“Without financial services, nothing else happens.” So says Broadridge President and CEO Rich Daly. SmartBrief caught up with Daly on the sidelines of the 2015 Milken Institute Global Conference to discuss how financial services firms can turn technology challenges and operational burdens into competitive advantages.

What do you think about the potential of financial utilities?

I have heard this idea for a long time. The elephant in the room is that nobody in the history of the world has ever taken a single-entity platform and successfully converted it to a multi-entity platform. I am not saying it is impossible, but no one has ever done it. It is like taking a studio apartment and saying you want to convert it into a sports arena. I guess you could do it, but you are starting with something that is entirely different to begin with.

The answer is trying to take the infrastructure we already have and using technology to re-engineer it so it is truly less costly for everyone. (read more…)

This post is sponsored by Interactive Data.

Martin Williams is recognized as an expert on the creation, collection and distribution of high-quality reference data for use across the financial instrument processing lifecycle. As vice president of Interactive Data’s Pricing and Reference Data Product Development team, Mr. Williams is responsible for the product strategy and for identifying and developing new business opportunities. Here he talks about how managed data services can help solve issues with data quality.

Question: What are managed data services and how do they differ from traditional data management?

Marty Williams: Managed data services are hosted solutions that provide access to great breadth and depth of data, using standard interfaces. By utilizing managed data services, firms are able to minimize internal IT and data management requirements and receive access to a wealth of data directly to their desktops, enabling a broader range of users to leverage information.

Traditionally, firms would manage the data acquisition, technology and infrastructure independently, but this has proven to be a time consuming and expensive practice. (read more…)

This post is sponsored by Vertafore Sircon® Solutions.

License and appointment standards and automation initiatives have delivered real benefits to carriers and distributors offering annuities. Despite these benefits, adoption of these standards remains limited to top distributors and carriers who use broker dealers as a key distribution channel. In this post, Tim Owen, vice president of product management at Vertafore, discusses representative management trends in the annuity market.

Question: What are some of the existing issues in terms of the authorization to sell annuities?

Tim Owen: For carriers and distributors, license and appointment standards and automation initiatives over the last 10 years have delivered real benefits in terms of streamlining the process of getting reps authorized to sell annuities. These improvements allow companies to streamline their time to revenue from weeks to hours/days and reduce operational costs by eliminating manual data entry and reconciliation, all while improving compliance results by eliminating data entry errors. (read more…)

General consensus in the building industry predicts high-single-digit to low-double-digit growth for nonresidential construction over the next few years, but Kristoffer Inton, a basic materials analyst with Morningstar and Daniel Rohr, a director at the same company, disagree. The authors of “U.S. Nonresidential Construction Outlook: Spending Will Disappoint as Key Sectors Do More With Less” expect only a 2% increase in the annual real growth rate for the nonresidential sector over the next decade, below their estimate of a 2.25% real increase annually in gross domestic product.

However, the analysts do see positive sectors in the construction arena between now and 2024, including:

  • Water supply projects — 5% to 6% growth per year
  • Manufacturing projects — 6% per year growth, with chemical-related construction driving the increase
  • Commercial — about 4.9% annual growth, driven by a growing need for warehouses as more shoppers go online
  • Health care projects – 5% growth per year, primarily driven by an increase in outpatient centers that are less expensive to build than hospitals
  • Road and bridge projects — 5% per year growth, compared with 5.3% compound annual growth rate between 2004 and 2014

Let’s look at the road and bridge project estimates (read more…)

CFOs increasingly help organizations make business decisions outside the finance arena, stepping beyond their traditional role to partner with other executives on strategy and long-term planning.

For many CFOs, the transformation from scorekeeper to strategic partner requires more than a paradigm shift — it requires a major step forward in data-analysis capabilities and cloud-technology adoption. Predictive analytics and flexible modeling with new cloud technologies, combined with the pervasiveness of Big Data, are interesting new challenges for CFOs who have been in the weeds dealing with regulatory compliance since Sarbanes-Oxley arose in the early 2000s.

Strategic thinking is ingrained into most CFOs’ DNA, and it’s time to push that thinking to the forefront while scaling the business, growing revenue and keeping tabs on all the moving pieces. Here are four lessons that have served me well during my career and remain relevant as the role of the CFO continues to evolve:

1. (read more…)