An interview with Joe Duffy, BNY Mellon
Country Executive for BNY Mellon in Ireland and Chair of FSI Executive Board
Joe Duffy is Head of Global Client Management, EMEA and Country Executive for BNY Mellon in Ireland. Joe Duffy, BNY Mellon’s chief strategist, leader and senior representative in Ireland is responsible for oversight of the company’s relationships with legislators, regulators, clients and other key stakeholders.
In February 2017, Joe succeeded Susan Dargan as Chair of Financial Services Ireland (FSI), an Ibec cross-sector FS industry association which represents banks, insurance companies, fund administrators and managers, and investment companies.
Let me begin by asking about your role with BNY Mellon and your responsibilities as Chair of Financial Services Ireland.
I moved to Bank of New York from JP Morgan in October 2006. Then in July 2007, Bank of New York and Mellon Corporation merged to form BNY Mellon. My role has changed lots of times since then, which is great and part of what’s kept me working with the company. Currently, I run a team of senior client relationship managers across EMEA. My team ensures that our clients’ growth strategies align with BNY Mellon’s strategies. My team members are some of the most senior people in our firm and my role is to be available to them and be in front of our clients wherever they are across EMEA. I am also Country Executive for Ireland at BNY Mellon. We have offices in Cork, Dublin and Wexford, and we’ve been here 25-26 years through different iterations. We are typically known as a custodian and a funds administrator in Ireland as the majority of people who work for us are involved in that part of the business but we do a lot more than funds servicing. As a global bank, we are a bank for banks, asset owners and asset managers, pension funds and central banks. In February 2018, I became chair of Financial Services Ireland where my role is to steer the board and ensure that the priorities of our member firms are represented. One tremendous benefit of FSI membership is that you don’t have to go it alone on any particular challenge or issue - you may have the voice of one but you have the power of many. Also, being part of Ibec, FSI provides a forum where firms can connect with different businesses and trade organisations and look, see and understand what is common to all industries operating in Ireland.
Looking at the lay of the land, what trends are you seeing in FS at the moment?
For an outsider, it is reasonably easy to join a whole group of different businesses together and call them financial services. But when you’re in the industry there are many different component parts: insurance, asset management, wholesale banking, retail banking, investment banking, etc. For trends hitting right now, you have to segment a little to understand what is going on. What we’re seeing in the banking sector in EMEA, for example, is consolidation. It has been difficult for banks in the EU to consolidate when they’ve been focused on their business models, on what is core and non-core, turning non-performing loans into performing loans, selling assets off their balance sheets, understanding what they’re going to prioritise and focus on. But now that activity is largely over and the focus is turning to consolidation. When you look at something like blockchain, everyone now can grasp what this technology can bring and the costs are better understood so people are beginning to focus more on the problems they are trying to solve rather than jumping in and then thinking, “why are we doing this?”Similarly, I recently spent time with one of our clients who showed me what they are doing with Artificial Intelligence. They have made it slick and interactive, so that when you open a bank account, the digital offering to consumers really feels like you are dealing with a human but then they realised that actually to have the human would be cheaper. I’m not saying that organisations, especially organisations in FS, can’t deploy new technologies in a way which sharpens their business model, makes them more resilient and helps them become much more efficient but you have to really think through the outcome you’re trying to achieve, and then think about how you are setting yourself up to achieve it, before you get too caught up with “it’s a new tech and we should deploy it”.
Is it about scalability and that, over time, organisations will get their return on investment back but they have to bear with it in the meantime?
I don’t think you can be really focused on your ROI and setting historic ROI measures on whether you deploy or invest. If that’s the approach then you probably won’t do anything new. Understanding the power of data and how to employ data, the lessons that are in data and how to consolidate data in single, consumable ways, that’s becoming much better understood now across FS globally.