Collaboration between the financial services industry and government entities has increased in response to rapidly evolving cybersecurity threats, but both sides agree there is room for improvement. Experts at the SmartBrief Cybersecurity Forum in New York City on Tuesday identified increased information sharing and the enactment of legislation already making the rounds on Capitol Hill as two ways to enhance the security of today’s financial markets.

Policy Enhancements

Karl Schimmeck, managing director of financial services operations for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said cybersecurity initiatives undertaken by the Obama Administration earlier this year have spurred greater engagement from a host of government agencies. Schimmeck also cited the NIST Framework unveiled in 2014 as example of the government helping industry devise best practices that can be put to use by all firms – large and small.

Chris Feeney, president of the Financial Services Roundtable’s BITS technology policy division, said government could help by harmonizing state laws within the U.S. (read more…)

“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…)

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…)

A few highlights and memorable quotes from Day Three of the 2015 Milken Institute Global Conference:

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker says offering corporations a one-time tax repatriation holiday is not some kind of silver bullet that would solve the challenge of trying to get U.S. multinationals to bring their profits home. Pritzker said the repatriation holiday is only part of a more complex plan. It will be interesting to see if Pritzker feels the same way once she leaves her current job.

The person quizzing Pritzker about the repatriation holiday was CME Group Executive Chairman and President Terry Duffy; a man who knows more than a few things about financial markets. Yet, Duffy says even he has a hard time understanding why major geopolitical events like ISIS or trouble in the Ukraine no longer moves markets.

Cal-Berkeley professor Susan Graham says there is one big reason it is so hard to even define exactly what information a ‘right to privacy’ entails: “Privacy is contextual.” Graham explained that the information individuals choose to share about themselves varies depending on if they are talking to their neighbors, work colleagues, doctors, etc. (read more…)

With cybersecurity front-and-center in the board rooms and executive suites of virtually every major corporation, it stands to reason that some of the thought leaders at the 2015 Milken Institute Global Conference would have a few things to say on the topic.

Companies are starting to understand the business community has reached a “new normal” when it comes to cybersecurity, according to Brunswick Group CEO Susan Gilchrist. CEOs are becoming more engaged and are understanding they need to invest.

Ray Rothrock, chairman and CEO of cyber defense firm RedSeal, said a great deal of spending has transitioned from prevention to incident response and recovery. However, Rothrock cautioned that the solution is more complex than just boosting cybersecurity budgets. Rothrock said JPMorgan Chase is a prime example: The firm spends hundreds of millions of dollars per year on cybersecurity and it still got hit.

There are many relatively inexpensive best practices that firms can deploy to improve their cybersecurity. (read more…)