Luis Oganes – Catalyst Spotlight

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?

I am in charge of the EM local markets strategy group globally and the Latin America economic research team. I am an economist by training but was hired by J.P. Morgan 17 years ago to work in EM fixed income and currency strategy. I have been focusing on Latin America most of this time, but have recently expanded my responsibilities globally.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?

Emerging markets are a fast-moving world, full of challenges but also of opportunities. Identifying trade ideas and presenting them to clients involve wearing several hats: economist, finance specialist, political analyst and good marketer. This is not always easy to do all this at once.

What is your proudest achievement?

I am very proud and honored to have preserved top industry rankings for the work that I do for many years, and to have developed close client relationships and a strong following of my research across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?

I admire people that excel in their fields, can think outside the box, and/or use their stature and experience to be a force for good. Mario Vargas Llosa in literature, Zaha Hadid in architecture, Anish Kapoor in plastic arts, Angelina Jolie in performing arts, and Tony Blair in politics come to mind.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

As much as I love to travel, in ten years I hope to have a position that doesn’t entail spending 40% of my time on the road!

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?

It is important to love and be passionate about what you do so my main advice to young people is to follow your vocation, not someone else’s. We live in the age of information so my second piece of advice to young people is to read a lot and know what is going on in the world, in their countries and their communities.  Ignorance is what sometimes draws the dividing line between success and failure in any walk of life.

Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else? How has that experience changed you?

I come originally from Peru and got a chance to work with Felipe Ortiz de Zevallos, the president of an economic think-tank called Apoyo, before I came to the US to do my PhD at NYU. He was someone who inspired me to pursue graduate studies and ended up being an informal mentor over the years. I do act as a formal mentor to three women at J.P. Morgan as part of a program to help retain female and hispanic talent, with the aim to promote them to more senior positions in the bank.