Legal firms: time to rethink agreements, data and onboarding
Peter Newton, Managing Director, Paul Chymiy, Co-Head of US operations and Darren Fortunato, Senior Consultant, at D2 Legal Technology call on firms to reconsider legal agreement, client data management and buildout existing client onboarding processes.
As the dust settles on the US QFC Stay Rules, how confident are GSIBs (whose ranks are determined by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) methodology framework) that all necessary contracts have been captured? Having spent many months trawling through multiple, inconsistent data sources in a bid to identify in-scope QFCs, the lack of robust, accurate and consistent client trading data has become painfully apparent.
The initial tranche of ‘GSIB to GSIB’ QFCs were relatively straightforward to identify, as were the GSIB to financial institution agreements. However, with every line of business recording client trading contracts separately, cataloguing this final round of QFCs, between GSIBs and the remaining trading partners, has presented significant challenges.
From identifying relevant customers to prioritising the key trading partners and interpreting the definition of in-scope QFCs, before even embarking upon the contract remediation process, the lack of consistent information between GSIBs and the remaining trading partners has underlined the extent of the risk.
Despite the doom-mongers, all hell did not break loose on 1st January 2020: Organisations achieved compliance with their most important customers, at least, and are therefore still able to trade. But edginess remains. Have all trading counterparties been identified? Have some been merged, been acquired, even dissolved? If so, what about all the affiliates of every counterparty? Miss one affiliate, fail to identify and remediate any in-scope QFC, and any trade with that group will result in a reportable violation of the US Stay Rules. Are we about to see fines and other regulatory sanctions rack up in this regard?
Without information one can trust and rely on, without a database covering not only all US GSIBs and their worldwide subsidiaries but also the US branches, agencies and subsidiaries of non-US GSIBs “covered entities”, across the entire business, can any firm be sufficiently confident that every trading partner has been identified? Some of these organisations are very infrequent trading partners; records may be five, ten, even 20 years old. Names have changed, contacts have moved, mergers – even multiple mergers – have occurred. With stale data it is incredibly difficult to identify in scope entities and, should a company’s status have changed – through merger or dissolution, for example - it is then time consuming to obtain the required evidence and documentation from the relevant authorities and bodies across various jurisdictions.
With haphazard recording of trading data across departments, firms are at risk of falling foul of the law of unintended consequences. 97.5% of agreements may have been repapered but, get it wrong, miss a partner, or affiliate, overlook an in-scope QFC and the results could be fatal – a problem with one legacy trading partner could contaminate other parts of the portfolio.
Client Relationship Management
There is no doubt that since the introduction of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements, firms have become far more robust about client onboarding data and processes. But what happens next? Where is the single source of information regarding the ongoing client relationship?
Having taken over a decade from the regulatory imperative to end “too big to fail” to address global stay resolution requirements, it is absolutely essential that banks build on this data resource and create a foundation for future. By focusing on extending the client onboarding experience an enhanced end to end Client Relationship Management lifecycle can be achieved, enabling firms to capture every trading agreement, every affiliate and subsidiary, every business change and every new contact and provide that data in a consistent form to each relevant department and team.
With a consistent, end to end customer relationship management model, firms can achieve a single, central source of trusted, accurate and up to date client data that should underpin not just compliance to global regulations aimed at ending “too big to fail” but also optimise day to day operations and enhance the client onboarding experience.
For more information on business topics in the United States, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief USA.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.