Recently, we got in touch with Mr Mohamed Nasser Ismail, the Head of Equity Capital Markets at SGX and also one of the renowned panel of judges for the upcoming Investor-One Challenge. He has shared with us his career path and his career advice for budding young professionals who plan to work in the finance industry.
1. We’ve all heard of Singapore Exchange. As the head of equity capital markets in SGX, could you share with us some of the milestones of the SGX that you’ve been involved in and are proud of?
I’ve been with SGX for nearly 15 years, and one of the highlights of my career here would be to have witnessed the growth of Catalist – from its inception in 2007 to what it is today – home to more than 200 homegrown and overseas companies.
I am encouraged to see that a total of S$4.5 billion had been raised by Catalist companies through the primary and secondary market to fund their development and growth.
2. Can you tell us more about the Catalist-board in SGX?
Catalist was launched in November 2007 with a vision to provide high-growth companies access to capital fast and efficiently. Its sponsor-supervised regime with no prescribed quantitative criteria, such as market capitalisation and revenue, allows companies regardless of size and age to tap the capital market for growth.
Today, Catalist is home to more than 200 homegrown and overseas companies from diverse industries, many of which are household names well-known to consumers.
3. Tell us about your story: how did you get started in your career and how did you get to where you are today?
I graduated with a Law degree from NUS and spent the bulk of my earlier career in the public sector as State Counsel with the Attorney’s General Chambers. I joined SGX in 2005 and has held several regulatory roles across enforcement, regulatory policy, legal and compliance.
With my background in regulations, I was given the opportunity to lead the team responsible for marketing and developing SGX’s Catalist for fast growing companies. In addition to that, I also look into initiatives to provide greater funding access for companies across the board, including companies that are not ready for the demands of a public listing yet.
4. What’s your philosophy in running a department?
I would say that it is to embrace a culture of differences – believe in having different viewpoints and considering all options.
5. What are the most important skill sets that you reckon are crucial in this ever-changing finance industry and how can someone acquire or hone these skills quickly in today’s context?
In today’s fast-changing market, the ability to react swiftly and innovate is key.
Having a good mentor and getting yourself thrown into the deep end would allow you to hone those skills sooner rather than later.
6.What qualities do you look out for when it comes to hiring a potential candidate?
That would definitely be passion and a good attitude. Knowledge on the market and its rules and regulations can be acquired when you have the passion for it and the right attitude.
7.What advice do you have for budding young professionals who aim to achieve accelerated career progression in finance?
Keeping abreast with market developments and the ability to respond and innovate is key.
But equally important are soft-skills, which can be applied across all industries.
Having good communications, interpersonal, problem-solving and analytical skills will give you a leap forward in your career, whether is it in finance or other industries.
Once again, Mr Mohamed Nasser Ismail is the Head of Equity Capital Markets at SGX and also one of the renowned judges for the upcoming Investor-One Challenge.
Investor-One Challenge is the biggest, public stock pitch, ever held in Singapore. Registration is still open here.
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