July 19, 2019

More than just yourself

Chris White ’93 brings non sibi culture to finance
by Nancy Hitchcock

In the hyper-competitive world of finance, Chris White has struck a fulfilling balance. Though he’s passionate about his profession, he is equally driven by the ethos of non sibi, so much so that he founded two companies focused on financial education and equity.

“The culture of finance is opportunism; it certainly isn’t a culture of ‘how do I make the world better,’” White says. “But that is what drives me.”

Getting to the point of living out this philosophy took determination and focus. For 18 years, White worked in the financial industry at companies including Barclays Capital and Goldman Sachs. But despite his enthusiasm for bull markets and aggressive returns, he craved deeper meaning.

In 2015, White took a leap of faith and launched two companies—BondCliQ and ViableMkts—with the intention of making a positive impact on society. ViableMkts is a strategic consulting firm that works with financial institutions to improve innovation through technology. The company offers a unique education program designed to improve the integrity of financial markets by encouraging financial social responsibility, and instructing regulators about market structures so they can devise more equitable approaches on policies.

BondCliQ aims to make the $9 trillion corporate bond market more transparent and efficient by creating an environment that fosters honesty, respect, and integrity. Through BondCliQ, White hopes to improve the environment for investors, which will in turn allow individuals to get a better return on their hard-earned money.

Where did his drive to improve the world originate? “It tracks back to Phillips,” White says. “The culture of the school is that there’s a greater purpose here. You see people who have gone to PA who are doing great things based on social responsibility, which is what I’m trying to do with finance—it’s this big powerful thing, but how can we use it for good?”

White’s interest in helping others goes beyond his New York–based companies. He has made the trek back to Andover in each of the past three years to talk with students about different opportunities in the world of finance. Options such as restructuring consumer debt, refinancing student loans, and providing information and access to capital for new business owners might not be immediately apparent to those entering the field who want to make a difference. In addition, he invites a few Andover alumni to intern at one of his companies each year.

On the first day of the 2018 summer internship program at the ViableMkts/BondCliQ offices in New York City, Chris White (center) welcomes (from left to right) James Kim ’18, Obi Okolie, Nathaniel Redding ’16, and Alex Parker ’18.

“What I’m trying to show students is that if they really want to make an impact and give back, they can do so and also work in the world of finance,” he says.

White, who was recruited to play Division I basketball at Brown University, also plays in the annual Todd A. Isaac ’90 Memorial Basketball Game in NYC. Isaac, a friend and teammate on Andover’s varsity basketball team, died in 9/11.

“It’s a special day, with everyone thinking and remembering one person and what a positive impact he had,” White says. “That is an illustration of how special Andover is.”

White lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three sons, ages 5, 8, and 11. He says he feels fortunate that his choices have led him to a life of meaning. Intentionally, he rekindles his focus each year by re-reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. In the memoir, Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and psychologist, emphasizes that the key to happiness is finding one’s purpose in life.

“The book is a reminder of the most powerful lesson I learned at Andover—there is a greater purpose than just yourself.”

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