Asif Godall

Head, Global Markets, EMEA

Europe, Middle East, and Africa

Years in the industry: 22 years

Areas of focus: Investment Banking, Global Markets, FI Trading, FX Trading

Others:  Executive Sponsor, Cultural Diversity Network

What do you do at Mizuho?

I’m head of Global Markets EMEA. This means I am responsible for the FX, Rates, Equity and Credit sales and trading businesses in Europe.

Why did you join Mizuho and has it lived up to expectations?

I joined Mizuho in 2019. Mizuho is one of Japan’s three “mega-banks”. Mizuho has been involved in the capital markets since the late 1800s and the industrial revolution in Japan. In fact, when Japan was building its railways, Mizuho helped finance these in the London debenture market in 1906.

As an Asian bank operating in London, Mizuho has unique ties with Japan and Asian capital. We therefore have a unique opportunity to open up capital across the Eurasia trade corridor. At the same time, Mizuho is a truly global financial services group with trading operations in NY, London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Mizuho has not leveraged its global platform to its maximum potential. As we start to connect the platform together, the power of the brand and its connectivity is increasing and is very exciting. We are only at the beginning of this journey.

What do see as the biggest issue for financial markets today?

It is very clear that globally we need to move to a carbon neutral world. It is the biggest threat and the biggest opportunity we face. We are committed to this as are many of our clients. To do this, we need a deep understanding of the issues and the opportunities. Ultimately, it will require large amounts of capital and partnerships with the government and private sector. I believe Mizuho is well placed to intermediate these new capital flows and we are actively working with our clients across our business lines on this issue.

You are involved in graduate recruitment, what do you think makes Mizuho a good place for graduates?

The entrepreneurial culture backed with the stability of a large financial services organisation is unique. It also drives significantly more opportunity than in most banks to learn the entire front to back process, as well as getting more client exposure from the start, and the opportunity to be involved in driving the development of our technology in a continuously changing market.

You are a diversity champion. What does that mean for you?

“Shoshin” is a word from Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts meaning “beginner’s mind”. A saying in Shoshin is, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

This is the mindset we want at Mizuho. To have an attitude of openness and a lack of preconceptions when solving problems or starting new business lines. To achieve this mindset we need a diverse workforce so that our teams are not thinking in the same way. We therefore actively encourage diversity in all its forms – social, cultural, preference or gender. It makes for better teams and a better society and that is what we are aiming for at Mizuho.

What do you see as the driver of success for the teams working under you?

I watched documentaries recently about successful football coaches, specifically Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alex Ferguson. I was struck by the similarities in running football teams and trading floors – they both involve managing highly talented people but the trick is to make sure they work well as a team, not simply as individuals.

This extends to how they built up long-term success by investing in their youth teams. We are applying similar thinking in our intern and graduate processes.

What do you wish you’d known 20 years ago?

I came from a generation of fixed mindset teaching (ie. you were born to be good at something) as opposed to a growth mindset. I would teach myself the growth mindset, earlier on, which means learning from failure instead of dwelling on it or being afraid of it and believing that anything is possible with persistence and hard work. A colleague refers to this as “mental bouncebackability” and it is my new favourite word.

What do you do outside of work to relax?

I enjoy cooking, reading and snowboarding. I also enjoy cycling with my wife and daughters. And when COVID is over I have promised to take my 6 year-old daughter to the skateboard park and I will see if I have any “physical bouncebackability” in me as it has been 30 years since I last skateboarded!

Trading up with performance coaching

Mizuho International plc appoints Asif Godall as Head of Global Markets, EMEA

Global Markets in EMEA 

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