How I Work: ​​Babajide Asegbeloyin, Head of FinTech Business at FSDH Merchant Bank


The term "the bridge builder" is the one that applies most appropriately to Babajide Asegbeloyin. His work over the past ten years in the banking industry has focused on developing mutually beneficial partnerships between traditional institutions and the ecosystem of the technology industry. In this episode of How I Work, Babajide discusses his job and explains how he manages to get the job done.

The position that I currently hold at FSDH Merchant Bank is Head, FinTech Business. Location: Lagos The computer I'm using right now is an HP Envy 15 x360 Current mobile device: iPhone 8 Give us a one-word summary of your working style: comprehensive, integrative, and focused on the generation of ideas.

Give us a quick rundown of your beginnings and how you made it to where you are now.

My work in banking constitutes the bulk of my professional experience. Prior to beginning my career in banking, I worked in the telecommunications industry as well as in brand marketing. The majority of my time over the past ten years has been spent working in the financial industry as the product manager for an electronic payment and collections department in a commercial bank. I had also been promoted within the same bank from the position of product manager to that of head of the technology ecosystem.

Because we were one of the first financial institutions to set up a dedicated unit and desk focused on driving strategic engagement in the tech ecosystem, my role as the head of the tech ecosystem was a pioneering one. This was due to the fact that I was in charge of the tech ecosystem. And the fact that I assembled that desk is something of which I am quite proud. Before coming to work for FSDH Merchant Bank, I was employed by that organization for close to ten years.

The mission at FSDH Merchant Bank is the same as it is at other merchant banks: to try to create opportunities for tech startups and to act as a bridge-builder between the legacy (financial) institutions and the tech ecosystem, which is driven primarily by young people who do not particularly enjoy the slow pace of legacy institutions.

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Walk us through an ordinary day at the office.

The majority of my time is spent attending meetings, both in person and online, as well as responding to email. Typically, the meetings are with fintechs or tech startups that I'm looking to build relationships with. Additionally, there are internal meetings with members of my team and key institutional stakeholders who are essential to the success of such partnerships.

Examining the company's internal policies that might make it challenging for fintech companies and tech startups to collaborate with us is a significant part of my job. In addition, it is my responsibility to investigate new ways that our policies can be revised in order to support and welcome the new order brought about by fintech companies and technology startup businesses. Therefore, the focus of my meetings is on conversations with new businesses about our product offering, their challenges, and the ways in which we can assist them.

Babajide Asegbeloyin

What software, hardware, or other tools do you feel are absolutely necessary for the completion of your work?

The iPhone is what I use. Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are all great options for meetings. I make frequent use of Grammarly due to the high volume of written work that I do. You won't see me tweeting or scrolling through Instagram or TikTok very often because I make it a point to limit the amount of time I spend on social media for some strange reason.

My personality is a happy medium between that of a traditionalist and a technophile. At work, I make use of various forms of technology, but I also keep a traditional notepad nearby. You would most likely see me pick up a pen in the event that I was going to write something, be it a memo or something completely new. I keep these kinds of writings in a diary, and I do my best to scribble.

What is your go-to method or trick for completing tasks quickly and efficiently?

Due to the fact that I use a system that is based on priorities to organize my email, certain people's emails are always displayed first by default.

To what extent, then, do particular tools contribute to what you might call efficiency? On my iPhone, I have an application called Notes, and that app is my best friend. My job requires a lot of engagement from me, so the majority of the time I'm either speaking or writing about something. I keep a post-it note on my laptop, which I use to jot down notes whenever I'm having a conversation. This helps ensure that I don't forget anything.

In addition to that, I make extensive use of various speech-to-text apps in order to convert my words into text.

What task(s) do you dislike but still do?

Having to think of something to write in a memo. If you read my memos, you will most likely think to yourself, "This guy really loves writing." However, if it were up to me, I would much rather say most of those things than write them down. It's the same thing with documenting reports, but I have to do it because documentation is necessary, particularly in the line of work that we're in.

How do you take a break or recharge your batteries?

To begin, I enjoy my sleep because it is one of the least expensive ways to recharge my batteries. Music is enjoyed by both you and I. Because I enjoy doing it, when I'm not working, you can find me conducting research on a variety of subjects that have nothing to do with banking or technology. The day before yesterday, I was reading about something in health science, so you can find me trying to learn more about a plant or a disease. Simply reading something that is not on my typical reading path is very relaxing for me. In addition, I find that it is very relaxing to spend time with my family.

What are you listening to, what are you watching, and what are you reading right now?

Because I am a fan of gospel music, I spend a lot of time listening to Hillsong Worship. A couple of songs by Nathaniel Bassey and Jireh, which was produced by Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music, are currently playing in the background.

Both Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by Alan G. Lafley and Roger Martin and Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim are interesting books that I am currently reading.

Babajide Asegbeloyin

Tell me about the most useful piece of guidance that anyone has ever given you.

When I was attending college, I had a professor who I admired because it was unusual for someone of his age to hold the position of a professor. He was forty years old, which is very unusual for professors at public universities. In order for him to have been a professor when he was 40, he had to have received his PhD some time around the age of 31.

When I approached him, he told me that one of the secrets to speed is to look for uncharted paths, shed light on those paths, and eventually become the ones who shed the most light on those paths. That piece of advice has stayed with me forever. Even as I forge a path for my career, I am always on the lookout for a route that the majority of people either avoid or are simply unaware of.

What is a challenge that you have not yet conquered to the best of your ability?

It's as easy as bridging the gap between the modern and the traditional. I see myself as a bridge-builder between the institutions that are already established and the institutions that are just getting established, and it's a consistent problem because there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to shifting mindsets. Both traditional financial institutions and tech startups need to change a significant number of their current perspectives.

Who do you wish would respond to these questions and why?

Elon Musk.