September 22, 2022

Hard lessons Dan Chen of Deltec has learned from working through three recessions


In this episode of Recession-Proof, Dan Chen, CFO at Deltec, joins Alex Song to share what he’s learned from his experiences during the dot-com crash, as well as the great financial crisis of ‘08. Dan's career in finance spans 26 years and includes experience at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and MetLife.

Dan was an analyst at both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs during the dot-com crash where he provided M&A and corporate finance advisory for banks and fintech startups. Then during the great financial crisis, Dan was a VP at Morgan Stanley where, amongst other activities, he analyzed principal investment opportunities, including asset pools backed by consumer credit and auto loans.

Dan and Alex discuss:

  • How recessions create uncertainty
  • What finance leaders should consistently hold their focus on
  • The role of technology in business transformation
  • How to lead up to and through a successful IPO

Learn more about Dan and Deltec:

We've condensed some of the major themes from the conversation and summarized them below.

What Dan has learned about uncertainty in the market

“The central element of a crisis or recession is a moment where uncertainty creates a wide dispersion between what people view as the state of the present and the likely states of the future. And they all distill back to a challenge to market-held or core beliefs on how things work.”

On how financial leaders should manage market cycles

“Good times build bad habits and bad times build good character. When things are great, it's hard to think about the practices, the processes, the things that aren't maybe geared the way they should because they get papered over by the fact that everything seems fine. When things go bad, you sometimes go the opposite way. Things get thrown out because you're just so concerned about survival. So I think that, maybe, it's a little bit of stoic philosophy, but the goal is to be somewhere between both extremes at all times.”

Dan’s thoughts on speed vs agility

“When things are great, it's about speed. When things are challenging or you're experiencing something new, it's all about agility. I think uncertainty, downturns force you to be agile. Things like remote work, hybrid work, or return to the office require a lot of agility for managers and staff as well.”

Check out the full transcript here.

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