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Meet the world's first blind trader; a man with no sight, but a lot of vision

Think Change India
29th Jan 2016
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Ashish Goyal was born and brought up in Mumbai. He was born with perfect vision, but suffered from retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that causes vision impairment. The bright student turned completely blind by the time he was 22.

Image: DNA
Image: DNA

But Ashish was not one to give up. He dealt with his troubles by focusing on academics. After finishing his graduation, he worked at the ING Vysya Bank as a fixed income trader in Bangalore for three years before enrolling at Wharton Business School, Philadelphia in 2006. He later worked for JP Morgan, London, as chief investment officer.

Watching the 35-year-old work on a computer does not reveal his blindness any more. It only becomes apparent when he checks his e-mail or reports using a screen-reading software, that reads so fast that an untrained ear will find it hard to comprehend.

Ashish is highly skilled and smart. “One challenge is that I don’t become a benchmark for other people. I’ve done all these things but yes, it’s been a struggle. Not everyone is as fortunate to have the support of friends and family and it wouldn’t be fair. I’m mediocre at many things,” Ashish told NYT’s Dealbook in an interview.

After having accrued a decade of experience in international financial markets, Ashish currently works as a portfolio manager with BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd., a leading macro hedge fund. He takes great pride in being the first visually-challenged trader on Wall Street. Ashish told the DNA, “Today, people can challenge my disability, but not my intellect.”

Ashish was a recipient of India’s National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in the year 2010. He was also one of the Young Global Leaders in World Economic Forum last year. A champion for the cause of the disabled, Ashish has raised over $50,000 in the past three years to aid disability research and education of underprivileged Indian children. He is happily married to a girl “who saw him as just a regular guy with his own set of challenges.”

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