Following the appointment of Geoff Harries as the new global head of asset servicing for its Investment Management Solutions (IMS) business earlier this month, DST Global Solutions is hoping that the ex-Fiserv exec will bring his experience to bear on his new OTC derivatives and risk management focused role. Harries speaks to Reference Data Review 20 days into his new role, which involves responsibility for the vendor’s product strategy for its investment accounting platform HiPortfolio and its OTC Lifecycle Manager solution.
Harries was most recently with Fiserv as its vice president of product strategy, a role in which he was tasked with managing the product strategy, product management and marketing functions of the company’s investment services software solutions. At DST Global Solutions, he is in the process of evaluating the vendor’s overall offering in the investment management space in light of the incoming regulatory onslaught and the “meaningful business problems” that this will throw up.
The OTC derivatives market in particular is set for great changes, as the move towards more centralised clearing continues apace. DST is therefore adopting a more “pragmatic approach”, according to Harries, so that firms do not have to wait for all the regulatory jigsaw pieces to slot into place before they take action. “They have problems now that a central repository for derivatives data can help to solve and we are focusing on tackling a meaningful part of the process – trade capture and validation,” he explains.
The vendor is building on its traditional data repository model to enhance its future capabilities, continues Harries, and this is where he will be putting his 15 years of financial services experience into practice. He has been charged with strengthening DST’s product strategy disciplines and leading it to its next stage of evolution in the investment management sector.
In the meantime, Harries is confident that the “green shoots of recovery” are returning to the vendor space, as OTC derivatives projects that were put on the back burner in 2008 come back into play. “After all, if firms are able to centralise their key OTC derivatives data, they are better able to evaluate their risk exposures and respond to them. There is also a rationalisation of data providers going on and firms will be better placed to do this in a centralised environment,” he contends.
The focus of these firms will be on achieving quick ROI and launching projects that have very low project risk in meaningful areas, such as those around corporate actions and OTC derivatives data, he concludes.
Given his long stint at CheckFree, then Fiserv when it bought the vendor in 2007, it will be interesting to see how Harries shapes the IMS business’ product strategy going forward. Certainly, his investment management solution background should stand him in good stead to be able to understand the needs of its end clients.