Erkin Adylov had the kind of financial services career most people can only aspire to. After leaving university (the London School of Economics), he went to work for Goldman Sachs’ London office as an equities analyst. Two years and 10 months later, he quit for hedge fund GLG, where he co-managed a $1.5bn long/short financials hedge fund. Five years later – in June 2014 – he moved on again. Today, Adylov is CEO of Behavox, a ‘state of the art compliance solution’ and ‘holistic employee surveillance system.’
“It’s about an entrepreneurial mindset,” says Adylov. “The ultimate reward for an entrepreneur is when people appreciate his efforts by paying him money, which becomes a score of the value he created for society. Although everyone in investment banking is well paid, there is still a cap on total possible earnings. Money in investment banking is not a score of the value created for society, it’s just pay for a job. And that’s frustrating if you have an entrepreneurial mindset.”
Entrepreneurialism drove Adylov out of Goldman. And entrepreneurialism encouraged Adylov out of GLG and into his own tech firm. “If you’re in finance and you’re looking for a job that will pay you a percentage of the money you make, you want to work in a hedge fund,” says Adylov. “But if really want to be responsible for your own P&L, you need to run your own business.”
Behavox, which was profiled by Euromoney last month, is becoming known for its software which uses behavioural precursors to alert banks to employees’ potential wrongdoing. One of these precursors is laughing on telephone calls. Another is the rate at which people speak. “If you’re contemplating a lie, your speech will abruptly slow down,” says Adylov, who has 10 people working for him and has built the monitoring software from scratch.
Nonetheless, Adylov is all for young people starting their careers in finance. “If you’re contemplating becoming an entrepreneur, you need seven to ten years’ experience with a big corporate,” he tell us. “It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert and that’s three to five years depending upon your working intensity.” Once you’re an expert in an area, then you can leave and set up a company in the area of your expertise. “I set up a company that deals with compliance in financial services because financial services is where my expertise lies,” Adylov says.
If you’re starting out in financial services, Adylov is also a strong advocate of equity research careers. “Work-life balance is better in equity research than investment banking. You come in at 7am and you leave at 7 or 8. You don’t travel out of the blue and it’s all highly structured. It’s a great, stimulating job with more meaning than areas like trading, sales or M&A. If you’re looking for work-life balance and interest, equity research is one of the best places to start in finance.”