Francesco Stadler, Associate Director, Sustainable Finance initiative
10 May 2021
In order to help current students and recent graduates to find their way in the working world, many of our alumni shared their career story. Here the story of Francesco Stadler, Associate Director for Sustainable Finance initiative in Hong Kong (China). USI Degree: Bachelor in Economics, 2010.
How did you start your career?
I started off my career with a Career Start Program at Credit Suisse Private bank in Zurich. The program allows you to rotate various divisions to get to know the bank better, and I had the opportunity to try out roles in risk management and product management. After 3 years at Credit Suisse I spent 3.5 years as a product manager at responsAbility Investments, an impact investing asset manager. I then moved to Hong Kong where, after a brief stint in fintech consulting, I resumed my sustainable finance path by joining an asset manager, before assuming my current role at the Sustainable Finance initiative.
Why did you choose a career in Sustainable Finance initiative?
I have decided to join the Sustainable Finance initiative because it is one of the most reputable organizations in Hong Kong when it comes to sustainable finance. The firm offers a great platform to get to know investors, industry policies, and trends in the Asian market. The Sustainable Finance initiative has an extensive network in the industry and has established relationships with several similar initiatives around the globe, such as the Swiss Sustainable Finance in Switzerland and Singapore’s AVPN.
What is your current role/duties?
My role allows me to work on multiple facets of sustainable finance. We analyze investment opportunities from an impact and environmental/social risk perspectives, we take part in the process of shaping sustainability policies in the financial sector by working with the local market authorities, we offer consulting services and training programs in the context of sustainable finance in Hong Kong and more broadly, Asia (i.e. advocacy).
In your opinion, what are the qualities necessary for a successful career in Sustainable Finance initiative?
Key skills are entrepreneurship (a must-have in a small firm), willingness to establish and nurture long-lasting relationships, and eagerness to learn on a daily basis. Sustainable finance is still a developing sector and as such often subject to biases and misunderstandings. It is therefore paramount to keep abreast of the newest trends, products, and regulations to be able to attract new investors and effectively promote the sector.
What positive aspects and qualities meant most to you during the study programme you attended?
USI’s most positive aspects are the close contact with professors and academic staff, and the adequate number of students. These two aspects I believe facilitate the learning process and almost give the impression of a tailor-made study curriculum. The Bachelors in Economics provides a good mix of quantitative and qualitative skills and covers all areas of economics. After graduating I felt well-equipped to either carry-on with my studies or work.
What competences and/or skills acquired in your USI Study Program have been useful/are useful to your professional career?
From a practical standpoint, the ability to work in a team and be able to listen and internalize other people’s opinions has proven essential. From a more intellectual perspective, being able to look at a problem from various angles and understand its managerial, economic and financial implications has given me the ability to provide comprehensive and innovative solutions.
What is your advice to USI students entering the job market?
My suggestion is to first identify potential sectors of interest, and reach out to professionals already operating in those areas. This allows you to identify and access opportunities through your newly-established network, while at the same time understand better the mechanics and inner functioning of the sectors you aim to work in.