Adios Hong Kong Bonjour Paris
ATUL SODHI MOVES TO PARIS AS GLOBAL HEAD OF DCM (CORPORATE) FOR CREDIT AGRICOLE
Credit Agricole CIB has appointed Atul Sodhi to a newly created role as global head of debt capital markets for corporate clients. He joined Credit Agricole in India in 1997 before moving to Hong Kong in 2007 to head the bank’s loan syndications business in Asia Pacific.
Mr. Atul Sodhi, first of all, many congratulations to you and your whole family from the team of BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES, on being appointed as the Global Head of debt capital markets for corporates in Credit Agricole. Kindly give our readers a snapshot into your background?
May our readers know about your roots?
I was born in Chandigarh. My father built a career at Indian oil. As a result we lived in various parts of India. From a very early stage in life I was exposed to various cultures within India. Moving from one city to another was part of our life.
While at University, did you vacillate between fields?
I always had an interest in economics and then developed an interest in business and finance. This interest was developed and nurtured partly due to the environment in the home and partly due to my mother being an MA in economics with a gold medal and a teacher.
You are very much a Global citizen; tell us where you relocated soon after university?
After university I worked in various parts of India. I started in Mumbai, then Calcutta, then Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi and finally Mumbai. I have enjoyed working in every part of India before moving to HK.
What are the challenges now banking sector is facing or can face in coming years because of the changing scenario of the world and its business?
Banking is facing many challenges. One of the key challenges is technology. Technology is and will continue to automate many parts of banking. Banks will need to innovate to benefit from technology or run the risk of being marginalized.
Another challenge is regulation. Regulators are concerned that banking channels are being used for money laundering and tax evasion. Regulations to ensure that banking channels are not abused are increasing.
Investment banking needs a strong understanding of finance and of markets. These subjects are constantly evolving. A good professional in this career has the ability to learn the theory and apply it in various practical situations. This profession also needs a very strong ability to work in teams.
Please also tell our readers how investment banking works? How you guide our young readers to find their career in investment banking?
Investment banking needs a strong understanding of finance and of markets. These subjects are constantly evolving. A good professional in this career has the ability to learn the theory and apply it in various practical situations. This profession also needs a very strong ability to work in teams. If you enjoy finance and enjoy working with people this is a career for you. My simple advice to young readers is be dedicated and persistent inwhatever you do. You are sure to succeed with this.
Was there a country in which you felt an affinity towards?
Hong Kong, France and Japan are 3 of my favourite countries. The energy of HK, the elegance of France and the discipline of Japan are commendable.
Care to share about your immediate family, wife and children?
We are a close family of four. I have my parents and elder brother and his family. On my wife’s side we have her parents and family.
Do you want your sons to follow you in your footsteps?
I hope my boys do what they enjoy doing. If they come into banking it would be their choice. No pressure from me at least.
When you are not working, how are you spending your time?
I play golf over the weekends. I enjoy reading. I travel a lot for work, over the weekends, I cherish my sleep.
Having lived in Hong Kong for few years, what are your feelings about the Indian community here?
It’s an interesting and diverse community. I wish we are more closely knit. I feel that there are many sub communities. It would be good to have an event that could bring the community closer together.
Let’s talk about Crypto currency, which is also called future currency. Please put a light on it. How do you see it as a professional? Will it be a challenge to banks or not?
I am fascinated by this field. It will be a challenge to conventional banking in future.
From a normal person to a professional, what is your suggestion for the investment for better future?
In the long term stocks are the best investment. There is no debate on this. However, no one succeeds in timing the market. It is good to save and invest regularly for the long term.
Lets come to Hong Kong life and its diversity, you’ve lived far and wide, how would you rate Hong Kong and its life?
Hong Kong is no doubt one of the greatest cities in the world. It is the most efficient place. Everything works.
There is a notion that Hong Kong business are shrinking because Beijing, Shanghai and Special Economic Zone Shenzhen have infiltrated, How valid is this?
Hong Kong will remain a key center for the service industry. Be it Banking, consultancy, etc. There is no place that can beat it on it efficiency and “friendly to business” attitude. If Hong Kong property prices were lower, it would be more successful.
How you see Hong Kong’s market after 20 years?
There is no reason to believe that Hong Kong will not be a great place or market in 20 years.
How do you find time juggling between family and work?
I work long hours. I would like to spend more time with my family. I hope that in a years’ time I will be better placed for that.
What do you put your success down to?
Hard work and persistence.
Last but not least, message for the readers of “Beyond the Boundaries”?
Keep looking for new challenges. Harder you work, luckier you get.