Tyler Gallagher
Sep 17 · 7 min read

Notwithstanding some tension around the global immigration discussion, I think the world has undeniably become more open and much smaller. In an environment where world class talent much more fluidly can come together, it’s inevitable that you have competitive industries like Wall Street reflecting this trend.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rasha Katabi, CEO & Founder of Brim Financial. With over 20 years of experience in structured finance and capital markets, Rasha began her career in 1995 at TD Bank as a corporate financial analyst. Working with the CFO’s office, she pioneered the use of earnings volatility as a base for capital allocations to the bank’s business segments. From 1999–2002, Rasha co-led the firm’s wide global structuring efforts, focusing on cash and synthetic structured finance and securitization across North America and Europe. Rasha joined Merrill Lynch Bank of America in 2002 as Group Head for the Strategic Solutions Group in Fixed Income. There, she built the largest non-bank residential mortgage funding business, established Merrill at the top of securitization league tables, and instituted strategic partnerships for Merrill in the Canadian market. When she transitioned to Managing Director in 2006, her mandate expanded to Debt and Equity. The Debt and Equity Structured Solutions Platform focused on retail and consumer finance, financial services, automotive, real estate and REITs. She also advised Canadian pension funds, global sovereign wealth funds, and large institutional clients. In addition to her business responsibilities, she was a member of the Asset/Liability Committee and the Management Committees for Debt Capital Markets and Equity Capital Markets. Rasha was President and Chair of the Mortgage Backed Securities Issuers Association (MBSIA) for 2 consecutive terms (2010–2013), a Director of the Board of Russell Investments in Canada, and a part of the Russell Investments Audit Committee. In 2015, Rasha founded Canadian fintech company Brim Financial which launched its first product, a non-bank affiliated credit card, in 2018. The card offers perks like no foreign transaction, great travel perks, free global Wi-Fi, an open rewards program with points on repeat purchases & total spend, and point redemption on anything, at any time, thanks to its bespoke infrastructure.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Banking/Finance field?

I’ve always been fascinated with history, political economics and global affairs but had a passion for math physics and puzzles. So when I went into finance, it was a combination of getting to know how the world works and monetary systems on one hand, and on the other hand, very quantitative studies of finance, microeconomics and statistics. It never felt like studying, it was more curiosity and discovery.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far?

That takes me way back to a summer day in Racine, Wisconsin. I was visiting the CNH plant on my birthday and our team was very focused on closing a securitization transaction to fund a large portfolio of their equipment receivables. After four hours of an in-depth company due diligence, we went out on the field to find a red high crop tractor. I went up the tall ladder on the tractor and the operator was there with a bouquet of flowers for me! He showed me all of the ins and outs of operating this heavy equipment. It really was a very fun birthday celebration and a happy memory that makes me smile to this day.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am most excited about how Brim is really changing the fundamentals of the consumer banking industry by completely merging what used to be two separate industries, namely loyalty and banking. The result is going to be a huge win for people using Brim cards. They will be able to experience the strength of unlimited and uncapped rewards as the value driven to them on transactions is going to by far eclipse what we have learned to expect from our credit cards — with 2 points or 3 points on just a couple of categories here and there.

We’re going to be announcing a huge new element to our marketplace and rewards that we can’t wait to share.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We are a team that most of all really enjoys the art of collaboration. Our group doesn’t take no for an answer, and it makes for an incredibly passionate organization which I think is at the heart of the success of Brim.

Another aspect I love about coming into the office is how international our team has come to be — without deliberately planning it. It’s incredible how effectively you can build a state-of-the-art consumer platform when you have global perspectives sitting around the table.

Wall Street and Finance used to be an “all white boys club”. This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?

Notwithstanding some tension around the global immigration discussion, I think the world has undeniably become more open and much smaller. In an environment where world class talent much more fluidly can come together, it’s inevitable that you have competitive industries like Wall Street reflecting this trend.

Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and /or c) society to support this movement going forward?

I fully agree that it takes a village to change this current reality, and it is certainly an uphill battle. On an individual level, I think it falls on women to assertively step up and not shy away from challenges, maybe even being a little confrontational sometimes. It falls on society to stop judging women negatively for the same character attributes that mean are viewed for positively. For example, an assertive woman is aggressive, whereas her male assertive counterpart is looked at as a go-getter. And certainly, all of us need to stop judging mothers that are so committed to working hard to improve the situations of their children and families. Companies can do a lot more towards enforcing parental leaves on both parents so we can level the playing field between men and women when it comes to nurturing our children.

You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive things one should do to become more financially literate, what would you say? Can you please give a story or example for each.

I talk to my son, who is now 17, about this all the time. What applies to companies applies to people. I don’t shy away from talking about finance as it applies to various corporates, real-life situations, different industries and in different markets and structured securities. It may all seem very conceptual, but it gets him very close to the actual consequences, levers, risks, and pitfalls as well as the factors that lead to financial opportunity and success. I feel that the more you are comfortable with these topics and don’t consider them dry or foreign, the more you’re likely to be aware of them and incorporate them into your daily life.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I can’t be grateful enough to all of the people that believed in me along the way. From those who took me under their wing very early on in my career, to more senior colleagues who invited me to the table so I could learn by osmosis and learn by being around such intelligent and accomplished professionals, to large corporate clients who valued my work and trusted my advice even when it ran counter to consensus in the general market. It’s not one person that’s lead to my success. I’ve needed many quarterbacks to throw me the ball along the way, boosting my confidence and helping me score a touchdown in the end.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When there’s a will there’s a way. Don’t be afraid of taking risk. Nothing incredible really gets done inside your comfort zone, so learn to get really comfortable with that knot in your stomach. It goes without saying that you need to be meticulous and detail-oriented. Part of the day-to-day involves calculated risk, taking into account all of the data at your disposal and the perspective you’ve gained along the way to make the right decision. Trust your instinct and go forward, and definitely never accept no for an answer!

Thank you for all of these great insights!

About The Author:

Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, a “Bitcoin IRA” company. Regal Assets is an international alternative assets firm with offices in the United States, Canada, London and Dubai focused on helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the understanding and application of blockchain technology. In addition to his role with Regal Assets, Tyler is a regular contributor to Forbes, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Authority Magazine. Tyler has also been featured in many news publications and has been a guest expert on “The News with Ed Shultz”. Tyler is a proud member of the Forbes Finance Council a private invite only-group of hand-selected industry leaders.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Tyler Gallagher

Written by

CEO and Founder of Regal Assets

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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