Why fintech should be taught in schools
6 min read
16 September 2019
In the UK, fintech is transforming the way we manage, transfer, borrow and protect our money. – We need to get our young people in on the action.
Having come from a background where we often struggled financially – at one point I shared a room with my father and brother due to our financial circumstances – I was very determined to find success.
From a young age, I was always working hard to earn money, doing everything from car washing to setting up my own website design business in my teens.
How I got into fintech
Whilst at university, I began teaching myself to trade in the foreign exchange markets in my spare time as I was attracted by the prospect of making money through hard work and was intrigued by the possibilities that trading offers.
I’ve always had quite a good mind for figures, and so once I started doing paper trading, I found I could do very well in theory. I then used my £2000 bursary to trade the markets for real, earning £170,000 in less than 12 months.
Tapping into my talent
Realising I had a talent for trading led me to make a go of it as a business, and I founded Samuel and Co. Trading while still at university so that I could teach others to find success on the financial markets as I was doing.
I went to one of the worst-performing schools in the country and then dropped out of college because I was unmotivated.
I then went back to college to complete a BTEC National Diploma in Information Studies where I secured a bursary for going to the local university – the University of Hertfordshire where I studied Marketing and Advertising.
As I was passionate about making money at this point, I wanted to work in finance, so I started out as an intern to an Assistant Project Manager at a private bank. It was at this point, however, that I began to realise that my passion really lay in trading and I wanted to focus on Samuel and Co. Trading.
Finding the ‘right kind’ of education
Before starting Samuel and Co. Trading, my parents used their savings to help me attend a trading course as I was always entrepreneurial and had started to look at the possibilities of FX trading.
The course I took wasn’t good quality and it made me aware of how many dodgy trading courses there are out there, and how easy it is for people to be fooled into thinking they are getting good value for money.
That experience prompted me to create a company which would provide genuine, unbiased and savvy advice for those looking to find financial success as traders. I really wanted to create a pathway for those who can’t go to university but want to try their hand at trading.
My journey to Samuel and Co. Trading
Knowing when to take financial risks has been a big challenge. I entirely self-funded Samuel and Co. Trading, so have sometimes been left in a slightly more precarious situation than I would have liked, which meant I worried about how this could affect my staff.
Our move into our Watford office was a huge risk and a worry for me at the time, but I am convinced that you need to take big risks if you want to succeed.
The high point in my career so far was building the team we have created. Going from a group of friends to having over 60 staff in Madrid and Watford in just four years was phenomenal.
Not only that, but by the end of the financial year we are projected to double the record £1m turnover we hit last year, and are on track to have hit that target.
How the workplace is changing
The workplace is changing, and many employers are recognising that academic performance in traditional subjects isn’t always an accurate indicator of an applicant’s workplace potential.
Many young people are desperate to secure well-paid employment but reluctant to take on large amounts of student debt, so it is here that vocational courses would be useful.
Fintech-related courses and education can help provide the young with skills they would find more useful in helping them to gain employment in sectors such as the fintech industry that are looking for those with innovative and new ideas, and which would reward workers with well-paid and secure job opportunities.
The future of fintech in the UK
Financial institutions are engaging with fintech startups either as investors or through partnerships, and according to McKinsey, global venture capital fintech investment in 2018 reached $30.8 billion.
It’s clear that fintech has enormous potential and businesses are looking for ways to best utilise these new technologies.
In ten years, I see the fintech ecosystem having grown rapidly and integrated itself more comprehensively within traditional financial institutions. This means fintech holds immense potential for those looking for employment opportunities that will allow them to be at the forefront of driving innovation in business.