How would you fancy helping the police catch a serial killer? Or racing against time to save hospital patients’ lives after a bone graft operation turned nasty?
And what about investigating a murder involving a government cover-up?
For Daniel Dyl, who joined ALT21 as a business development executive in January, all three of the above sounded like a fun day’s work.
Lured in by his boundless curiosity and the excitement of TV series like Bones — a show about the somewhat unfortunately named forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan (and, yes, we may have borrowed a couple of its plot lines) — he enrolled at Bournemouth University to read for a degree in biological anthropology.
Except TV tends to, well… slightly exaggerate both the thrills and career prospects of anthropologists. Which led Daniel to rethink his plans, pivot to a career in finance, and find his way to ALT21.
So how did that work out for him?
Is FX the exciting career he was hoping for on his first day as a wide-eyed anthropology undergrad? And how does he spend his work days now that he doesn’t study human bones?
We got the scoop from the man himself.
Welcome to adulthood
‘It was fun,’ says Daniel of his anthropology degree. ‘But once I finished, it turned out my choices were rather limited. In the UK, there are three individuals who work as biological anthropologists full-time. So I could either go into academia, which wasn’t something I saw myself doing, or I could take what I’d learned and translate it into some other profession.’
Daniel calls this his adult moment. ‘It’s when I discovered what the working world was really like.’
But after taking a year to reflect and regroup, he realised there was, in fact, something else he could do. And he soon got back on track.
‘I enjoy being around people, I’m competitive, and I like numbers. So, I thought, why not study finance?’
As it happened, he had a few friends who worked in finance, and speaking with them helped seal the deal.
‘They told me it’s constantly active. It’s constantly moving. And that appealed to me. So I went ahead and transitioned from biological anthropology to a Masters’ degree in international risk management and finance.‘
With his Masters’ degree in hand, it was time for Daniel to take a leap of faith. ‘There are loads of career opportunities in finance,‘ he explains, ‘but not many of them are outside London.‘
So, with a friend’s encouragement ringing in his ears and a credit card on which to put the first few months’ obscenely overpriced rent, he headed over to the Big Smoke.
The punt paid off.
Within a few months, he’d landed his first business development role in the FX industry at Ebury, nailed it, and moved on to a higher-profile role as a corporate FX dealer at Moneycorp.
More to the point, the experience was a revelation. Daniel’s lightbulb moment, if you will.
‘I found the work extremely validating,‘ he beams. He was also very good at it, becoming his team’s top dealer of 2020 despite the challenges of the pandemic.
But Daniel’s time at Moneycorp proved critical — for both him and us, actually — also for another reason. It’s where he met Sabah Mahmood: superstar striker, sales manager extraordinaire, and the person who suggested he should join a certain fintech startup.
‘She called me up and said, “Would you ever leave Moneycorp?” There’s a new position at ALT21 you’d be perfect for.‘ Daniel recalls. ‘I trust and respect Sabah, so I didn’t have to think about it. If she said it was a great opportunity, that was good enough for me.‘
Building lasting relationships
Daniel’s job as a business development executive is twofold.
One part of it is sales, which is to say he works to identify new opportunities and persuade new partners to come on board. ‘I look for leads, reach out to people, and try to get them to sign up with us,‘ he explains.
The understanding of human behaviour he’s acquired from his anthropology studies has come in very handy. ‘I’ve done quite well for someone who’s just started,’ he says ‘Even if I say so myself.’
But while closing deals is something he finds quite exhilarating, the part of the job he likes best is the second aspect of business development — building strong, long-term relationships with ALT21’s partners.
As part of his role, he manages a portfolio of partners for whom he acts as the main point of contact, making sure the product is living up to their expectations and that their experience of working with ALT21 is pleasant, productive, and fruitful.
‘I consider the partners I manage to be my friends,’ he says. ‘and I love building those relationships, because that’s what business is all about.
‘Ultimately, we’re in this together and we want the same thing: to build an exceptional product that truly makes a difference in people’s lives.’
‘My goal is to help ALT21 become the greatest company you’ve never heard of.’
Daniel may not be embarking on any adventures as a swashbuckling anthropologist in the coming years, but he couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds.
‘Over the past few years, there’s been some companies in FX that have made it all about price,’ he observes. ‘But price isn’t the be all, end all. The companies that stand out are those that have the product to back them up. They’re not necessarily at the forefront, but they empower other companies.‘
This, he argues, is exactly the type of company ALT21 can become.
‘We’ve got a great vision, and great products,’ he says, ‘And I genuinely believe we can be the go-to company for any business that wants to start offering high quality foreign exchange hedging products to their customers.’