The role of the CIO in conducting the digital transformation of financial institutions

by Katharina Konstacky-Degasperi

Building new opportunities while improving the efficiency of his company makes Stéphane Rey, Lombard Odier Investment Managers, a candidate for the title #TopCIO and the Swiss CIO AWARD trophy 2017. Meet Stéphane and 150 high level IT executives at the SWISS CIO SUMMIT on September 26th in Zurich. In our blog, he talks about innovation in the financial industry, the role of FinTechs and the importance of the CIO for the company’s success.

In what way does Digital Transformation affect your company and your industry?

The financial industry has been heavily impacted by the digital transformation, especially retail banks, where technology has enabled new financial services and new business models. As an institutional asset manager, we have been less impacted, but we will definitely be more impacted in the [near] future. Therefore, we closely follow what is happening with new technologies, Fintechs, and new business models. On the one hand, we continue to leverage technology to make our business more efficient. On the other hand, we identify and assess opportunities, and selectively engage in proof of concepts and deploy new solutions (e.g., using alternative data sets). The digital transformation is a challenge but also an opportunity.

What is the impact of IT for the success of the company?

IT has been sitting at the core of our daily business for quite some time already. It’s a business enabler (e.g., providing real-time market data and portfolio views to our portfolio managers); it allows us to be more effective and efficient with straight-through processing (STP), from trading to operations; and it opens new opportunities with big data, artificial intelligence and the cloud just to name a few. Over the last ten years, the financial industry has been going through difficult times, and information technology will continue to play a key role in providing efficiencies and enabling new opportunities.

What is the importance of innovation and creativity in the agenda of a CIO?

This is really high and for that purpose, we have launched inLAB, our Innovation Lab, where we currently focus on big data, the use of alternative data and artificial intelligence. But we do not want to boil the ocean and reinvent the wheel. Therefore, we make sure we get out there a lot, to visit and talk to Fintechs, consultants and other asset managers (no better place than London, where we have an office). And we work with academics and partner with Fintechs where appropriate.

What are the 3 best advices you would give an IT-manager to be successful in the digital age?

  1. Get out there and go see what others are doing, visit startups, consultants and competitors. Look outside of your own industry, see what other industries are doing
  2. The time to develop everything yourself is over. Build an IT model where you can mix your own developments, that bring a competitive advantage, with plug-and-play solutions. In the financial industry we talk about the Bank-as-a-Service
  3. Ensure you have sufficient business drive and sponsorship to drive the digital transformation. Find business champions, start with small steps if necessary (do not engage in a multi-year transformation program, make it small steps).

What does the CIO AWARD mean for you? Why is it important to honour successful IT departments?

When I look back at what we (the LOIM IT team) have achieved over the last 5 years, I am really proud of it. The road as not always been smooth, everything is not perfect, but we got there. We still have a lot to do in front of us, and the CIO AWARD would be a recognition of our achievements, and a motivation for the future.

Want to know who the Swiss #TopCIOs 2017 are? Meet Stéphane Rey and 150 more high level IT executives at the 6th Confare Swiss CIO SUMMIT on September 26th in Zurich at www.ciosummit.ch.

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