Boston Financial’s annual Client Forum, a learning and networking event exclusively for our clients, opened Thursday, September 15 at the Omni Nashville Hotel in the heart of the Music City.The 120 people in attendance started their full day of information sharing and insight gathering with a presentation by UNLV’s Nancy Rapoport speaking on “Why Ethics and Culture Matter in Today’s Regulatory Environment.” With the title of her discussion as a backdrop, Rapoport led with the question “What would you change about your work if you could change something?”
This question has been percolating for her as a result of her work as a fee examiner, where, over and over again, she has observed the negative consequences of good people doing bad things. This, Rapoport suggested, is largely the result of (a) performance incentives that operate in opposition to an organization’s stated culture, and (b) human cognitive errors. Using the 2001 collapse of Enron as an example, Rapoport went on to say that when an asset management firm, or any business, experiences an ethical lapse, the first step is to examine the culture and incentives that created the questionable ethical behaviors. Like a good professor, Rapoport wrapped up her presentation by offering participants additional resources for analyzing where behavior and culture are out of alignment in your business, and developing strategies for nudging better behavior at work.
Next up were DST’s President of Fund, Advisor, and Investor Solutions, Scott Chelton and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Maria Mann, who offered participants a look inside the mind of a CIO by exploring questions like:
- Why Mann left her position as Chief Technology Officer at JP Morgan to join DST (she’s excited about the opportunity to drive strategic, technological change)
- The most pressing issues facing her in her new role (audit and compliance, building structures to improve alignment between business unit goals and the technology roadmap, escalating demands of vendor oversight, and the twin challenges of cybersecurity and data management)
Chelton and Mann were followed by political strategist Greg Valliere in which he examined the potential impact of the 2016 race for the White House on the financial services industry. His non-partisan presentation explored the strengths and faults of each of the major candidates for the role of President of the United States in relation to Fed policy, tax reform, global trade, and the markets. He also invited participants to consider the important national issues that haven’t yet been discussed in election 2016.
Valliere suggested the next resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will become clear after the first presidential debate scheduled for Monday, September 26. And if you can’t wait until then, he offered his favorite website for keeping his finger on the pulse of the race, realclearpolitics.com.
The afternoon turned to more practical issues, with discussions on digital innovation and a panel presentation on the DOL Fiduciary Rule.
Phil Goffin of International Financial Data Services (IFDS) kicked off the afternoon with a thoughtful presentation about the relationship between technological advancement and the financial services industry.
Goffin opened his presentation with a quote from Anne Richards, Chief Executive Officer of M&G Investments, “A successful company 10 years from now will be the one who has been the quickest to radically change the operational base it runs under.” But what will this look like?
Jose Reyes, Executive Creative Director of PwC’s Experience Center, suggested that one strategy for long term success is great design, which is about more than the colors and layout of your website. We learned that design-driven companies outperform Standard & Poors 500 Index by 228% over the last 10 years. Reyes told the story of Starbucks, whose 12 million mobile customers have deposited $1.2 billion in their mobile wallets; the result is tremendous profits for the coffee company, as well as a 12 million person focus group to help them understand what products and services to offer in the future.
Our technology presentations wrapped up with a rapid fire presentation by Paul Ives and Nicholas Doyle of DST, talking about the innovative capabilities being developed by the technology company that drives our back office solutions.
General Counsel for DST Brokerage and DST Market Solutions, Kevin Armstrong, had the unenviable position of closing the day with a panel discussion on the DOL Fiduciary Rule. While not intended as legal advice, the assembled group of regulatory and legal experts focused on strategies and considerations to help position your firm for compliance by 2017.
We ended the day coming out of the DOLdrums, fully energized, and ready for a little rest and relaxation. Day 2 of the Client Forum will explore the operational side of back office solutions – talent development, managing compliance challenges, and staying ahead of the oversight curve. Follow us on Twitter, @BFClients, to watch the morning unfold in real time.