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Mobilizing the Power of Digital Change

How to influence your firm's tech future.

Financial firms are at an inflection point in their digital journeys as they contemplate choices that will forever change how they operate. Most have squeezed as much as they can from incremental advances and operational efficiency — the new mission is to reinvent through disruptive technologies.

Join in on some of the highlights from our webinar, Mobilizing the Power of Digital Change: How to influence your firm’s tech future, from the expert panelists as they discuss their transformative priorities, best practices, and predictions of the industry.

When will the industry have fully replaced legacy systems?

“All of this change, this rapid pace of change, self- service capabilities to clients, digitization, front to back processes, we have to now embed controls and regulatory oversight processes just to make sure that we're ticking all those regulatory boxes and that we don't get ourselves in trouble, or harm the customers in any way.”

Decisions on foundation technology

“People need to be educated on what we can do with this in the future. And that means both having change agents in your technology department, but more importantly in the business unit so they can help you with a vision on this.”

Regulatory Pressures

“One of the things that's really important to think about is the expectation of our clients is really being set by the digital experiences they have beyond the financial services.”

How do you prioritize the starting point?

“The way that we typically look at it is a little bit of art and a little bit of science. The science part is by looking at the data and really understanding what the drivers of manual work is … the art side is on the client feedback, and really understanding in their own words what the pain point is..”

How do you balance transformation with managing business?

“The connection between the folks that are performing the day-to-day functions that are the experts to that transformation team is critical. You don't want a bunch of creative people going off on one direction when they don't really understand the business...”


Video Transcript

Maureen Lowe

One. I'm Maureen Lowe. I'm the founder and president of FTF, and publisher of our online news service, FTF News. I'm also serving as today's host for our webinar, Mobilizing the Power of Digital Change, how to Influence Your Firm's Tech Future, which has been produced by FTF, and sponsored by Broadridge.

The time is now for firms to accelerate technology modernization to not only keep up with competitors, but to survive. Up until now, the digital transformation journey for most firms has been incremental.

However, with ever- mounting industry mandates such as T + 1, T + 0, other regulatory changes, and pressures to stay innovative in order to attract and keep talented staff, incremental changes are a thing of the past.

The good news is that according to a recent digital transformation survey Broadridge conducted with C- Suite executives and direct reports from 500 financial institutions globally, more than 75% of CEOs and COOs said digital transformation is considered a business as usual part of their innovation and change management programs.

So now the question for firms is not do we need to go down this journey, but rather how do we navigate this new phase driven by more powerful technology?

And over the course of the next hour, we'll talk about just that. We'll delve not only further into the recent Broadridge survey findings, but hear from our expert panel how they've led their own digital journeys within their firms, and how they think the industry will evolve over the next 10 years.

Before we get started, however, I just want to note a few things on your event console, you'll see that there's a Q and A window that's open to the left of your screen.

Please do take advantage of our speakers today, and you can submit questions at any time throughout this discussion. The questions are only seen by us, they're not seen by the other attendees.

We'll do our best to integrate them into the discussion and then have questions at the end as well. You'll also see there is a related content section where we've uploaded some additional resources for you to take a look at before you hop off, including the actual writeup of the newly released Broadridge Digital transformation and NextGen study, where you can read more about the findings that we're sharing today as well as a number of others we just don't have time to get to.

It's filled with an enormous amount of great findings and insights. So do be sure to download it before leaving the discussion today. If you happen to be listening to the on demand or recorded version of this webinar, you are able to still submit questions to us that will be emailed up to us and answered accordingly.

Before we get to the main discussion, I just pushed out a polling question that we're asking everybody to just take a moment and respond to. We will be sharing the results with you before moving on to the main discussion, but if you'll just let us know, the Broadridge study found that 60% of respondents believe that the financial services industry will modernize its technology stack before we land a human on Mars, which is estimated by early 2030.

So let us know when do you think the industry will have fully replaced legacy systems in favor of more cost effective cloud- paced infrastructure that puts microservices and APIs at a core.

Do you think it's before 2030, between 2030 and 2035, between 2035 and 2040, or after 2040?

Or do you not really know? And if that's the case, say, " I have no idea." While you're answering some of these polling questions, I'm also going to introduce our speakers today.

We're starting off with our moderator, Eugene Grygo, who's the chief Content Officer for FTF News. We also have Cindy Schreiner, she's the managing director and head of Operations transformation and key strategic relationships for RBC US Wealth Management.

We have Peter Akwaboah, he's the managing director of Morgan Stanley, the COO of Technology and Global head of Innovation for the firm. We have Scott Belous, he's the executive vice president of the Investor experience for LPL Financial, and we also have Mary Cecola, she is the CTO of Broadridge.

So I'm going to check back on our polling results to see how they are coming along. If you've taken a moment, we have people from all over the world joining us today, so it'll be insightful to see.

It looks like most of our audience so far, 50% of them think that will be between 2030 and 2035. So we'll just take one more second and then we will close this out.

And yes, it looks like between 2030 and 2035 seems to be the top answer from our audience. I'm just going to turn it back to you guys and see what you think. Do you find that surprising or pretty much what you thought?

If anybody wants to comment.

Cindy Schreiner

Maureen, I actually think it's going to happen sooner. I don't think we're going to have a choice.

Mary Cecola

Yeah, I agree it's happening now across the industry and I think that it'll be more embedded way before 2035.

Cindy Schreiner


Scott Belous

Yeah, I would agree as well. And one of the things that's really important to think about is the expectation of our clients is really being set by the digital experiences they have beyond the financial services.

So this change has already happened in a big portion of their lives, and financial services for large part is lagging those experiences. So it's going to be really important over the balance of this decade for all of us to invest so that we catch up and meet those expectations of our clients.

Peter Akwaboah

I would take the opposite, seven to 12 years. I think it's going to be a tough one. I do think that going to be more targeted, and more commercial to the business we're trying to solve, but I think we have a dichotomy between how you continue to grow business at the pace, and how you continue to modernize infrastructure.

I think modernizing for the sake of modernizing is a challenge. So I think it'll be more targeted in my view.

Maureen Lowe

Thanks everyone. That's a great segue into our first question. So Eugene, I'll pass it over to you.

Eugene Grygo

Hello everyone. Good morning everyone. Our first question for the panel is are company's transforming fast enough in terms of technology modernization?

What are some of the tough decisions you need to make to get to your desired end state from an innovation perspective? So first, Scott, could you start off the discussion?

Scott Belous

Absolutely. So like I mentioned a moment ago, I think that we're not moving fast enough and we need to pick up the pace. I think one of the hardest decisions is really a lot of the way that you pick up the pace is by uplifting the core infrastructure that all of our front- end experiences are based upon.

And in a lot of ways that is a long- term investment and it's not readily visible by the client, but it's a necessary first step to get that foundation in place in order to be able to deliver those world- class experiences.

So I think that's a little bit of the challenge of making sure that we are pouring that foundation so that we can build these great experiences, even though the client might not feel that immediately.

And taking that longer term view, all of us have time pressures to deliver of course, and you want to show results to your clients as quickly as possible, but in this case you need to take a little bit more of the long game.

Mary Cecola

Yeah, I'd really agree with that. The legacy infrastructure, so getting to data consolidation and cloud is so important as a step item, and figuring out how to make that business case to the organization so that they realize they're ready.

Budget can be a huge stopper to this. Also internal resistance. People need to be educated on what we can do with this in the future. And that means both having change agents in your technology department, but more importantly in the business unit so they can help you with a vision on this.

So I think there's a lot of things we have to get, tough decisions and tough things we have to do to get to the desired end state.

Cindy Schreiner

Yeah, I was going to say, Mary, I think couple that with the regulatory pressures that we have that continue to mount, and that we have to pay attention to, which a lot of the digital organizations outside of financial services don't have to pay attention to the way we do.

So all of this change, this rapid pace of change, self- service capabilities to clients, digitization, front to back processes, we have to now embed controls and regulatory oversight processes just to make sure that we're ticking all those regulatory boxes and that we don't get ourselves in trouble, or harm the customers in any way.

Peter Akwaboah

Yeah, I think the other thing is that unlike in the past where you can control your own destiny, now we have a lot more dependency with external providers and given the regulatory agenda you talked about, the partnership becomes stronger and the partnership becomes a way where some of the vendors you're working with are not under the same pressures that we have.

So the first question is they can go and get revenues elsewhere, so why should they partner with you? So I think we have to double our efforts in terms of the way we partner with them if we want to go at the pace that we want go as well.

So I think that's.

Cindy Schreiner

I agree.

Eugene Grygo

Okay. I do have a couple of quick follow- up questions. My first one is how are firms getting rid of manual barriers and updating legacy technology? And then related to that, how do you set up priorities?

The panelists have mentioned the different things that are happening and all at once. How do you set a priority for change? But the first follow- up is how are firms getting rid of manual barriers and updating legacy technology?

Cindy Schreiner

Well, I mean I can take it from the business perspective. I think operations historically is where all of those manual processes reside.

So it's really important that we have a fresh set of eyes and folks that are visionaries and strategic- oriented to take a look at what we're doing and build those solutions, those digital solutions for the future.

I think that most, at least in my organization, that's a challenge. You need to find those folks that can push the envelope and challenge the status quo and identify those areas.

And the key is, because we always get caught in this is not to digitize a process that is inefficient. So sometimes we take the existing process and just put more technology around it or automate it in a certain way, but we really need to be forward- thinking and strategic about, like I said, customer experience and self- service capabilities and all of those things when we look at that.

Mary Cecola

I really agree. I mean having people that are visionary from the C- suite down to people in departments that normally would provide requirements or work with you to have this and then a change- enabled technology department.

I think in the absence of being able to build all that, looking out for SaaS products in the industry can propel you forward if you don't think that you have the internal people to do it.

Scott Belous

One thing I'll add on this one is really embracing the mantra of progress over perfection. And there's an opportunity to really chip away at a lot of these manual barriers that exist in the back office.

And so we don't have to solve everything all at once and have that big launch. There are ways to be laser- focused on certain processes that can be digitized and continue to make progress and get rid of them one at a time.

Peter Akwaboah

And on that updating the legacy technology, one of the things we've just implemented is a concept of a technical fitness score.

So similar to whatever, Fitbit or anything like that, we have what we call a technical debt score, and we're trying to measure each up debt by your debt that you have from a legacy infrastructure point of view.

So we call it technical fitness score, and it starts working because depending on where you want to put investment, depend on your scores, we can then help you or we can detract from that as well.

And there's a way of doing that and then obviously share with the board and the senior management as well. And then that starts putting progress around updating our legacy infrastructure.

Eugene Grygo

It looks as if we've got a quick question from our audience. What are your thoughts on the evolving regulation and compliance requirements impacting the ability of financial service companies to innovate and adopt new technology.

Do you see a big hurdle, and what strategies are being employed to reconcile compliance with the need for technology advancement?

Rather long question there, sorry.

Cindy Schreiner

Look, any firm, any organization that's going through a digitization journey or transformation journey is dealing with this today. And I think it's engaging your compliance and risk partners in the beginning so that they get a comfort level with regards to replacing human controls with automated controls, and making sure that we are laser- focused on covering off on all of those oversight models that have to be in place today.

And I think we have to be creative around that. I don't think we're kind of stuck in the same model just because the regulation hasn't changed. I think we can be creative around solutioning how we adhere to those guidelines, and those regulatory mandates.

Mary Cecola

I also think some things that have been pushed forward like a T1 T0 settlement cycle, have pushed forward straight through processing, has really brought more digital innovation.

You need to be more creative to meet some of that. So I think there can be a pro and a con scene with some of the regulatory things that come through, but there's a struggle between the day- to- day and being innovative and sometimes splitting your teams a little to have your innovation group and your more, I think there's an old term out there, bimodal.

You have your day- to- day people and then you also have your innovators. And sometimes building a team that way can really help you achieve both.

Scott Belous

And if I can just layer on something Cindy said a moment ago too, is really being creative in how we address some of these regulations that come down.

And at its core, let's assume positive intent by the regulators. They're trying to protect the consumer in some way. And if we can really go a level deeper beyond what's written in the regulator and what they're trying to accomplish and serve for the consumer themselves, sometimes there's a creative solution there that might not be in the text of the regulation itself, but it's in the intent.

So I think getting to why the regulation exists overall really helps to deliver a solution to the challenges that it presents.

Eugene Grygo

Okay. Very quickly, how do you get to that creativity? Does that involve the business side? And then we have another question from the audience.

Cindy Schreiner

Well, I actually think it has to involve the business side. As much as our technology partners have become more creative over time, I think that the business acumen is critical.

And so having that experience engaging with your financial advisors and your customers is front and center in everything we do. And sometimes our technology partners don't have that insight and don't have those experiences to share.

And also, there's different perspectives, if you will, on solutioning, with regards to delivering the end state, I'm going to use solution again to the business.

There's a certain level of creativity that I'd love technology to have, but at the end of the day, the business owns whatever is delivered, and we need to be happy with it.

So I think that partnership has to evolve. I've been in way too many situations where our technology partners don't have that business acumen or we weren't given the opportunity to share it and we didn't get to the right place.

So I think the partnership is really critical.

Mary Cecola

And you're really reinforcing having both the technology department and the business to think more creatively. I think about post- 2008 and the regulation that came with that, that forced a lot of things to consolidate data in such a way you could meet that regulatory reporting.

You could have taken that as your opportunity to do a major data cleansing and consolidation, which is a huge step to get forward with analytics and the use of AI.

So you can use these as a stepping stone and a driver to fix some of those internal issues.

Cindy Schreiner


Eugene Grygo

And then quickly, we had a question as a follow- up to Scott's commentary, how do you prioritize where to start? Do you start with the low- hanging fruit with the low impact, or the higher impact that is a much more complex effort?

Mary Cecola


Scott Belous

I would think, sorry, go ahead Mary.

Mary Cecola

No, please go ahead.

Scott Belous

I was going to say it's more of an and than an or and trying to find those opportunities. So the way that we typically look at it is a little bit of art and a little bit of science. The science part is by looking at the data and really understanding what the drivers of manual work is, and then seeing if we can ideate a solution to that.

And depending on the complexity of the solution, we'll prioritize it or not. The thing that really plays in on the art side is on the client feedback, and really understanding in their own words what the pain point is and how significant of a pain point it is.

And then that is a big component in terms of how we prioritize is just based on understanding the clients and their needs and what's frustrating them. So it's a lot of different factors that goes into it, but I think finding the things where you can get some quick wins is really important and the things that really impact the clients the most.

Peter Akwaboah

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of big projects. I think to your point, every project has some sort of a long- term view, but it's always an incremental view of how you deliver that, which includes quick wins and so forth.

So it's a combination of all of those. It's not one versus the other.

Eugene Grygo

Okay. Quickly onto the next question. The Bradford study, which just came out yesterday, found that on average firms, firms are planning to increase spending on next generation technologies like artificial intelligence and distributed ledgers known as blockchains.

They're going to spend between 20% and 30% more over the next two years, according to the survey. 71% of the survey respondents also say that artificial intelligence is now significantly changing the way they work.

So panel, oh in particular Mary, how powerful are AI and DLT- based innovations and what kinds of changes are they causing?

Which use cases are generating real value for your firm?

Mary Cecola

Yeah, I think AI and DLT blockchain is extremely powerful. With AI, we're getting better automation, smart decisionmaking, enhanced customer experience.

You're really seeing research and data analytics get pushed forward in a grand way. There's error reduction when you do AI correctly. And it really starts to learn, especially around things like reconciliation technology and increased business efficiency.

I think with blockchain, you can really see that peer- to- peer connections forge better security, transparency, and much more efficient processes.

So I think all of that is being proven out, and is really powerful for organizations. Personally, for us, we've invested heavily in blockchain.

We have a blockchain- based repo application, shareholder disclosure hub that is written with blockchain involved, and a private equity asset management service in blockchain that we've developed in conjunction with one of our partners.

That's a great product and really, really tech- forward. In AI, there's so many examples right now, and you're seeing them in the media so it sounds funny to even try to come up with a business case for it.

But tools we've developed, I mean data control using artificial intelligence, you have smart insights coming out, again in the data analytics space.

We have corporate action tools leveraging AI, trade allocations, LTX platform, I mean I can keep going, anti- money laundering's been an area we've leveraged AI, and we've built a couple complete platforms around artificial intelligence including a wealth management platform and our proxy policies insights with data.

So I kind of feel like AI is the one really delivering at the forefront of this, and blockchain is right on its heels.

Peter Akwaboah

Just to add to that, I think to your point, I like to see AI as almost like becoming table stakes now. It doesn't necessarily change your business model, it complements your business model and leveraging the power of data through AI, it is giving a lot more flexibility for clients, a lot more flexibility and choices around how you make decisions going forward.

And I do think that that's just part and parcel of our business model and how we augment that. The difference between that and DLT is DLT is changing business model.

It's changing the way we think and I think that it's more time required and it's continuing to have more time to require even including how you educate the regulators and their rights.

So different people are at different stages of embracing the DLT compared to AI, which is probably more embraced today. And so there's more work to be done in that space. And I think to your point, some people have used it.

We're working on how we see some of the benefits around that, but I think there's more to come in that space compared to AI which is the here and now and we see more benefits.

Cindy Schreiner

So in our shop, I think right now, a lot of the effort is on the front end technology, and the client experience as Peter just said. I think most of us are focused on that at a lot of levels, but when you look at it from an operational perspective, obviously I need to talk about where I sit, but I think there are things that we are starting to leverage around machine learning with regards to training opportunities when our teams are interacting with the field, behavioral aspects of the field, requests coming in and getting them to the right place.

But we just touched the tip of the iceberg. We're not as far along as the front office folks are.

Eugene Grygo

Okay, I think we have another poll question.

Maureen Lowe

Eugene, I popped another poll question out for everybody to respond. Again, we will share the results with you. We do ask that you interact with our console. It makes our much more engaging conversation.

If you had a magic wand to accelerate transformation at your firm, what is the single thing you would change? Dramatically expand the use of AI and automation enterprise- wide, eliminate legacy systems and shift, sorry, somebody's moving the slides on me, shift entirely to a modern platform?

Gather and integrate all data across the enterprise and make it easily accessible? Double the digital transformation budget? So far nobody has chosen that one, which I'm a little surprised by, and be able to answer customer needs five years from now?

So please do take a moment to weigh in. And while we're waiting for a few more of you to respond, for those that might have been late to join, I just wanted to point out the survey report, some of the stats that we're sharing with you today.

You can download the full study in your content section, so please do so before hopping off today. And also this webinar will be available on demand for a year.

And so if you would like to listen back or have a colleague listen in, we are having, sharing a lot of information with you, so you might want to listen back. So please go ahead and do so.

We will be sending out emails when the recording is ready. It looks like so far the top answer is gather and integrate all data across the enterprise and make it easily accessible.

We're at 51.9% with that, and still zero at double the transformation budget. So it'll be interesting what you guys think about that. With that, I'll push the results to the audience and if you just want to make a quick comment about them, you can do so and we'll move on.

Cindy Schreiner

Well, I think the budget challenges, well, I think we're all investing in it, so maybe that's why, and heavily, and I think maybe that's why that question was not the top question.

But as far as gather and integrate data across the enterprise and make it accessible, look, we've all been on that journey. I mean Peter, I'm sure you guys, everyone has been on that journey, right?

We've had our core platforms and then we've built best in class solutions, that kind of hub and spoke visual, but now we've got all of those disparate data sources and what do we do with that to bring that together to leverage it with AI and blockchain and all of those kinds of things?

So I agree. I think we're still on that journey. I don't know about anyone else, but I think we are.

Scott Belous

Yeah, agree. I think we're all sitting on a gold mine.

Mary Cecola , Scott Belous

Yeah and I think that's even doubling. You first Mary. I think not picking doubling the budget as the one thing you would do makes sense because you're getting budget without a purpose.

Clearly you need a budget to gather the data across the firm. And I really believe in the second one, getting to a cloud platform, getting your infrastructure to a place.

I also think you really have to focus on your network to get to cloud. Getting those two things in place are key to move to the next stage. So I kind of agree on one too. And I think budget without a purpose is what we're seeing isn't a good idea here.

Scott Belous

Yeah, definitely. I think one of the challenges too is converting dollars into outcomes. And so throwing more money at the problem isn't always necessarily the best way to go. It just makes it more expensive and not more efficient and more effective.

But just going back to the data vote here at 50%, I think we're all sitting on a gold mine of data in terms of all of the client information that we have. And being able to use modern techniques to unlock the value in that data, both for our clients and for our companies is such a huge opportunity.

So it makes total sense that that's the top vote getter.

Peter Akwaboah

Yeah, I think it totally makes sense. Although one of the other ones I will pick is if I was being very commercial anticipating client needs in the next five years, because if I can anticipate a client's needs in the next five years, I will tailor my investments relative to that, and to monetize what I need to do going forward.

So it's interesting that aspect of 16%, but all the other ones probably I have control around that. The one I don't have control is being able to anticipate a client's needs in the next five years.

Cindy Schreiner


Eugene Grygo

We have a very quick question about AI that's come in from the audience. What ethical considerations and implications should be, I'll use the word considered again when implementing AI, particularly when it comes to risk management and decisionmaking?

Mary Cecola

I think that's a really good question. Some of the places that we've seen it leveraged right now are not areas where I think you're running into ethical issues, getting better data and analytics information synthesized, improving your reconciliation process.

That tends to be very manual, and yet you can have something learn how to not only do reconciliation better, but what do you do with things that don't reconcile? I think that when it moves up possibly up the stack to also make decisions around portfolio management and trading, we're going to run into a lot more issues with that.

But at this point we are looking at things that more optimize areas that are less controversial.

Cindy Schreiner

And look, I think from a customer perspective, the FCC has already come out and said they're going to take a look at AI. Are customers being given preferential treatment based upon how the AI is structured, et cetera.

I mean, that just came out a couple weeks ago. I'm not sure what they're going to do with regards to that, but no, they're always front and center with these kinds of changes, especially when it comes to the impact on our consumers or our customers.

So more to come on that from my perspective.

Eugene Grygo

Yeah, I agree. Okay. Another quick question from the audience. When a firm undertakes transformation, the person is asking how do you balance transformation with maintaining business as usual, and ongoing support for new products and services and the business you need to grow?

How do you effectively create and manage a balance to more efficient and scalable processes? So basically, how do you juggle it all?

Mary Cecola

So I touched on this earlier, but I have found, and I've implemented this, really kind of splitting my teams between day- to- day business and you will have to spend a bit more, and then investing in another team to do the transformation work.

You will gut your transformation team if they are heads down in the day- to- day and those types of items. I think really going, and I know it's an old term, I think bimodal, and having two teams, attacking each problem differently can drive solutions quicker.

Cindy Schreiner

Mary, I would couple that with, I agree. We're doing the same here at my organization, but I do think, I said it earlier, that the connection between the folks that are performing the day- to- day functions that are the experts to that transformation team is critical.

You don't want a bunch of creative people going off on one direction when they don't really understand the business, and that's a resource drain and it could take you down the wrong path.

So I agree, you need to separate that so the day- to- day gets taken care of and that you can implement that change with the transformation team.

Mary Cecola

No, excellent point. We've actually used agile teams, and we've moved them in different cycles from the day- to- day to the new work, because also people would get upset if they're not on the new items and leave and to bring the legacy knowledge in.

So if you're working in an agile environment and you can make the teams move between, I think it gets the legacy people working on legacy stuff, knowing the new tech, it brings that knowledge to the new tech and you got to invest to make that happen.

But I've been doing that here at Broadridge.

Eugene Grygo

Okay. Our next question actually fits quite well with what was just discussed. Talent shortages are a problem now, the Broadridge study found that 60% of technology leaders and 52% of the business leaders report that falling behind in digital transformation will definitely hurt their ability to attract and retain talent.

So how can the use of cutting- edge technologies help firms attract talented staff to carry on the journey? Maybe Cindy, you could take that one.

Cindy Schreiner

Yeah, so look, I thought a lot about this question. I think we live in a digital world, and financial service is a little bit behind everything else.

And I think that's really due to the regulatory constructs frankly. We've got a lot more we have to pay attention to than Google does or any of the fintechs out there that aren't involved in our industry.

But I do think that that talent, the talent that's coming in with that digital sort of mindset and thinking through solutions with technology versus the way I guess I grew up where you've solved the problem and then you ask technology to fix it.

So now people are coming to the table thinking about technology as they're discussing the problem, and they already have in mind what that solution is.

I think if if we don't go there with digital, we're going to miss that opportunity with those folks that live in that digital world and that can bring those ideas and those different thought processes to the table.

Sorry, I got off the topic a little bit, but I really think that it's going to help us attract talent that'll move the business forward.

Scott Belous

One of the things that we've been looking at is thinking about how a stint in financial technology could really contribute to somebody's career. And the way that folks who are just starting out now, they think of their careers differently than people did 10, 15, 20 years ago.

So their expectation is not that they're going to work for a company for decades. They want to get a three to five year experience and then move on to the next thing. So due to some of the elements that Cindy just mentioned, being successful working in financial technology is challenging.

But if you can have a successful tour of duty in financial technology, it is really a great building block for your career as you move on, as being a digital transformation person in other industries.

So I think as a way to attract talent, it's something for all of us to think about instead of trying to recruit people to say, have a career for your life in financial services, thinking of it more of an opportunity to add another tool to your tool set as you advance your career, even if you decide not to stay in financial services for the long- term.

Cindy Schreiner

And I also think, Scott, you need to take the handcuffs off. When you hire these young folks that have this perspective on the world from a digital view, it's low- hanging fruit to them.

They look at some of the things we do and they're like, why are you doing it that way? And people are so caught up in the status quo and the way things have been done in the past that they don't think about it that way. And so I think it's a great opportunity to bring folks in and just give them a little bit of runway with regards to taking a stab at solutioning rather than, oh, you trained this way and you have to learn that, it's that step process.

Sorry Peter, go ahead.

Peter Akwaboah

No, no, I was going to say to your point, look, there are people who want to join financial industry because they're solving real solutions and real challenges, solutions for our clients, shareholders and so forth.

And we will absolutely train them and give them the skills to be able to get that done. And fundamentally, a lot of the challenges we're trying to solve is what everybody's trying to solve. We are trying to get to cloud, we were trying to use the power of data and so forth.

So all these things are there, but you'll have people who want to join. I think the dynamics is in addition to that, given where we are heading, also the partnership becomes quite key because there are people that will not join.

They will like to go to tech companies and what some of the solutions that we're trying to solve, we have to partner with these tech companies. And if we all did that, there's no competitive advantage when we all trying to go to cloud for example, and trying to get the security features in the right place.

We'd rather partner use the right skills as way they should be and then we'll get there. So it's going to be a combination of both in terms of where the industry's going and I think we just have to accept that.

Cindy Schreiner

Good point.

Eugene Grygo

Also, younger people don't bring the internal politics with them. They will approach a problem and part of the political part of that calculation is not there.

I think that's something that sort of needs to be said. Okay. All right. Quickly, we do have another quick question from the audience.

Can you share the innovation programs your organization is using to upscale the people aspect of it and leadership?

Basically I think the person's asking how are you getting innovation going among I guess incumbent staff and new staff, if you would like to share?

Cindy Schreiner

Well, I mean I can just say that again, I'm going to reiterate the business teams, the operational teams, they get engaged right away in the transformation program. I've encouraged my leadership team to share everything that we're doing.

It's connected to our strategy. Anytime we do a communication, it's a part of the communication. So you have to live and breathe it as an organization, and bring everyone together for that goal, that single thought process.

And I think, I wouldn't say it's formal in the way that there's an innovation program, but I think you need to connect the teams and engage them right away in the change.

Mary Cecola

And Cindy, I couldn't agree with you more. Making sure that the innovation you are doing in your organization is communicated. Talking about the benefits of that.

Training is always important, but sending people off to training is not what people expect anymore. Even if you bring in new people from school, they're used to doing things online, so much online training's out there and encouraging it, but more importantly, talking about where the firm's going, encouraging people to get that training, and then even selecting for people who've got an innovative mindset.

Peter Akwaboah

Yeah, I think to your point that there are probably three or four different things. There's not one versus the other. And I think you mentioned some of those at the core of it, anyone coming in will get the basic training relative to where we're heading.

So that is almost like table stakes. So we train everybody around the new devops, we'll train people around where we're heading on cloud, AI, data and so forth. So that's almost like a given. I'm sure everybody's doing that, but to your point, doesn't address innovation.

So innovation comes when you're solving real problems for customers in the right. So make sure that you're working on the right programs to be able to get that done. And then of course we compliment that with other things like the people who are interested in patents for example.

We have a way of making sure that we can accelerate and help them to get their patents filed and so forth. If people are interested in ideas, we have strategy challenges where we bring them together to be able to get them done so they over and about their day job and they can learn things.

And then on a frequent basis, I'm sure it's same, everybody's inundated with a number of FinTech companies trying to penetrate the organization. So we have a way of trying to bring them together.

And once a year we do what we call tech week. We expose all the FinTech companies and trying to find out what is the 10% solution that we can put in place.

And then we have a tech expo where we invite the whole firm to come once year, clean our board, look at it, and then the talent tech organization can expose their own innovative things that you're doing to all senior people across the organization.

So there's no one versus the other, it's how you bring it top down all the way through to the solutions that we're doing for the business.

Eugene Grygo

Interesting. Okay. Moving along, how will looming industry changes such as the T + 1 and T + 0, shorter settlement push and related and additional regulatory changes, how will all of that impact firms and their digital journeys?

So Cindy, do you want to tackle that one?

Cindy Schreiner

Yeah. So I don't think we have a choice. I think it's just when it was an unfortunate thing that we had the pandemic, but it really forced us to think differently about how we run and process our businesses.

And I think this is going to be another one of those situations where we don't have a choice. We're taking processes that have overnight batch cycles and all kinds of things that have to happen real time and same day in order to settle the trade the following day.

So I think it will impact firms significantly. I think most, and I've said this on numerous occasions, there's other forms that most certainly the capital markets teams or the institutional side of the financial services firms have the heavy lift, because most wealth management firms net settle, which is a little bit of a different model.

So I think our hands are, I think we've got to do it, right Peter? I don't think we have a choice.

Mary Cecola

I really think this can drive innovation if you approach it correctly. I think we touched on this a bit earlier, especially shorter settlement cycles, different regulatory changes, pulling things together.

I mean there is that joke going around that who's my innovation officer, my digital driver, and it was COVID, right? During the COVID time, my firm at that time, because I'm new to Broadridge, finally embraced Teams, which was wonderful and chats and things like that.

But regulatory things give you an opportunity to look at your infrastructure, look what's aged, maybe bring in some outside SaaS products that are already more technically advanced, and then build the things you want to build around that to meet that level of technology.

I think these can really be seen as opportunities.

Eugene Grygo

And then, well the dark side of that is that if you don't meet these opportunities, if you miss shorter settlement and so forth, there could be internal problems and also problems with your clients and your counterparties.

Cindy Schreiner

Oh yeah, we don't have a choice, we have to do it.

Mary Cecola

Well I hate to say but you talk about- Talk about getting, sorry, you talk about getting budget, these things drive you getting the budget to do it and then leveraging it for a more tech- forward strategy.

It's win- win.

Cindy Schreiner


Eugene Grygo

But do you think that the shorter settlement push and some of these big regulatory changes, will they get priority, will they help people set priorities when it comes to budgeting?

Cindy Schreiner

Yeah, I think we all do that, right? I, when new regulations are passed, that goes to the top of the heap.

Based upon the timeline, depending upon when we have to implement the change. But I think Mary's point is really important. I think we all leverage those situations to innovate and evolve our technology solutions and our client experience.

So I totally agree.

Eugene Grygo

Okay, moving right along. It sometimes feels like business leaders and technology leaders within a financial services organization talk across each other, past each other, maybe even in different languages and have completely different priorities.

So how can technology leaders and the business leaders within an organization work more effectively together to make transformation a success?

Peter Akwaboah

Oh boy. Sometimes I feel like when I speak on business they don't understand and when they speak I don't understand, but it is okay. No, no.

On a serious note, I think this is an important one and I think look, there's four things I will offer here. The first one is really around an alignment of strategy.

Because whichever way you go, both tech and business needs to be very commercial and the mindset and the alignment of strategy becomes quite key. That alignment actually works well, you probably set yourself, and I think you mentioned before, you set yourself in an agile way where you have some sort of a product manager who really thinks on an end- to- end basis, you soon have an aligned way of setting priorities, aligned with on speaking and so forth.

I think that's the first one. I think the second one is really around, regardless what we do, the tone from the top is important. So the composition of the board, composition of the management and making sure that there is a diverse group, including technical, sitting at the table, quite key.

Because often education starts from the top and all down. That's important. increasingly, even on analyst score and so forth, there are a lot more questions around tech. So the tone from the top becomes quite key.

The third area I will offer is really around the subject around mobility and the rest. Some of these things sometimes are quite key to be able to move people around to get things done.

And the last area that I think about is that it is okay for business to understand technology. It's not one way or the other way around. And in some cases where the industry is going, I think it's important for business to understand, technology and we have to educate and to understand the language and speak the language as well.

So gone are the days where you would say that everything is speaking in English and the rest. I think these days the technology has to be understood as well. So those are the four things.

Scott Belous

Yeah, I would double down on that, Peter. We really all need to, be bilingual as you said. And those are overly accepted.

Cindy Schreiner

I'm sorry Scott, I talked over you.

Peter Akwaboah

I'm sorry, I missed that.

Scott Belous

That's okay. I was just saying leaders across business and technology need to be bilingual. The ability to just speak one language or the other is dated, right?

And if a business leader doesn't understand the technology that's powering their company, they're not going to be successful. And similarly, a technology leader who doesn't understand the goals and objectives of the business and the products of the business, they're not going to be successful either.

So I think we need to move out of this mindset of different languages across business to technology. And either everybody is speaking the same language or everybody is bilingual and they're comfortable moving back and forth.

Cindy Schreiner

I think that is so correct.

Eugene Grygo

And also it doesn't require a dynamic. Just very quickly, I've seen it happen many times. A very large Wall Street firm, a C- level person from the business side reads an article and name the magazine about the latest and greatest business trend, then order CIT group to move to this whatever, re- engineering, for example, in the early nineties where just re- engineer everything, see you later, and then that's it.

There's no further discussion. Is that dynamic still underway?

Mary Cecola

Absolutely. I mean, a firm I was at, two firms ago, I sat in a room, gave a presentation on strategy and the CFO said, " Well, why aren't we using AI and bots?" And I just kind of sat there and I'm like, oh, someone read the Wall Street Journal this morning.

But it's also an opportunity for us to educate them on what that can mean and where it can be used. So one- off articles do sometimes drive those one- off comments.

I think that's where, as everyone said before, as a leader of technology, understand the business and the possible uses. And then also taking the opportunity to educate the business on what that technology is and how it can and can't help.

Also, whether it's still too new, or if it's something like we're seeing. AI is there. If somebody asked me today about using quantum computing, I would say that's still a bit fringe.

We've got to let it develop a bit more. So being ready to answer those questions, I have to admit earlier in my career I get frustrated by them, and now I just see them as wonderful opportunities to say let's talk.

I think this is also driving, you go into strategy meetings in your company and everyone's presenting and there's IT strategy, there's the business strategy.

And I think we have to undo that. We've got to have a combined strategy that includes both, and not seen as two different things. And that's almost this reaching across an aisle kind of thing, to use a political term and saying, we've got to get to know each other and what we do and how we're really, most companies are becoming technology companies as they move forward.

So we have to know what each other does.

Cindy Schreiner

So I agree with with what you both said.

Eugene Grygo


Cindy Schreiner

I think the thing that stood out for me in all of your comments is communication and the audience, the business and technology folks, I think I agree, we have to speak the same language, but then when you talk about customers and financial advisors, if you tell them the proxy server is down, they're not going to care and they just want it fixed.

So we've got demands from our clients and our financial advisor contingents, and we need to make sure that we're communicating the technology and the business solution and the way that they can digest it.

So I think communication is key. I agree. We have to be bilingual, Scott, no question about it. But I also think that depending upon the audience, we need to pay attention to those things.

Eugene Grygo

A very quick question from our audience on this issue about the C- suite, which are the CEOs and so forth.

The C- suite folks tend to understand the emerging technology less than the junior staff or, well anyways, I don't know about the junior bit, but how do you educate upward?

How do you educate as both as you all have noted sometimes in the C- suite, they don't know what a proxy server is or they don't know, they don't have a clue as to how difficult a particular IT process is.

Process is. Or they don't understand that they're telling them to purchase a new product and they have no idea about the incumbent product or how difficult it's to implement the new product.

So how does that education process start?

Peter Akwaboah

I think this question around imagine tech, it depends on what you define as an emerging tech. Because I will argue that some of the C- suites understand emerging tech is why, because all the consultants are in the ears about where they should go and invest more than actually we can do.

So it depends on how we talk about emerging tech. I think that the question you raise, if I look at it more broadly, part of the education really comes with steam and touching.

So for example, I talked about the father we do at Tech Expo when we do that, we make sure that the seat suites are there and they can touch and engage at that level and understand some of the things coming up because it doesn't matter what you educate in the boardroom, if they're not seeing the funds that we have second boards that we're running, and this is what is causing maybe the industry to move faster.

When we come to our electronic trading, for example, you don't see that, it doesn't matter how much you educate in a room, they're not going to see that. So there's a bit of an education which is really back to the to be able to see some of those.

There's also a point that we spend time with taking them to sometimes San Francisco. So the most powerful thing is when the business stands up and talk about tech, then we talk to them about tech.

So there's a whole se scene and belief around that. And the last part is really, it comes to business strategy and trying to fit it back into the whole strategy part.

Eugene Grygo

Okay, great. For the sake of time I'd like to get to our last question. What have firms already learned from digital transformation projects, and how can they accelerate the pace of change?

Peter Akwaboah

So I'm going to answer this quickly around, the first that I would say is the firms have learned a lot. Guess why? Because during the pandemic, everybody realized that you can actually move quicker then.

To be able to reposition everybody to work from home, and after years of discussion around would it be possible to have 100% of your team working from home and to operate and still make record profits.

We've all learned from that. So a person always says we don't waste that crisis and we use that to be able to energize ourselves. But what is interesting through that, what we've learned is the fact that there are a number of things that drive that digital transformation, which is culture, and culture build over time.

You'll never know when it's working until you're here. You see real shocks in society and then you realize that if you've set up the firm in the right way, relative to strategy and culture, then things like this will help you propel things in the right way.

And then you're able to respond to three times, four times the volume. So that's one. Second thing is the fact that culture comes with long- term strategy, and you have to really have that view in place.

And the last thing I will say in digital transformation going forward, and I said it in the first place, is that now it's going to be about strategic partnerships. It's not just about us doing it, but the way to speed up some of this is really being thoughtful around strategic partnerships that we put in place to drive this more going through.

Mary Cecola

Couldn't agree more Peter.

Peter Akwaboah

Anyone else? Okay. All right. Does anyone else want to chime in? We're kind of coming down to the wire here.

Mary Cecola

Yeah, no, I do. The statement still stands, right? Necessity is the mother intervention. I love that. And that's what happened during COVID. It's an old saying, but it still works.

I think that culture is crucial and I think all the things we've been talking about about better communication, aligning strategies, giving thoughtful responses with C- suite and technology leaders is a huge part of that culture.

I also can't agree more about leveraging with partners, having partners look at things that may be more advanced or pulling in some of those technologies on things that you don't want to build yourself and having a tech- forward SaaS platform.

I am new to Broadridge. I came in three months ago. I always worked in the client site before that, and I had strong SaaS strategies to help me accelerate.

Even though back to something we talked about, I had to do my cloud transformation, I had to do my data transformation, although I could leverage outside to help me, and I also had to do my network upgrade.

You get ready for it, pick the places you want to partner, and that can really help you accelerate the pace of change in your organization.

Eugene Grygo

Okay. Quickly, I want to just give people some quick takeaways. It's been noted that that firms can move much more quickly than they thought on digital transformation.

And in some cases there's going to be some heavy lifting and they don't have a choice in the matter and they have to get things done. There needs to be greater creativity between IT and business groups as AI, ML, DLT are beginning to show real benefits.

Overall, there needs to be a budget for a purpose. Don't forget that the younger generation can figure things out and they start with a digital answer first, most likely.

And that ultimately the business side and the IT side have to combine their strategies so it's one. We covered quite a bit in one hour.

Thank you very much. And I think we have some closing words from Maureen.

Maureen Lowe

Yes, thank you so much everybody. Thank you to Eugene for moderating today. There's a lot going on here behind the scenes. And to Mary, Peter, Scott, and Cindy for participating today, we appreciate that.

And thank you to Broadridge for sponsoring. Without them, these sorts of conversations wouldn't be possible. And just a quick reminder to download the complete survey before you leave today and that you can listen to the recording of this webinar, we'll be sending out emails, and thank all of the attendees for coming on and joining us today.

We know that you have very packed schedules being pulled in lots of different directions, so we appreciate you taking the hour out of your day to spend with us and we hope to see you on another webinar soon.

Thanks everyone.

Eugene Grygo

Thank you, thank you.

Maureen Lowe , Mary Cecola

Bye-bye. Bye.

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