Five Minutes with Tink Payments Manager Tom Pope

Tom Pope is responsible for payments at Tink One of the leading open banking platforms in Europe, which enables banks, fintechs and startups to develop data-driven financial services.

Describe your background in fintech. How did you get there?

I was working as a management consultant and came across payments a bit by accident. I was drawn – and still am drawn – to the combination of extreme complexity (you’re still learning), the fact that many solutions are less than perfect (so there are great opportunities to bring significant improvements) and the sheer size of the market if you’re right.

Who was your childhood hero and why?

I grew up by the sea, so I was captivated by Ellen MacArthur’s world-record circumnavigation. Months spent alone, running 24/7, in all weathers, with little hope of survival if something goes wrong – that takes courage. It inspired me not to do anything so dangerous myself.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

You are only as good as the team around you. When it comes to leadership, it’s really important to consider the opinions and ideas of those you work closely with. This fosters a collaborative environment, which is essential when doing things no one has ever done before.

What’s the last book you read – and how long ago did you read it?

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

Name a technology you couldn’t live without and tell us why

My AirPods! I spend a lot of my day on the phone, so my AirPods allow me to turn “down time” — commuting, walking somewhere, hanging out laundry — into something productive.

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

It may be a cliché, but I’m a bit of a disciple of Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel. I think he really understood how an organization should work. I’m also extremely lucky to have worked with some very impressive leaders, and I actually grew up with one of them – my dad. 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 is the biggest challenge/benefit you have encountered in the fintech industry so far?

The open finance movement creates powerful opportunities for change. Great tech has come before, but this one is awesome, novel technology coupled with powerful regulation. We’re on the side of consumers and regulators, and that’s a happy place.

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

Maybe not proudly, but I exercised less, ate and drank more, and generally enjoyed not being locked in!

Describe yourself in three words

Energetic, quick, motivated.

What inspires you in Fintech today?

Solve the payment puzzle. Bringing together the different elements of open finance allows us to reduce costs, improve user experience and nearly eliminate fraud. It’s kind of a holy grail for payouts, and being able to lead a fantastic team at Tink to solve it is a fun and challenging challenge.