Inspirational Woman: Qiaojia Li | Co-Founder & CEO, Rosecut

Qiaojia Li and Gustavo SilvaTell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role​ 

Having grown up in China, I moved to Sydney for university, then Singapore for my first job. Deciding that better opportunities were coming up in China, I moved back. In total, I spent seven years in ‘high finance’ jobs across Asia, working in corporate finance with profit and loss responsibility for companies in my portfolio – spending $100 mill per quarter, and working 100 hours per week.

I swiftly climbed the ladder in the private banking world, and in my first year, my average client account was £1 million, which quickly became £2 million, and soon I was managing £5 million. At Credit Suisse, I went from managing £0 to managing £100 million of assets in three years – a progression that takes an average of 15 years normally.

After a career at Credit Suisse I became Co-Head of the Asia desk at Coutts International working with ultra-high net worth clients, many of whom had made their fortunes through technology businesses and were younger than the average Coutts client.

I then met Rosecut’s co-founder Gustavo Silva, a Brazilian-born programmer and serial entrepreneur, through talent incubator Entrepreneur First in October 2018. We partnered together to create Rosecut, a digital wealth manager that offers financial advice, planning & investment services available and affordable to all.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?​   

I always knew I wanted to start a career for myself. Entrepreneurship is my way of expressing my view of the world and creativity.

Instead of diving straight in after university, I chose to build a career in corporates to gain my edge and create a deep knowledge of a chosen field as a starting point.

My mother was an entrepreneur herself; she became a millionaire in the 90s thanks to the reform and opening up in China, however, she soon lost almost her entire fortune due to the volatility of the Chinese stock market. It made me realise that extreme wealth isn’t a guarantee of stability, and that the real battle isn’t making your fortune but safeguarding it over the course of your life.

I spent years as a wealth manager at Credit Suisse then Coutts, and I soon realised that I was helping only a select few people and the ultra-wealthy. I started thinking then about combining my expertise with technology, that could open up wealth management and financial planning to a much wider audience.

Seeing the access to advice and guidance my Coutts clients had access to, I was driven to ensure that no one was priced out of receiving similar support.

Have you faced any challenges along the way? ​ 

The whole product and venture is built on the idea that we can use technology, specifically a type of artificial intelligence, to imiate the advice sessions a client and financial advisior go through. We spent a lot of time on researching and developing to see if this is possible. Although we still have a long way to go, we believe we can eventually have an app that runs exactly the same way as wealth managers – which normally requires substantial fees, and be one of the first in the market, if not the first.

What has been your biggest achievement to date? ​ 

There are so many, but I think personally hearing when a customer says: “your product has changed our family and how we think about finances” is one of my proudest moments so far.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?  ​ 

Having a clear mission of what we plan to set out to do, has led us through many difficult decisions and to achieving success. I am incredibly proud of us breaking open the secretive and opaque private banking industry by giving access to financial knowledge to everyone.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?  ​

I believe having a strong mentor to regularly talk to is one of the best ways to grow as an individual and as a business. I often talk to a mentor, and I am also a mentee, helping others grow personally and professionally.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?  ​

The one fundamental change I believe that needs to be addressed is as a society we must change the cultural norm that women need to be the primary child carer.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?  ​

My advice to my younger self is to be patient, enjoy the journey, and don’t just have your eyes on the prize.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?  ​

My next aim is to grow Rosecut and grow with Rosecut. I want to ensure myself and the team are the best versions we could be, and I also want to ensure we maximise the positive impact we can bring.  Our long-term vision is that Rosecut will become a household name.

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