit organisation.
Regardless of carving out a profitable profession within the monetary providers trade, her fintech story might have been a really completely different one. Australian-born Seaton grew up dreaming of driving horses for a dwelling, whereas additionally mulling over a profession in nursing.
Her uncle talked her out of the latter, and as an alternative, she went to school to review laptop science. After finishing her diploma, Seaton moved to the UK to pursue her equestrian dream of representing Australia on the Sydney 2000 Olympics by competing on the worldwide circuit, however narrowly missed out on qualification.
How did you go from competing on horses to working in monetary providers and fintech?
I had an incredible time being a part of the Australian Olympic squad and competed between 1996 and 2000 within the UK. I took half in all the main occasions throughout Europe, reminiscent of Badminton and Burghley, Boekelo in Holland and Punchestown in Eire. However in the long run, I didn’t fairly get into the ultimate 5 for the Olympics. So, it received to 2000 and I assumed ‘what do I do now?’.
I had performed some part-time work at consulting agency Towers Perrin [which later became Towers Watson] and had received fairly near them as an organization. At that time, the corporate was coming off models and spreadsheets and eager to get onto the web for its consumer base as a result of all of them wished the whole lot on the web. I type of hit the time when there was a transition as a enterprise right here within the UK, in all probability worldwide, and began working with Tillinghast, its institutional monetary providers division. I helped with the tasks that wanted to be model-based and, because of this, received concerned with monetary providers.
How have you ever discovered working in a historically male-dominated area?
From the beginning, I used to be considered one of only a few girls on my laptop science diploma course. I went from an all-girls faculty to almost all boys in a single day and there was a little bit of a boys’ membership, however I by no means felt unwelcome. In fact, I didn’t need to participate of their farting competitions, however I’d exit for recent air generally and say, look are you able to cease so I can come again in?
It’s in all probability solely within the final 10 years, the place it grew to become apparent to me that if we don’t change that type of behaviour, ladies haven’t received hope. Maybe in right this moment’s period, I’d in all probability be extra assured to say, this isn’t acceptable. However on the time, I went together with many issues, since you nearly simply needed to, to slot in.
There was a really humorous expertise at one firm, the place I used to be instructed I had performed an exceptionally good job, however they wished another person – a person – to step into my function to see if they might have extra success. I don’t assume they have been that means to be sexist however that was extra upsetting, that an individual who was very senior couldn’t see their mistake. That’s once I assume it began to daybreak on me how far we’ve received to go as an trade, and doubtless extra extensively, as many attitudes on this planet are ingrained.
What could be performed to assist extra girls succeed within the trade?
One of many principal points is the dearth of flexibility within the workforce. There needs to be extra flexibility across the working feminine as I feel that will make the most important distinction. It’s definitely one thing that I hope I can affect my colleagues at different companies the place they’re maybe not considering fairly as bravely.
I do have many male colleagues on this trade that I speak to quite a bit about this, and I ensure that they actually assume it by a bit extra. You will need to make the maternity and paternity depart equal. Assist make it a alternative between the dad and mom as to who takes the day out and for a way lengthy.
At Moneyhub, we give six weeks for maternity or paternity as normal.
Are you able to inform us concerning the Open51 initiative?
I’m a founding member of Open51, an organisation that promotes the function of ladies growing open finance and the brand new information financial system.
It’s all about ensuring the 51 per cent of the inhabitants who’re girls are represented accurately on this planet of machine studying and synthetic intelligence.
That is key as I fear what we now have performed up to now will make its approach into the algorithms which can be going to use increasingly sooner or later. I’d love to do my bit to cease that taking place and make it honest and equal.
Which girls within the trade do you admire?
I like a few of my fellow fintech group, who I’ve quite a lot of time and respect for. Equivalent to Felicia Meyerowitz Singh at AkoniHub, Jayne-Anne Gadhia at Snoop and Romi Savova at PensionBee.
And, I actually like those that make a distinction. I even have on my advisory board my former mentor Margaret Snowden OBE, who’s an skilled in pensions. She’s simply a type of superb individuals who will get on and will get issues performed. I’m additionally an enormous fan of Dame Helena Morrisey – she’s had 9 youngsters and achieved a lot.
Noise is simple to create, however making an actual distinction is way more tough. These girls have gotten quite a lot of tenacity they usually additionally care concerning the individuals of their companies and the group that they’re servicing.