03.11.2021
By GlobalTrading

Women in Finance Asia Q&A

Nasrine Ghozali, Chief Risk Officer at Oasis Management Co., and Puja Bharwani, Senior Trader at Fidelity International, recently joined the Advisory Board for Markets Media Group’s Women in Finance Asia Awards program. 

Nasrine Ghozali 

Nasrine Ghozali

Briefly describe your background, career path, and current role/responsibilities?

I studied economics and finance in school and began my career in Paris in 2000 as a convertible bond trader in French banks, first at BNP Paribas and then at Natixis. My husband and I fell in love with Asia and moved to Japan in 2006, when I joined Oasis in its Tokyo office as a convertible bond Portfolio Manager. I moved to Hong Kong with Oasis in 2008.

In 2010, I left Oasis to co-found Silver Tree, a hedge fund focused on Asia event-driven trading, where I enjoyed the start-up experience and the business and management exposure. In 2016, I came back to Oasis in a new role, as Chief Risk Officer & Member, Strategies Group.

In this role, I am responsible for overseeing and managing all market risks for the firm. I sit on the trading floor and work extremely closely with the Chief Investment Officer, portfolio managers, traders and analysts. As a member of the firm’s Management Committee, ESG Committee, and Risk Control, Counterparty, and Valuation Committees, I am also frequently involved on the business side of things as well, especially our marketing and investor relations efforts. Outside of my day-to-day role at Oasis, I also co-founded the HK Board Diversity Investor Initiative, which is an investor group that works to push HK-listed public companies to improve gender diversity on their boards and I am involved with the 30% Club investor chapters in HK and Japan.

What has been your experience as a woman in finance?

I have seen a lot of change since I first began my career as one of the three female traders on a floor of 60 people. So, it is great to see that there has been a real improvement in the gender diversity among investment professionals, especially at the analyst level. On the one hand, Preqin data show that Hong Kong hedge funds have the biggest proportion of women in senior roles compared with peer cities around the world (18% for HK vs. the global average of 11%), and I do feel that to be true anecdotally in my personal life, in terms of my own network of other women in leadership roles here in Hong Kong. However, we still have a long way to go, especially for investment roles at the top level.

What is your interest in promoting/advocating for women in finance?

My interest in advocating for women in finance is based out of two strong beliefs I have: I believe in diversity and I believe in role models. Diversity encourages better decision making, better leadership, better governance and ultimately improves performance for all stakeholders. This is true on a trading desk, and this is true on a corporate board.

Female role models help female students to choose a finance career, and female analysts to believe in achieving their dream career. With that in mind, I have been very much involved in promoting women at the top, co-founding the Hong Kong Board Diversity Investor Initiative to use our voice and rights as a shareholder to push for greater diversity.

At this stage, we have all seen the data that demonstrates that improving diversity simply improves performance. You don’t even know what you’re missing out on by only viewing things from a limited perspective. But still, the percentage of women on Hang Seng Index boards is just 13.7%, and is well behind India, Malaysia, and many more countries across the region – not to mention our international financial center peers. While the Oasis team and in particular, Seth Fischer, Oasis Founder & CIO, are very supportive of these initiatives and my involvement with them, my requests to other institutional investors to participate in this effort – simply engaging with their investee companies on improving board diversity – is often met with hesitancy and resistance. It has been a good reminder for me of the challenges women still face.

What about the WIFAA Advisory Board appealed to you, in terms of agreeing to be a part of it?

The WIFAA Advisory Board is made up of great and accomplished professionals with a strong buy-side representation, and I am very happy to join them and represent the hedge fund industry in Asia.

What would you like the WIFAA Advisory Board to accomplish? 

Keep making the female finance professionals more and more visible and rewarded by the community for their accomplishments.

Puja Bharwani

Briefly describe your background, career path, and current role/responsibilities?

Puja Bharwani

I currently work at Fidelity International where I play a key role in overseeing the execution of equity orders for Hong Kong and China. As a senior member of the desk, my role extends beyond execution of orders; my other responsibilities include leading the initiative to systematize order routing and TCA analysis as well as building and managing key relationships with the sell side and our own internal stakeholders. My experience expands across buy-side, sell-side and operations which has provided me with expansive knowledge across the various execution channels from low touch to working with sell side partners in sourcing block liquidity.

What has been your experience as a woman in finance?

I have found that as long as you are good at your job and work hard, alongside with being approachable and a team player then one can work well with both men and women. My experience at Fidelity has shown that organizations are able to directly address and rectify gaps in representation, participation and promotion. Over the last year we have seen our industry shift due to Covid, adapting to a new style of working has been challenging! Working at Fidelity during this period has made the experience a lot more seamless. Networking has always been encouraged at the firm, but the prevalence of working from home has made this very challenging for everyone. Fidelity has used technology and overall support to help bridge the gap.

What is your interest in promoting/advocating for women in finance?

I believe that promoting women in finance will create a diversified environment in terms of ideas and perspective which in turn will create both an enriched and fulfilling environment.

What about the WIFAA Advisory Board appealed to you, in terms of agreeing to be a part of it?

The WIF program brings together the finance community. This is a great way to expand one’s network and create relationships where we can help and support each other.

What would you like the WIFAA Advisory Board to accomplish?

I would like the Advisory Board to continue to spread awareness and to recognize the talented and accomplished women across the financial world in Asia!

Women in Finance Awards 2021 will be held virtually on May 20th and the nominations are now open on the event page. Click HERE to submit a nomination! Women in Finance Asia Q&A first appeared in the Q1 2021 issue of GlobalTrading. 

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