Episode 8 with Wilfred Daye

Written by Julia

On February 20, 2020

In this episode, we have Wilfred Daye, a former head of quantitative trading in UBS. Starting his career as a CMBS desk analyst at Lehman Brothers, Wilfred combined his interest in trading and his scientific quantitative background into making his name in the industry. If you look at his career so far, you would be impressed as much as we are. Having three different degrees, one in Ph.D in Molecular Pathology from the University of Southern California (USC), Wilfred has dedicated a great deal of time in science, which later evolved into his sharp perspective into competitive trading and quantitative financial market. Besides his scientific academic background, Wilfred shared with us his opinion on business lending, his experience of working in UBS and Lehman Brothers, and his opinion on current technology and financial world. If you would like to know what it’s like working as head of quantitative trading in UBS and Wilfred Daye’s future projects, you shouldn’t want to miss this episode.

Available on:

Apple Podcasts


Angela– On Episode eight we’re welcoming Wilfred Daye, how are you today?

Wilfred– Good, great be here.

Angela – We’re glad to have you! So, Wilfred was a structured finance raider for UBS an investment banking firm, responsible for portfolio construction and risk management. He has a bachelor’s Science in biochemistry, a master’s in financial engineering and a Ph.D. in Molecular Pathology. He first started his career as CMBS desk analysis at Lehman Brothers. So, let’s go back to your experience at UBS, can you tell us more about your experience at UBS?

Wilfred – Yes sure! So, you know at UBS I was part of the team focusing on financing and this was back in 2010, right after the financial crisis. Lots of available assets out there acquired by hedge funds and private equity companies in the world. So, in the same time UBS which is a private investment bank, where some bank has a relatively cheap balance sheet that they can use to lock, do new hedge funds for the purpose of leveraging their positions and so you know we’ve done our work in IMBS, CMBS and see all moral structure products post-crisis. I helped with all the P files and hedge files to generate returns to leverage the UBS balance sheet.

Angela – You got the three degrees and then you switched from the financial world into the molecule pathology but how did that happen, and which one did you enjoy more?

Wilfred – Yes, I think I used to enjoy Sciences when I came out of biochemist in science. I also think science gives you a bit more of an insight.

Angela – Like co-relate together.

Wilfred – Yes, even when I think about problems, I still like the course. I move away from Science just because you know scientific academia is very competitive.

Angela – Oh so you did enjoy it.

Wilfred – I think I actually enjoyed it. But it is a reality that not many people can be very successful. I thought that I probably could use my college to choose what I learn in Sciences or elsewhere.

Angela – Right! And you started your career at Lehman Brothers which is very impressive. Can you talk about your experience there and bring some light?

Wilfred– Yes of-course! Lehman Brothers was a very interesting company. I joined them in the year 2000 in commercial real estate. So commercial real estate was you know a large asset class within the recent financial sector and we focus on secure addition of commercial real estate assets in particular hot jobs, multifamily, in sorts of words My role was you know looking at underlying portfolio so we have buildings taking or talking to special services and focusing in the field of performance and building more of a fundamental.

Angela– That I’m sure open a lot of doors for you!

Wilfred– Yes, then I moved to colonized moment obligation. I think Lehman is a great company, folks are very focused and very professional, and everyone has been in their role for a very long time, meant to be an expert in their area. Plus, I think that the type of culture and experience helped me in many ways.

Angela – And speaking of loans, would you recommend that not even just start-ups, but even existing businesses just take out funds and take out loans?

Wilfred– Yes, I do. I think of a loan as an instrument and it can be played in a strategic manner after all your companies and business, in your case. Loans can help manage the cash flow of a company, manage the goodwill and help to build a business. In every business, a little bit of leverage is always very helpful. It depends on the individual business case. Loans as a financial asset can be applied strategically.

Angela– And the interest rate right now?

Wilfred – Right now we’re in a sort of a historically low, no yield or low-interest-rate environment. I think focusing to be careful but also at the same time be able to take advantage.

Angela – Exactly! I see that you were the head financial marketer and that’s pretty cool. So OKCoin is a cryptocurrency, can you elaborate more on that.

Wilfred – Right, sure yeah! have some up on the currency space maybe it’s about three to four years ago. Just fair accident and yet I wasn’t the hardcore Bitcoin guy. So, OKCoin’s is a lot about blockchain currency companies. It has about 800 to 900 people and I’m just responsible for the financial market. There is blockchain, internally there is also a VC component of it. And I look after financial markets in general.

Angela – What do you think about the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology?

Wilfred – I think this is a very interesting segment of the fintech space, blockchain technologies – it’s very relatable to millennials and I think the way it resolves is a different way to look at.

Angela – So you do see it utilized in the real world.

Wilfred – Yeah right now it is utilized more. Well, right now we’re you know in sort of a very early stage on the blockchain cryptocurrency development. I see more and more folks coming out of the approval of council a Minimum Viable Product of all the stage and move into more mature products.

Angela Right, well you have so much experience in so many different fields, but I do want to know which one you’re the most passionate about?

Wilfred – Oh so if someone gives me all the money I don’t have, I’ll retire and use it for pleasure but also what I do with my time right now. The answer to that is definitely going back to the sciences I like. I just like science and some of the scientific subjects. Out of all, I’ll go back to what I studied before, which was cancer biology. So, I can specialize in breast cancer, that’s something I’m always interested to know how the protein molecule works in the growth factor, about breast cancer cells and to know how that the hereditary in pregnancy changes the picture of the breast cancer itself. There’s also RNA based genius working therapy approach to cancer so the amount of the areas in cancer-like, in therapy, it’s very interesting to me and you know I’d like to learn more about it. So, if someone gave me a lot of money, I’d definitely like to study that. Because that’s one thing I do miss is the sciences.

Angela – Okay, do you still get into reading science books or just look at the latest news?

Wilfred – Yes, I read scientific journals. I don’t go too deep into it.

Angela – But it does interest you!

Wilfred– Yes it’s interesting and reliable, it’s always been fun also I think of these scientific approaches and about the problems, they’re quite interesting so the more you read through the scientific papers, looking at hypotheses and how to solve themselves and so on so forth.

Angela– And what is your opinion on the current technology in combinations of finances?

Wilfred– I think there are two kinds, where there’s more of a West Coast approach to finances, VC type of finance, another one like a New York-based approach to finance and fintech in general. I think those two need to be coming together may be more closely, a lot of folks are focused on technology. Now there is initiative internally to build it to notch and best-in-class technology available out there but what’s the reappointing bankers from any institution us you know performing complex, complicated and compliance regulations space way so to and to respect these components and regulations that are very important to run a successful fintech company. You know last time I was traveling to California it was more like tech fin and then in New York, it’s more like fintech think we needed to come together and actually you find mature companies in fintech fields, prospering and focusing on the west coast and around. Even though they have a fantastic firm, they have fantastic technology but the way they operate is more like a financial system.

Angela– Right! like you’re saying it’s not just about technology.

Wilfred– Yeah! You know I see that in the cryptocurrency world it’s the same thing. You know in technologies out there it has helped these people. Understanding regulation and tweaking your technology to comply with the regulations, rules, and laws where they are now.

Angela– I’m going to ask you a personal question if you can go back in time and change something what would it be?

Wilfred -Personally?

Angela – It could be anything! Just something that you wish you could change.

Wilfred– I would say nothing that I want to change in my life. But, on a personal level may be the ability to read a lot faster and comprehend deeper. For me that’s very important, just because I read too slow.

Angela– And maybe – because you want to grasp all the information faster.

Wilfred– Yes! there’s so time in your day but there’s so much more information too.

Angela– Right! So, do you read a lot of books?

Wilfred– I don’t unfortunately, that’s the only reason I wanted to be able to read faster and better because I want to learn more about how to read and stuff.

Angela– Maybe because you were always busy.

Wilfred– True! but I also was going out, but there were those were all conceptual reading.

Angela– So, are there any future projects that you’re working on?

Wilfred– Yeah! I think I’m going to be focusing on cryptocurrency and fintech companies. I think that’s very interesting. I found that the cryptocurrency is you know one of the growing areas right now. I thought this is a new or nascent product that is coming out.

Angela– Right, also I think there are more companies adopting to it.

Wilfred– Absolutely, there’s more adoption and even innovation of financial products around, like Bitcoin in general and that could be very interesting so to me and this is going to be a financial engineering 2.0. So, you know the future of financial technology waves more like partials, equation options generate to a more traditional world. Back then this about 1.5 or something is a more secure variation as big as something that started in the 1980s. Now its blanching technology and blanching cryptocurrency between itself. That could be a potential that grows into itself. This sort of margin area that plays off like financial engineering 2.0 that connects the financial world to the technology world. That could be something very interesting.

Angela– All right! well, thank you so much for coming.

Wilfred– Yes! thank that much.

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