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SIFMA Ops 2016: Operational Leadership - Key Insights for 2016 and Beyond-Large

Executives from The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) joined leaders in financial services operations and technology to deliver insights and strategies to help firms meet today's challenges and prepare for regulatory and industry developments at SIFMA Ops 2016 in Miami Beach, Fla.

Murray Pozmanter, DTCC Head of Clearing Agency Services and Global Operations and Client Services, participated on the panel, “Operational Leadership: Key Insights for 2016 and Beyond,” which covered the critical operational issues impacting the industry. Panelists discussed how firms are challenged with implementing new regulations, operational risk management and increased operating efficiencies. Topics also included how the workforce and required skillset has evolved to meet those challenges.

Christopher Vickery, Managing Director and Chief Operations Officer, Americas, and Global Head of Enterprise Data Management, Nomura Securities moderated the panel and was joined by Norman Eaker, Chief Administrative Officer, Edward D. Jones; Joe Guardino, Managing Director & Global Head of Operations, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and Michael Herskovitz, Senior Vice President and Partner, AB.

Pozmanter spoke with DTCC Connection about the key takeaways from the session.

DC: How has the role of operations changed in recent years?

Pozmanter: We were all very much in agreement: the operations role has changed dramatically in recent years. The average operations professional has to know the intricacies of the day-to-day job, but at the same time, also balance elements of risk management, business re-engineering and compliance. The operations role is not a self-contained silo, but now has connections across so many other areas, with critical checkpoints and dependencies.

Much of what we used to think of as ‘operations’ – the physical work, the manual processing – has been automated and outsourced, and in its place, we now require operations professionals to wear many hats and be more like a business liaison. These are some of the new skillsets that have evolved and changed, as implementing new regulations has also transformed operations.

DC: How has the operations professional risen to this challenge?

Murray Pozmanter, DTCC Head of Clearing Agency Services and Global Operations and Client Services
Murray Pozmanter, DTCC Head of Clearing Agency Services and Global Operations and Client Services

Pozmanter: We had an especially interesting discussion about working with Millennials, the “Generation Y” cohort currently in their late 20s and early 30s, who are still newly entering the workforce.

The panel felt that in our experience, a key characteristic of Millennials is that they have less trepidation about changing jobs; they are flexible and adaptable, and therefore, there are fewer stigmas about a resume that already shows five different jobs in as many years. This is particularly well-suited for the evolving role in operations. The challenge for us, in operations management, is to retain this strong and rising talent among Millennials, and to make sure that we invest in their learning and training.

DC: What are some of the other changes that are shaping operations?

Pozmanter: The industry continues to cope with cost containment pressures, always doing more with less. However, even while watching the bottom line, we have to be smart and invest back in critical areas – like cyber security – to get everyone up the curve.

We can never sit back and assume that cyber security is purely the job of IT – operations folks also need to do their part to help protect information systems, and to help us, as an industry, stay ahead of the hackers and cyber criminals.

DC: There’s been a lot of talk around blockchain this year, and what it means for fintech. Was this also discussed at the conference?

Pozmanter: There is a lot of debate on the potential of distributed ledger technology – and especially how it might enhance the operations role. The challenge is tempering the hype, to continue to build a solid business case. We forecast that if things continue on the momentum we’re seeing right now, in just a few short years, blockchain could fundamentally change our business.