Google Goes All-In on Financial Services: Financial Services Leaders Forum NYC Recap (Part One)

Over the past two years, the conversation regarding cloud adoption in the financial services industry has fundamentally shifted as industry-wide reluctance and skepticism have given way to enrollment and enthusiasm. A perfect example of this sea change was the Financial Services Leaders Forum (FSL Forum) presented by Google Cloud in New York City. With issues ranging from security to the power and promise of cloud transformation, the FSL Forum revealed how far the industry has come as well as exciting glimpses into what the future may hold. 

google cloud financial services

A New Focus for Google Cloud

Google hosting this event is a testament in and of itself to the increasing importance of cloud in financial services. Google has traditionally aligned and organized their business along functional lines such as collaboration or data analytics instead of creating industry specializations. The sheer weight of interest for cloud solutions in financial services made it inevitable that special tools and dedicated resources were needed, just as they are also rising in other industries including healthcare. It’s clear that Google is all-in on financial services.

Begin with Security

Given that data in financial services is both highly regulated and extremely sensitive, it’s no surprise that security was the first focus of the FSL Forum. With a keynote from Google Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Royal Hansen, and a panel that included representatives from SIFMA, CIT, and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the changing security narrative and best practices for addressing key issues took center stage.

The keynote from Royal Hansen coincided with his one year anniversary of joining Google, and he used his own personal transformation journey to exemplify the powerful changes that are affecting financial services. Hansen had a long career on Wall Street, including two stints at Goldman Sachs as well as key roles at Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Investments and American Express. His “then and now” look at transformation varied from the whimsical (NYC water taxis vs. Google bicycles on the Mountain View corporate campus) to the profound (the “don’t pave the cowpath” mantra from his native Boston). In the end, Hansen reinforced the notion that transformation is not just security, it’s ultimately about trust.

The “Regulatory Compliance & Security in the Age of Cloud” further emphasized Hansen’s message. Moderated by Tais O’Dwyer from Google Cloud and featuring Melissa MacGregor from SIFMA, Paul Milkman of CIT and Al Alvarado from the NY Fed, the discussion illuminated how far the environment has evolved. Common threads included the need to have the right people in the room at the outset of projects, governance is the place where things can typically go wrong and holistic thinking is needed to make sure that gaps are filled and silos are minimized. As Milkman said, “cloud doesn’t change the rules, it changes the tools.” Overall, the panel revealed the extent to which the conversation has changed and business is being transformed at fundamental levels.

The Importance of APIs

The balance of the morning was taken over to the discussion of the important and evolving role of APIs and quantum computing. 

In the API panel, David Feuer from Google’s Apigee sat down with Bob Blainey of RBC, UBS’s Apurva Mehta, and Juan Martinez from SWIFT. Mehta described how the increasing use of APIs made banks realize that they had been holding on to a lot of data and were able to create new business models as a result. Blainey discussed how the U.S. and Canada have a golden chance to get ahead of the curve based upon lessons learned in Europe from the introduction of open banking. For his part, Martinez noted that the central theme from the recently completed Sibos conference in London was “thriving in a connected world” and the discussion always focused on “trust” as a fundamental tenet.

Just prior to breaking for lunch, Maven Wave joined other solution providers such as Blue Voyant and Quantiphi in a series of Solutions Lightning Talks. Managing Director of Financial Services Andrew Dunmore examined the practical aspects of Unlocking Competitive Advantage with Data for Financial Services. Building on Clive Humby’s famous quote that “data is the new oil,” Dunmore highlighted real-world examples where Maven Wave’s clients utilized cloud to drive a 100% data migration, gained the ability to ingest 1M messages per second to drive insights, built a 360-degree view of the customer to enhance service and integrated rationalization of document ingestion to enhance institutional servicing. 

To learn more about how data can fuel industry outcomes in financial services, join us for a complimentary webinar, “Unlocking Competitive Advantage in Financial Services Using Data” on Wednesday, October 23 at 12:00 pm ET.

Part two of this blog focuses on the afternoon sessions from the FSL Forum that looked at both Retail Banking and Capital Markets and featured speakers from KeyBank, ATB Financial, CME Group, Mana Partners, Point 72, BNY Mellon, and Bloomberg.

Financial services organizations seeking to accelerate performance rely on Maven Wave for innovation-driven digital transformation. Maven Wave delivers strategy-led, results-driven business solutions powered by cloud computing. To learn more, contact us now.

About the Author

Chuck Mackie
Chuck Mackie is a consultant with Maven Wave focusing on creating cutting-edge content and thought leadership articles in the areas of financial services, healthcare, and technology. He joined Maven Wave in 2010 and prior work experiences include stints at IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), Trading Technologies, and the CME Group. He has a Masters degree in marketing from Kellogg/Northwestern and a BA in Economics and Humanities from Coe College.
October 9th, 2019

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