Investment advice and guidance is often promised to be delivered through expert judgment & skillful opinions by professionals in asset or wealth management. However, much of the global wealth invested lacks systematic quantification – many decisions are intuition-based. And even though the complexity of algorithms in financial services has increased in specific areas (first generation of Robo-advisory, or high-frequency trading, hedge funds, etc.), widely used statistical methods applied (often still EXCEL based) that are used to back-up or justify decision making, still lag decades behind the most advanced quantitative methods developed in academia. So, due to a lack of technology use: risks are higher than necessary, and returns are lower than possible!
With a deep knowledge of the financial market coupled with different quantitative skills, such as mathematics, quantitative finance, AI, ML, modern statistical inference, and computer science, Sandro Schmid stands as Co-founder and CEO at AAAccell. AAAccell is a high-tech company in Risk and Asset Management, developing pioneering solutions for the financial service industry. The company is a spin-off company of the Universe of Zurich. With a former banking CEO and Big 4 Partner, as well as M.As and PhDs from several top universities, the company has a powerful team that applies the scientific and expert knowledge to create real solutions for the financial industry.
Below is Sandro’s story,
Sandro Schmid started his career in banking, where he was working in different functions in front- and backoffice departments. He moved on into Consulting, working for many years for a Big4. Further, He has had been always close to academia, where he was engaged in research and education.
The banking has given Sandro , a good understanding of clients, products, processes, and governance while the advisory gave him the ability to challenge existing frameworks & the academia enabled him to identify new technology, trends, and leading research. He uses the latest technology & methods and always tries to add a notch on top of it, keeping in front of the tech race. “It is like in a bicycle race – staying in the front with the others is a tough job every day”, says Sandro.
Sandro thinks each company needs other skills depending on the maturity of the company, the ambition, the market, and its technology. And, he also thinks that today, it is very convenient to learn a live time with all the technical possibilities. “We can read everywhere, listen to books or podcasts, study on the browser with E-Universities, etc.,” says the CEO.
Sandro doesn’t think that there is a one-size-fits-all set, otherwise, the executive recruiter would have an easy job. Understanding markets and clients- “The best product is useless if markets are not ready, don’t understand the product or are not willing to pay for it. This is quite a risk for tech companies since it is like with an oil painting; it is never really finished, but there must come the time to go live.”
But no leader deserves this term if he/she is not able to attract and hold talents. Sandro is convinced that a firm can only win if the team acts as a team and not in single cells. And this is not happening on its own; a great team must be identified, on-boarded, and managed well like, e.g. a good soccer team.
Sandro Schmid was always convinced that we live in a world of live-time education. He never stopped reading or learning after his educations. It was also a reason why he is teaching on the side at the Universities because this pushes him to keep his hand on the pulse. A good example is a growing regulation which he needs to understand for his courses. And just reading the papers isn’t enough to be able to teach it.
Another important point is to use the time smartly – don’t get distracted by topics, leads, or conversations with people or companies that are not strategically of relevance. This, of course, holds only in business, not for private people.
It always starts with a problem in the market, and Sandro thinks no one would claim that in the Financial Service market problems are scarce. The next step is to identify the proper solution in respect of complexity, meaning for simple problems, the company would not propose a complex solution, but typically, the problems are complex, so advanced methods are required. AAAccell offers a standard solution which is market practice plus new innovative solution which are still giving institutions a USP compared to their peer. In case, a client has a very specific request, the company also works for some clients like Rothschild/Orox purely exclusively.
For Sandro, it is very helpful to understand trends and market behavior coupled with a lot of optimism, flexibility, open-minded, ambitions, and an overall reason for the company’s activities.
AAAccell is currently expanding, also in the process of an inorganic transaction, which will require a lot of time shortly to assure that all interests are aligned among all the stakeholders. So, Sandro’s future will not change much. He still wants to make a positive contribution to the financial service market with the products such as the fund rating filter, where the company tries to eliminate mutual funds, which are constantly underperforming drastically and still charge the clients with high fees which are not appropriate.