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Dr Demetrios Zamboglou: Lessons And Insights From Los Angeles

Dr Demetrios Zamboglou: Lessons And Insights From Los Angeles

With a flourishing career in global financial markets, Dr Demetrios Zamboglou, the first Cypriot ever to become a member of the Milken Institute, travelled all the way from Dubai to Los Angeles to attend Milken’s Global Conference.

 

Tell us a bit about the Milken Event – the Global Conference. Was it up to expectations?

 

All in all, it was a high-calibre event involving world leaders in finance, economy and technology. The event was a success on all fronts, and I'm deeply honoured to have had the opportunity to attend.

 

Going to Los Angeles - the City of Angels - means you've arrived where everything happens. Tech innovation, culture, glamour, fashion, entertainment are all there in abundance, and there's plenty to explore.

 

The conference took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel under heavy security. The organisers ensured that all participants felt safe and secure and that all possible COVID risks were neutralised, including mandatory N95 masks.

 

But it wasn’t just another conference. We had the opportunity to engage in conversations and participate in cultural events, from pop art to hiking at the Runyon Canyon.

 

How did you end up going from Limassol to London, Dubai and Los Angeles?

 

Limassol is the city where I grew up in, and I will always have fond memories of my youth. After completing my compulsory military service, I went on to study Engineering in the UK. However, financial markets, investing and trading have always fascinated me. I decided to switch my focus towards technology and finance, and therefore, went on to obtain a Master’s degree from Cass Business School, and began my financial services career in 2007. My professional work experience has taken me on an exciting journey including various financial niches and multiple countries around the world.

 

In 2020, despite the horrific effects of COVID on society, another door opened for me: I was fortunate enough to meet representatives from the CFI Financial Group and was offered the Group Chief Operating Officer role at CFI. Taking on this challenging role has meant relocating from London to Dubai.

 

Meanwhile, the Milken Institute has been on my radar for a long time. The non-profit, non-partisan think tank supports small groups of ambitious, curious, and motivated young leaders who aspire towards changing the world for the better. Milken’s Young Leaders Circle selects from the world’s best and the brightest professionals aged 25-40, from a diverse set of industries. Close to 300 members are located in Los Angeles, New York, London, Singapore and the MEA regions, all who are actively involved in programs, research and networking events. I joined, following an invitation, the London chapter, and I also attend events in the MEA region.

 

What panel did you enjoy the most?

 

There were many panels at the conference and I had the pleasure to attend some on trading, blockchain, sports promotion and Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, the most impactful panel discussion titled "The Rise of the Retail Equities Trader" was an insightful discussion into the ramifications of greater trading volumes among retail traders.

 

I have always been fascinated by trading, and the idea that one only needs their mobile phone to access the global markets is both liberating and opportunistic. Nowadays, because of advancing technology, anyone can access the markets from their mobile phone. Whether you want to trade equities, commodities, cryptos or anything else, it is now all possible at the touch of a button.

 

Trading commissions are now at their lowest levels in history, while traditional stocks have been made more accessible for retail traders via fractionalisation. In parallel, digitisation has bridged the gap between institutional and retail traders/investors, to the point of ubiquity.

 

Another interesting topic I enjoyed discussing with other attendees is the social aspect of trading and the network effect. The idea that traders can mimic someone else's trades or investments is notable and revolutionary. Without any prior knowledge of finance, traders can emulate other traders by conducting passive trades based on trackable performance over time. Such activity can grow exponentially, and traders can increase their positions based on the network effect.

 

Gauging what is popular, what other traders/investors are considering, and having access to YOLO and FOMO opportunities – in other words, following developing trends and using group dynamics to find investment opportunities – is both interesting and has inspired me to write a doctorate dissertation on the topic.

 

Last but certainly not least, the crypto market is flourishing and fulfilling its early promise of delivering powerful functionality for everyone. The ability to exchange cryptos for financial assets and to convert/trade with Defi (Decentralised Finance) without human interactions is just one of many notable milestones in cryptocurrency development.

 

Did you meet any interesting or famous people?

 

I would like to thank two people in particular who made my trip to LA memorable. Peter Polydor, President of Ergo Holdings and James Christopoulos, Managing Director at CVC Capital Partners – two of the most talented and resourceful Greeks I have ever met.

 

Their attention to detail regarding organisation and planning was impressive, while their business acumen speaks for itself.

 

At a private party, the most famous celebrity I managed to spot - and snag some time with - was the former world champion boxer Wladimir Klitschko.

 

Was Cyprus on the agenda, or we are asking too much?

 

Cyprus and Greece were not discussed specifically, but both were part of a broader agenda relating to company acquisitions, regulations and assisting suitable businesses in need of restructuring. Other sensitive topics such as non-performing loans, supply chain constraints, and the suboptimal healthcare industry all received targeted financial backing this past year and were discussed at length.

 

Both Cyprus and Greece are, of course, investment destinations, but investments primarily rely upon the quality of management and investor confidence in their ability to deliver amiable returns.

 

Would you go back?

 

Visiting any Milken event is both a great privilege and an ideal way to meet current and future business leaders. Of course, I would like to attend again, and I can't wait for next year.

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