The Board

Kaushalya Somasundaram

Head of Fintech Partnerships & Strategy, HSBC

Kaushalya Somasundaram portrait photo

Kaushalya is currently the Head of Fintech Partnerships & Strategy for the Corporate & Institutional Digital group in HSBC. In this role, she leads the partnership and corporate venturing for HSBC’s core businesses including Global Liquidity and Cash Management, Global Trade and Receivables Finance, Custody & Security Services, and Global Markets.

In her current capacity, Kaushalya has led HSBC’s efforts in the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) space including the investment in and partnership with R3. Kaushalya has also led HSBC’s partnerships with companies including Tradeshift and Kyriba among others and HSBC’s participation in major industry initiatives such as the Utility Settlement Coin (USC).

Prior to her current role, Kaushalya served as a director in the HSBC Strategic Innovation Investments team and has led investments into Symphony, Tradeshift, R3, Neptune, and KY3P. She has also held senior roles in HSBC across Corporate Development, Strategy and Planning, and Group Audit. In her role within Corporate Development, she has led HSBC’s investment into Markit and subsequent IPO as well as investments into consortiums such as Acadiasoft, OTCDeriv, LCH/LSE and LiquidityMatch.

Kaushalya sits on the board of several portfolio companies including Tradeshift, LiquidityMatch and R3 and invited to participate on committees and boards including World Trade Board, BAFT Innovation Council, Tech City – Fintech Delivery Panel, Fintech Circle Institute and White Chapel Thinktank.
Kaushalya hails from Botswana and holds degrees from Australia prior to moving to the UK in 2006.

Outside of work, Kaushalya is passionate about efforts to combat poverty globally and dedicates her time to initiatives to provide for children in need. She is also a mother of two daughters and strives to bring them up in a socially humble and conscious way.

In 2016, Kaushalya was recognized in the Brummell’s list of the most inspirational women innovators in London. More recently, Kaushalya has been quoted in Finextra, CoinDesk, Reuters, Financial News, Global Trade Review, Bank Innovation and Scottish Accounting Institute.

Career highlight

I have felt a great sense of accomplishment in being promoted as ‘Managing Director’ cadre of the bank. With an unconventional path in becoming an MD, I skipped getting a Bachelor's degree in favour of jumping straight into the workforce. This vindicated my long-held belief that whilst educational qualifications are a great to have, nothing speaks louder than one's deeds and achievements.

Unusual hobby / interest

Growing up in Botswana, I was very close to nature. This instilled in me a love for nature particularly wildlife. Additionally, I’ve developed a strong interest in pottery which I collect and also create. When I retire, my dream is to run a wildlife camp in beautiful Okavango Delta, Botswana and create colourful pottery in my spare time!

A ground-breaking career moment

While it is hard to narrow this down, I fondly cherish the first deal I led for HSBC. It was challenging, included a large consortium of banks and I had to overcome many external and internal barriers to achieve it. The deal taught me the importance of having conviction, due diligence, and demonstrating courage. It left me hungry to undertake further deals and is an area I have since pursued both personally and professionally; achieving great results in the process.