Meet Francois, Head of Desk at BVNK
In this edition of Life at BVNK, our Head of Desk, Francois Du Toit, shares his career journey in finance, why he was drawn to trading and his tips for anyone starting out.
Tell us what you do.
My job is to drive commercial operations while making sure we stay within our risk parameters. On a typical day, I oversee all activities for our Global Settlement Network.
Why did you join BVNK and what keeps you here?
I was excited about how BVNK is using distributed ledger technology to solve real world problems, and I was immediately drawn to the team and their vision for the future. Even though the company was still in startup mode back then in 2020, I wanted to be a part of the growth journey.
The level of talent here is amazing – I knew I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by. BVNK is an innovative and dynamic workplace, which really encourages creativity and collaboration.
Describe BVNK culture in one word.
Collaborative. The people make it a fantastic place to work. Everyone is approachable, and there’s a sense of camaraderie.
I'm constantly learning from my colleagues. But it's not just about intelligence or expertise – everyone is genuinely nice and supportive, and we work together to achieve ambitious goals.
BVNK is a place where you can excel, both individually and as a team.
How did you end up here?
Banking and broking have always been a part of my family's background. My grandfather was a banker and my father is an insurance broker.
After studying investment management and financial planning, I joined a boutique asset management company.
It wasn't until 2015 when I joined an online trading fintech as a trainee sales trader that everything fell into place. I was fascinated by the fast-paced environment and the challenges of trading. The learning curve was steep, but I thrived on the pressure.
Since then, I’ve gained valuable experience working across different trading desks, which led me here to BVNK.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Start trading as early as possible. Even if you're not ready to trade with real money, start with paper trading or a demo account to get a feel for the market.
Trading is a skill that takes practice, and the more you do it, the better you'll get. It's also important to stay up to date with market news and developments, so I’d recommend following financial news sources and staying informed about the latest trends and events.
Finally, networking is very important in this industry, so try to attend trading events and conferences to meet professionals in the field and learn from their experiences.
What's the most challenging thing about your job and how do you unwind?
Trading can be super stressful because things move really fast! It's not easy to stay cool and collected when the market is bouncing all over the place. Plus, the regulations are always changing and the competition is fierce.
To unwind, I like to go for a run or hit the waves for a surf session. Both activities help me clear my head and get back to a good place, which is so important in such a high-pressure job like trading.
Any books, blogs, films or podcasts you recommend?
Now we're getting to the fun stuff... I’ve recently read Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard and The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. Both offer great insights into building a successful company and managing personal finances.
As for podcasts, I recommend Morgan Stanley's Thoughts on the Market and CoinDesk's Markets Daily with Adam B. Levine. These are both great resources for staying up to date with market developments in blockchain and cryptocurrency.
You can get in touch with Francois on LinkedIn.
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