“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…)

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…)

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…)

Operational risk management was on the minds of many attendees at the 42nd Annual SIFMA Operations Conference and Exhibition, held earlier this month in San Diego. Financial services firms have vastly improved their internal operational risk protocols, but one area set to attract increased scrutiny in the coming year is vendor risk management.

“You can outsource work, but you can’t outsource responsibility,” explained Thomas Ferlazzo, vice president of financial markets infrastructure at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Everyone is familiar with the story of Edward Snowden, which serves as the most famous reminder about the risk third-party vendors and their employees can represent.

Sam Chari, executive vice president and enterprise risk manager for PIMCO, reminded the audience that employees are the first line of defense. Chari urged firms to focus on training employees about what levels of risk management are expected. He explained there is a difference between teaching employees how to spot threats posed by vendors and educating them about when to escalate such threats up the risk management chain-of-command. (read more…)