Fernn sees nexus, a Banking-as-a-Service proposition by Standard Chartered Bank, as an extremely meaningful venture. “We’ve built and enabled new business models in this antiquated industry called banking; bringing financial inclusion to the unbanked population by providing end users direct access to financial services — something that many Singaporeans take for granted,” she explains. She is Chief of Staff of nexus, and also sits on the bank’s Diversity & Inclusion council, which drives gender and equality initiatives and change.
Why this piece of advice for women?
Particularly when it comes to married women, I want to emphasise the importance of not outsourcing personal financial planning and financial planning for the family to your husband.
Money is often a sensitive topic but I have learnt that it’s important to establish a common understanding on the family finances. As a husband-wife team, it helps when we have a common goal to work towards.
If you had a magic wand that could do anything, what is the one thing you’d hope to do for girls everywhere in the world?
I’d hope to impress upon them that their authenticity is what makes them unique. As women, we need to have clarity about our life goals and learn not to be easily swayed. A good starting point would be to identify our non-negotiables — things we’d never compromise on, like our values. When you have clarity about what you want, it’s easy to stay focused. This tip can be applied across all facets of your life — career, money, relationships, etc.
Growing up, did any adult play an important role in your money education?
While my parents never explicitly taught me financial skills, they taught me life skills that I still use till today. For example, if we wanted anything — for example, an upgrade to our telco plan — we had to do the research, draw up a comparison table and put forth a recommendation. Laborious as it sounds (the internet back then was dial-up access via a 56K modem and I did my research mostly by comparing telco brochures), I learnt how to identify value and maximise my dollar.
Art Direction by Catherine Wong Photography by Darren Gabriel Leow; Grooming by Angel Gwee using Charlotte Tilbury for makeup and Davines for hair