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Registering with University of London "a life-changing moment"

Accounting and IT specialist Frederick opted against a career change following the global financial crisis in 2008. But a University of London master’s broke him out of his comfort zone and provided the opportunity to change his life.

Written by Keith McDonald |

Frederick Josephidou, MSc Finance (Quantitative), UK
Frederick Josephidou, graduate of the MSc Finance, at the 2018 Graduation Ceremony with his wife, Natasha.

Frederick Josephidou has had quite a career. From Chartered Accountant to Global Head of IT for a major corporation, he has witnessed plenty of ups and downs in the financial services industry.

With a degree in Physics and Computing, London-based Frederick started out at an American bank in the late 80s before becoming a Chartered Accountant. But his instinct for job security in turbulent times never provided the accomplishment he had hoped for.

When the financial crisis brought redundancy in 2008, he initially passed up the opportunity to make a change.

"I didn’t have the courage", he says. "I went back to the very thing that I didn't enjoy or find fulfilling but that I knew that I could do."

Life-changing moment

Then came the question of how to escape the rut. The answer sprang rather out of the blue.

His wife, Natasha, an Open University graduate and current employee of the University of London, brought home details of the online MSc Finance. Immediately, Frederick was struck by the options.

"It calls on a wealth of resource and experience and history", he explains. "Every module was of an incredibly high standard."

With only three days until the application deadline, Frederick applied online, took his documents to Stewart House, and was accepted within 48 hours. He begin the course within a week.

"That’s a life-changing moment", he recalls. "It gave me hope that there is no stage in your life when you can't make a change."

Find out more about the application process.

City scape view
Frederick began the online MSc Finance within a week of submitting his application.

Transforming exchange rate forecasts

The course had its challenges. There were times, he remembers, when he wondered what he had taken on.

"At the beginning, I had no idea what 'stochastic' meant. I was learning another language before I could even read the subject!" he recalls.

But Frederick's decades of industry knowledge created an exciting opportunity to investigate some clear shortcomings in the financial sector.

He began to uncover flaws in models used by financial markets to forecast the direction of the exchange rate market in trading.

"I'm looking for a formula that takes inputs from derivatives and other aspects of the markets and gives you a magnitude and directional change of future exchange rates, so you can actually hedge them or even speculatively trade them", he explains.

"There is a model out there which the markets are using, unaware of its flaws, and that needs to be investigated and researched. That’s why I’m excited to take it on."

He has since registered for a PhD to explore this issue in greater detail.

A breakthrough for human understanding

This could prove a major breakthrough for traders, investors and Forex markets amid concerns that future financial stability is under threat from our reliance on technology.

Veteran journalist Anthony Hilton recently called for 'people who understand tech' following a warning from MIT that the speed of financial markets is outpacing human understanding.

Frederick's story marks a perfect remedy to this information deficit, and one that provides the sense of fulfilment that has eluded him in earlier roles.

"As the years pass by, you feel the opportunity to make a difference and to pursue what you really want slips further and further away and becomes even less likely", he says.

"The University of London gives you a wonderful opportunity to do something at a really high standard and sustain it for a period of time.

"In the end, you’ll look back and laugh as I laugh now at what you can achieve."

Stock image of Westminster Bridge and Big Ben, London
Frederick's work on exchange rate predictions heeds the call for greater understanding of technology in the financial markets.

"Never too late"

Proud wife Natasha agrees.

"Just knowing what Frederick went through to get to where he is today, knowing the sacrifices that he made and the work he put into it, to emerge with his master's degree and to be doing the PhD is just incredible", she says.

Frederick believes anyone frustrated with their career or wanting to make a difference should consider another university course.

"It’s never too late. You're never too old. There's no 'I can't do it'. You absolutely can", he says.

"The University of London is here to help you, and it’s geared up to ensure you succeed."