Five Minutes With Tink's Head of Payments, Tom Pope

Head of Payments and Platforms at Tink, Tom Pope tells us his favourite reads, his most valued gadgets, and what inspires him in Fintech today

Tom Pope is Head of Payments at Tink One of Europe's leading open banking platforms, which enables banks, fintechs, and startups to develop data-driven financial services. 

Describe your journey into fintech. How did you get here?

I was working as a management consultant and came across payments a bit by accident. I was attracted – and still am attracted – by the combination of extreme complexity (you are always learning), the fact that many solutions are nowhere near perfect (so there are great opportunities to make significant improvements), and the sheer size of the market if you get it right.

Who was your childhood hero and why?

I grew up by the sea so was pretty captivated by Ellen MacArthur’s record-breaking circumnavigation of the globe. Months spent alone, 24/7 racing in all sorts of weather, with little hope of survival if it goes wrong – that takes some grit. It inspired me to absolutely not do anything quite so dangerous myself.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

You’re only as good as the team around you. When it comes to leadership, it’s really important to take on the opinions and ideas of those you work closely with. It fosters an environment of collaboration, which is essential when you’re doing things no one has ever done before.

What was the last book you read - and how long ago did you read it?

I normally have a few on the go at once. However, the most recent, which I finished a couple of weeks ago, was Adam Zamoyski’s Napoleon biography – fantastically written and utterly gripping.

Name one piece of technology you couldn’t live without and tell us why 

My AirPods! I spend a large proportion of my day on the phone, so my AirPods allow me to turn ‘dead time’ – commuting, walking somewhere, hanging out the washing – into something productive.

Who do you look up to in terms of leadership and mentorship?

It may be a cliché, but I am a bit of a disciple of Andy Grove, the ex-CEO of Intel. I think he truly understood how an organisation should function. I am also extremely fortunate to have worked with some very impressive leaders, and I actually grew up with one – my father. One of the most important lessons I learned from him is to be open, fair, and human in order to foster trust. This lesson has never been more important than in today’s talent market: people don’t have to work with you – you have to earn the right for them to do so.

What’s the biggest challenge/advantage you’ve encountered to date in the fintech industry? 

The open finance movement is creating powerful opportunities for change. Great technology has come along before, but this is great, novel technology coupled with powerful regulation. We are on the side of both consumers and regulators, and that’s a happy place to be.

Is there a personal achievement from the past 12 months of which you are particularly proud?

Perhaps not proudly, but I have exercised less, eaten and drank more, and generally quite enjoyed not being cooped up in lockdown!

Describe yourself in three words

Energetic, fast, driven.

What inspires you in Fintech today? 

Solving the payments puzzle. Bringing together the different elements of open finance allows us to lower costs, improve the user experience and almost eliminate fraud. That is something of a holy grail for payments, and being able to lead a fantastic team at Tink to solve it is a fun and stimulating challenge.


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