The ex-HSBC MD that wants crypto to be more like his FX desk
The culture clash between crypto and traditional finance appears to be diminishing as crypto firms face the harsh light of day. Senior bankers have been moving to crypto for some time now, as have banks been building teams in the crypto space. One former HSBC MD who is bringing TradFi experience to the industry is the bank's former Americas head of FX, Paul Mischenko, who recently joined Singaporean web3 infrastructure fintech RockX as its head of Americas.
Mischenko left HSBC in 2018 to found a prop trading firm in digital assets, MK4 capital. He's the first US based member of RockX's team, but he won't be the last. He tells us that he expects to "add several seasoned individuals" in the next year, with the potential for more junior staff in the future.
After long years in banking, Mishchenko has a history of cultivating junior talent. "Some of the other groups would push them into admin, but for us, they traded," he says. At HSBC, his juniors would be "formulating ideas, taking paper positions, learning how to manage risk" on the trading side and "listening in on sales calls and also meeting with clients" on the sales side."You learn by doing," he says.
While banks like their salespeople and traders in the office, Mischenko is a bit more loose. "I don't think we're ever going back to an 100% office environment, from a cost, and WLB perspective," he says. And yet he adds that a fully remote environment isn't ideal for entry-level hires. "They need a space where they can be immersed and learn from their mentors," he says. "It’s much easier when you’re able to interact with them on a personal level rather than just over zoom." This appears the new consensus in crypto as many firms with TradFi roots are bringing staff into their offices.
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