P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Jasmin Sethi: How I'm Shaping Culture

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2005 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Jasmin Sethi is a lawyer-economist, entrepreneur, and thought leader with over a decade of experience in the financial industry. Currently, Jasmin is the CEO of Sethi Clarity Advisers, a regulatory and business consulting firm she founded in 2018. Jasmin advises and angel invests in companies in the asset management and fintech space. Sethi Clarity Advisers partners with Morningstar, where Jasmin is an Associate Director of Policy Research. Additionally, Jasmin writes about the effects of financial policy on retail investors as a Forbes contributor. Jasmin also mentors high school students on financial literacy, college choice, and career development through the iMentor program. She was born in New York City to parents who emigrated from India and became naturalized citizens. Throughout all her work, Jasmin seeks to promote the financial access, literacy, and empowerment of retail investors.

Could you describe what you’re most passionate about in a few sentences?

I want to empower individuals from all different socioeconomic backgrounds to take control of their financial futures. I work towards investor education and empowerment and appropriate investor protection, while still enabling individual choice. 

You were a vice president at BlackRock’s Legal and Compliance group—I’m sure that must have been an extremely demanding job but also a bit of a dream job. What were the best parts of the job? 

I learned a ton and got a sense of all different perspectives—those of big institutions and individual investors; those who wanted more regulation and those who wanted less; the challenges to equal access to information and opportunity in the financial industry. 

Then in 2018, you went out on your own and founded your own firm, Sethi Clarity Advisers, which helps financial firms with regulatory challenges. How did you know it was time to start your own company? 

I realized that I thrive based on day-to-day flexibility to manage my time and priorities. I had the financial resources and client connections to start operating, which mitigated the risk. I had a good sense of what kind of work I liked to do—research and advocacy projects—and what I did not—navigating institutional politics for a promotion. 

What are your hours like now that you run the show?

I do not really track my hours. I have a small team that supports me. Sometimes I am able to delegate more and sometimes I have to micromanage more. I generally have a good work-life balance—better than I ever have. That being said, I monitor emails and am responsive throughout the year, including on vacations, and probably disconnect less than when I was an employee of BlackRock or the SEC. Since I enjoy my work and see the fruits of my labor more directly, I do not mind these intrusions into my personal time. They feel like much more of a choice on my part amongst my priorities on each given day than when I worked in my previous jobs. 

Have you been able to connect with a community of entrepreneurs? Where do you find the greatest sense of community? 

I mentor startup entrepreneurs through various incubator programs and do get some community from that. For consultants like myself, however, community is somewhat lacking. I tend to form professional relationships wherever I get involved—clients, nonprofit boards, etc. 

In the best-case scenarios, how do your work for clients make an impact on society? 

I advocate on behalf of Morningstar for regulations that inform and protect investors. I improve the quality of compliance with regulations through my work with Fidelity on building AI tools for compliance. I educate individuals and institutions throughout my work for several clients.

You’re also involved in advancing financial access for disadvantaged groups—could you share more about how you do that? 

As a blind South Asian woman, I am keenly aware of the inequities in access and information about financial opportunities. I speak often about these challenges and how to overcome them. For instance, I spoke on a panel about crypto investing targeted at informing women about the potential opportunities and risks since the crypto landscape is dominated by men. A lot of groups care about specific social issues, and I write and advocate a lot about ESG investing. I look for start-ups working in this space—those who seek to expand access to financial opportunities—and have provided strategic advice, often on a pro-bono basis. 

You’re working in the upper leadership of a very male dominated field. What is that like for you as a blind, South-Asian woman? 

Honestly, I try not to think about it too much. I speak up and am not shy about giving my views on any topic—be it financial, policy, relevant to diversity, or anything else. I am certainly aware of biases—both conscious and unconscious—and I embrace my identity and journey to explain how I grew up in a family with limited financial means and virtually no financial acumen. That is what motivated my deep interest in understanding the financial system and impacting individuals to have greater control over their financial lives. I have done so through my work both successfully and via failure. I tried launching my own start-up to help gig workers save for retirement. My dream was to help every Uber and Doordash worker create the safety net for themselves that the government and employers were not providing. My cofounder and I developed a beta product but lack of funding opportunities during Covid forced us to fold. I still look for ways to partner with startups and larger financial companies to make this dream happen and I think it all comes from identifying with the lack of opportunity and information that many people face based on my own experience. 

What advice do you have for students who are interested in working in your field?

Do not just look at big companies like the investment banks—try to get more responsibility at a smaller company. So many companies are doing cutting edge projects right now. 

On a fun note, what is your favorite way to unwind and relax?

Tandem biking—always looking for biking partners until I can find a self-driving bike! I love to travel, go on moderate hikes, swim, and take part in guided wine tastings.  ∎

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