One of the leading women in the fintech industry, presented at the fintechview first digital magazine, is Alexandra Spyrou, CEO at PS Novus Consulting and previously CFO of the biggest law Firm in Cyprus.

Alexandra, in an exclusive interview, is sharing her insights on the financial sector challenges, personal experiences and the future of the fintech and financial services sector.

How many years has PS NOVUS been in business, its operations and vision 

PS Novus Business Consulting Ltd was the result of a long career journey in the professional services industry and an empirical observation of the market which in my opinion was lacking solutions for businesses that required financial advice and management adjusted to their individual needs (external CFO services). What the market was offering was generic solutions that did not meet the specific needs of businesses and even when such solutions were available, the information provided had to be “deciphered” in a way which would allow for practical application to that specific business. 

As a CFO in the legal industry, I gained vast experience in operational and debt restructuring and spearheaded initiatives with respect to the creation of both single and multi-family office services, while I also led the set-up of single-family offices for families with substantial wealth. With the establishment of the firm, we set a clear vision to create a boutique consultancy firm dealing directly with the business management and financial affairs of our clients and to be considered as a trusted partner, providing innovative, tailor-made solutions aiming at business growth and wealth protection. 

What’s the biggest challenge the financial sector is facing today, in your opinion? 

The financial services industry has been undergoing a fundamental shift for many years now. As more people rely on digital technologies to handle tasks and expect businesses to meet their new digital needs, financial services have been pivoting. Over the last few years, the focus on digital transformation has accelerated. For banking, lending, and account recovery management in particular, the  “new” challenges the industry is facing are in the context of having to adapt to constantly evolving customer demands and be agile in a recently strained economy. As of the first quarter of 2023, when it comes to technology readiness and an inability to capture the full potential of costly investments, digital transformation efforts in financial services remain incremental, localised, siloed, and fragmented, leading to imbalances across the organisations. Additionally, for the first time in decades the labor market has shifted in ways that have allowed employees to gain advantage over employers and strong negotiating power,  since many high-skilled, high-demand roles are open and difficult to fill. This challenge can be tackled with a twofold approach: emphasising ESG initiatives and rethinking the industry’s outdated traditional working setups. This means embracing remote work as well as investing in eLearning and coaching capabilities.

Data breaches also continue to be a major concern in the financial services industry. Financial services are a prime target for cybercrime due to the sensitive nature of their data. Finally, financial services are already one of the most heavily regulated industries. As the industry shifts to new technologies, so do the regulations. Regulators are moving to increased supervision and enforcement. 

What is in your opinion on the future of the financial sector, how it will evolve and how PS Novus is getting ready for it? 

Nobel prize winner Niels Bohr once said: “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it‘s about the future”. That warning feels particularly appropriate in today’s financial services industry, where the pace of change keeps accelerating, and not only as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Volatility and uncertainty are ever more prevalent. International standard setters and regulators such as the Basel Committee and the European Commission are already looking forward and have shifted their focus to new trends, products, and emerging risks, such as ESG related risks and everything related to fintech, suptech, digitization, crypto, artificial intelligence, machine learning etc. But the current challenging times also create opportunities and provide a real imperative for regulators, policy makers, and the financial sector to take a bigger leap into the future and set ambitious goals for the longer term. History has shown that under pressure, human creativity and its capacity to solve difficult issues is often at its very best. 

Again, this is where financial advisory services come into play, as they can assist to reduce /or even eliminate risk and help companies move in the right direction. 

What is an action or decision you’re most proud of? 

The first thing that comes to my mind is to state the obvious: the establishment of my own firm through very challenging times, and deciding to follow a more difficult career path associated with different responsibilities and duties compared to what I was used to. Looking back on my professional development through the years, I would say that I am particularly proud of the fact that I have managed to be a leader that inspires my peers. 

What’s your view on motherhood and career? 

Every woman should know that she can respond to both roles, if she decides to do so. Being a mother does not and should not exclude the possibility of her having a successful career. Even though we are a long way from achieving perfect equality, there are women nowadays who are holding positions at the higher level. During these challenging years we have been through and the demanding professional environment that I worked for I am allowed to to comment that is not about motherhood but parenthood. Work-life balance can be difficult however it’s not impossible. Becoming a parent can help people become more self-aware, more empathetic, and develop new skills and relationships that help them thrive at work and become more successful leaders. My personal opinion is that you should become a role model for your children through your achievements and actions and enrich them with values that matter. 

What advice would you give to young women who wish to enter the fintech world? 

Believe in yourself, make sure that your voice is heard, be authentic, work with integrity, and create your own opportunities are some of the key  attributes I would advise young women aspiring to work in fintech to develop Learn from others who have gone before you, find those mentors you can trust fully, both men and women, and set time aside to support, guide and build up others earlier in their career. Passion and kindness is inspiring and infectious. The financial services and fintech sectors have a perception of being very complicated and difficult to thrive in without prior experience. However, every industry has its own challenges and complications, don’t be afraid to get stuck into complex topics, pull them apart and understand them. Remember that if you don’t ask, the answer is no. 

Check out fintechview digital magazine, to read the full interview.

Who is who

Alexandra is the CEO of PS Novus Business Consulting Ltd, a company giving bespoke consulting services. She has extensive experience in the finance and banking sector through her 9 year working experience as CFO of the biggest law Firm in Cyprus as well as a key member of the restructuring and insolvency team of the firm. Her experience extends in the development of the Single and Multi Family Office, and through her 15 years of working experience, both in a Big Four firm and in the legal industry, she has gained experience in tax and financial reporting, particularly in companies operating in the construction industry, investment firms and other regulated entities, involved in IPOs in London. She is member of STEP, ICAEW and ICPAC and holds an Advanced Diploma in International Taxation from Chartered Institute of Taxation.

Furthermore, she is a Member of the Board of Directors in Ancoria Bank Limited and Chairwoman of Audit committee and holds the position of an Independent Non-Executive Director in the Board of Directors of ‘GMM Global Money Managers AIFM Ltd. She is a Board member in Cyprus -South East Asia Business Association of CCCI and in Women association of  WICCI Cyprus.

She holds a Bachelor degree in Applied Mathematics and Physical Science from National Technical University of Athens as well as a Master’s degree in Construction and Analysis of Supersaturated Designs. She has been qualified as a Chartered Accountant and awarded the FCA accreditation. She is also qualified as a Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP), as she was awarded in February 2019 the Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Private Wealth Advising. Alexandra is also qualified as ADIT (Advanced Diploma in International Taxation) accredited by the Chartered Institute of Taxation.

Alexandra was as been named as one of the 50 most influential businesswomen in Cyprus, by Mondaq and in 2022 she was given the outstanding leadership award for her contribution in the field of Finance and insurance by Money Conference.

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