Throughout history, strong leadership has played an instrumental role in inspiring revolution and nurturing adaptability in the face of imminent change. Today, financial leaders have a role to play in supporting transformation, bringing forth innovation in the face of complexity. Analytics Insight has engaged in a conversation with Alev Dover, CEO of Prism Global Group, where she reveals her journey of impressive experience leading up to her position of leadership at Prism and her vision for the future of the financial ecosystem.
“Prism is introducing an innovative financial infrastructure yet to be seen by global markets,” explains Alev. While little information can be revealed until launch, on the topic of the impact Prism will have on the financial markets Alev speaks with conviction, affirming that “the company’s new infrastructure will certainly be a game-changer for equity markets, unlocking enormous value for investors.” Prism offers investors a new dimension of choice, along with greater efficiency and precision over their equity positions. Alev has been involved with several innovative products, but she envisions the Prism Perspective as the natural evolution of an efficient market. She assures us that everything will be revealed very soon.
An Inspired Leader Striving to Do Things Differently
Alev possesses over 25 years of financial markets experience. She started at the deep end, the Australian open outcry Options Market, before moving to the rapidly expanding securities lending industry. She then built a career with Westpac, State Street, JP Morgan, and Citigroup, dealing in all aspects of cash equity and derivatives prime brokerage, securities finance, equity derivatives, repo, delta-1 trading, and synthetic prime products. This included working in Hong Kong and Japan, as well as in Australia. This experience then led her to the role as the Head of Equity Finance at FinClear, which allowed her to combine her knowledge of financial products and passion for innovation to develop an entirely new approach to securities financing. As a result, she was selected as the finalist in the 2020 Australian Business Awards “Innovator of the Year” and named Australian Women in Finance “Investment Professional of The Year” in 2019.
This experience has now brought her to Prism in the role of the CEO, a new chapter where she is once again excited to combine her experience and product knowledge, with her passion for innovation, to bring forth a new vision.
Female Resilience as a Source of Inspiration
Alev reveals that her journey as a successful female leader did not begin in the male-dominant environment where she began her career on the trading floor, rather at home, through the resilience and courage that she saw being demonstrated by the women in her life, namely her grandmother and mother. “Both of them are strong women, to say the least, moving a family to an unknown country 15,000 km away, not knowing a single word or soul”, she explains. Alev further exemplifies this by recollecting how her grandmother taught herself to speak 5 additional languages to be able to interact with the multicultural workforce. This background has served as the bedrock of her success as a female leader.
An Odyssey of Obstacles and Shattered Glass Ceilings
Coming from the trading floor, Alev had to learn to survive very early in her career in confronting surroundings. The early 90s was a time when men were dominating the trading arena. Alev gave more than 100% of her capacity to her work to even begin to be heard and respected. Often told to give up and choose a field a little more female-oriented, Alev persevered.
“I guess your past is what shapes you,” Alev reveals. “The respect earned wasn’t given on a platter that’s for sure. My journey was an odyssey of obstacles and shattered glass ceilings.” Alev has always strived to be true to who she is. “I had to learn to be resilient. Giving up was not an option for me.”
Personal Development as a Key Attribute of Leadership
Alev believes that personal development should always be a priority, “a leader should always continue their own development.” The other attributes that Alev considers vital in a leader are leading by influence, integrity, communication, delegation, encouraging strategic thinking to support innovation, being agile and open-minded, empathy, humility, as well as focusing on helping others to develop and grow.
A Change in Perspective Leads to New Innovation
“Innovation comes in many forms, some say necessity is the mother of all inventions, which is certainly true,” asserts Alev. At Prism, the team considers innovation to be the result of a new perspective. Discoveries are made not by doing things differently, but by seeing things differently. The Prism Perspective empowers investors with choice, allowing them to innovate in their own ways, aligned with their personal objectives.
Accelerated Growth born from Disruptive Technologies
According to Alev, disruptive technologies are significantly altering the way businesses operate. She says that innovation can be implemented that can change an industry much faster than it would have even 5-10 years ago, allowing the characteristics of that industry to be superior in many ways. This rapidly evolving and competitive landscape greatly informs leadership. A leader today has to be abreast of not only where technologies are today, but also forward-thinking ideas ahead.
Connection vs Competition: Shifting towards a Collaborative Model
Alev believes that the financial markets are principally based upon connecting people. “As technology advances, the depth of these connections will only strengthen”, she says. But how the market uses those connections interests Alev the most. There are many more products now than there used to be, but the market is still predominantly centered around competing for resources. In the future, Alev foresees the market shifting towards a more collaborative model that allows the technology to allocate resources with significantly more efficiency. Prism aims to play a large role in that line of thinking.
Leadership by Example or Lead by Example or An Exemplary Leader
“Own who you are and own your decisions without apology,” advises Alev. She remarks that every single CEO that she has worked with and for throughout her career has been uniquely different in their leadership style. For her, being a leader is being completely one’s true self, speaking from that place, giving feedback, and sharing opinions. “Leadership is a symbiotic relationship, not only guiding and teaching, but also learning and shaping oneself within that journey. That is when people follow your leadership,” she concludes.