Head of Passive Asset Management in the Americas, Deutsche Asset Management, Deutsche Bank

Fiona Bassett moved to New York with a mandate of making Deutsche Bank one of the top exchange-traded fund issuers in the United States.

Since her arrival in 2014, she's done just that. In her first year, Deutsche moved from 25th place to 15th, with $4.4 billion of assets under management. Last year, it introduced more than 20 new products and its assets grew to about $20 billion.

Though Deutsche is in the top five for exchange-traded products globally, it was a nascent player in the U.S. market when Bassett arrived. As of mid-2016, it ranked at No. 11, and she now aims to crack the top five.

Part of her challenge is that the U.S. ETF industry is dominated by two players: iShares and Vanguard, which control 80% of the market. They are so entrenched that the failure rate for new entrants is similar to the restaurant industry, Bassett said.

But Bassett, who is British, said she thinks her outsider perspective is helping set Deutsche apart stateside. "It gives us different insights into European and international issues," she said. "For example, we were the first U.S. provider to come out with products giving investors access to China and Asia, and also to offer currency-hedged products that give access to foreign markets with better risk-adjusted returns."

Since Deutsche needs to be scrappy in a competitive market, Bassett said she tries to hire people with a startup mentality. It is a team that likes to take on challenges not only at work, but for fun. This summer Bassett and eight co-workers completed a paddleboard relay race around Manhattan for charity. They finished the race in just over five and a half hours.

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