Summer C-Level Series: Barry Raskin, SIX Financial
What have been the main themes of your business so far this year?
Data is ubiquitous, and managing it for optimal results isn’t always a core competence for financial institutions. When you add in regulatory reporting and internal compliance pressures along with the “stretched resources” factor, many firms are looking for outside assistance, which has resulted in a large uptick in what we call our “Solutions” business. Our clients are bringing in expert assistance for critical functions such as master data management and regulatory reporting, but they are also increasingly outsourcing data-related IT projects around non-core functions such as streaming data for websites and other displays.
Beyond that, our increasingly connected and mobile workers and consumers are driving new ways of accessing, managing and protecting data, resulting in a constantly shifting IT landscape that ups the ante in terms of required technical expertise. SIX Financial Information is dedicated to providing this expertise around market and reference data, and we’ve delivered solutions ranging from customized displays to workflow and integration projects for financial institutions around the world.
What has surprised you in 2014?
The resilience of the American markets. Years of disaster and scandal have resulted in a greatly changed market environment, in the face of which firms have had to refine and redefine themselves in order to be successful. Despite all the changes, and in contrast to our difficult economy, the financial services sector is thriving – which is a real testament to ingenuity, creativity and problem solving. The success of any economy is dependent on efficient and robust access to capital markets, and our economy has once again risen to the occasion.
What are your expectations for the duration of 2014?
Continued, if not accelerated striving for data quality. The 2008 crisis highlighted the need for complete and correct data, and subsequent regulations have mandated this in a number of intended and unintended ways. One example is the Dodd-Frank requirement for customer/counterparty identification which directly resulted in establishment of the Legal Entity Identifier as the gold standard for entity data management. FATCA also requires firms to really know their customers, or face steep withholding penalties. Solvency II, Basel III and other regulations intended to reduce risk oblige air-tight position valuations for accurate reserve calculations. The list goes on, but the point is that financial institutions are being required to maintain ever deeper and wider stores of data for risk management and regulatory compliance, and mining and delivering the required data is pointless if it isn’t of the highest quality.