J.P. Morgan Investment Management has just promoted Veronique Weill to the premier position of head of global technology and operations. Weill brings a uniquely global view to the position, having served previously as head of technology and operations for Asset Management Services in Europe. In her new position, she will oversee close to 1,500 IT and operations personnel, with 13 different managers from the U.S., Europe and Asia reporting to her. Weill discussed current and future issues facing JPMIM with Wall Street and Technology's Senior Associate Editor Andrew Rafalaf, including e-commerce and the outsourcing of its account administration to the Bank of New York.
Wall Street & Technology: Given the increasingly global investment climate, do you imagine your experience in Europe was a major reason for your being chosen to head the entire firm's IT initiatives?
Veronique Weill: I think the spectrum of the job is bigger and it covers three different time zones, but at least I know I've learned the business. I've been working on the implementation of the Bank of New York project, so I think that gives me a pretty good background, and I've been involved in the e-commerce initiative across Europe. I think having the experience in both Europe plus in London, being able to connect with the global firm and work very closely with New York gave me this opportunity, to be honest.
Wall Street & Technology: Explain the breadth and scope of the deal with Bank of New York. Why was outsourcing your funds administration, accounting and custody so important?
Veronique Weill: If you look at the funds, and we have different services we're looking at, it's a concentration strategy on the funds because we were using different providers. We were using Chase in Europe and State Street in the States, and we consolidated everything with Bank of New York on the funds side. And something even bigger, it's the technology strategy also. We didn't look at that project as outsourcing. Let's have Bank of New York focus on their core capacity which is fund accounting, managing the custody and all the accounting for all the book of business and making sure our internal resources are focusing on added value for investment management and clients' requirements. Its front-office development, its Web strategy, etc., etc. and we have Bank of New York focusing on the commodity.
Wall Street & Technology: And, it's seamlessly integrating your technology with theirs?
Veronique Weill: Absolutely. Integrating everything from the front office that we manage to their system with a very sophisticated messaging process.
Wall Street & Technology: Are you close to completing the Bank of New York implementation?
Veronique Weill: No, we're working on it. We're building the technology to make sure we can migrate the book of business either by year's end or by the beginning of next. We will do Europe first. Let's say we'll do Europe by end of this year, beginning of next, and then we'll do the U.S. part. We really wanted to segment that because we were using different platforms within Morgan, so we focus on Europe first and then the U.S.
Wall Street & Technology: You were using State Street here and Chase abroad. Why did you decide to go with another third party altogether?
Veronique Weill: We did an RFP, and the other two were contenders and we eventually decided to go with the Bank of New York because we thought they had the more credible offer, and they were willing to invest in terms of technology. The Bank of New York has something like $6 trillion in assets and we have $370 billion, so I think it's pretty important that when you partner with this type of company you're sure they're going to have to make the technology investment. You also want someone who will be able to handle the kind of volume we will bring to them.
Wall Street & Technology: You mentioned that you decided to outsource this part of the business to Bank of New York so you could focus on the value-added services that you can bring to your clients. What are some of those premier services that you are working on?
Veronique Weill: I think front-office applications, like analytics, and the ability to handle multiple products like derivatives. Any tools that will help our investment managers to invest. The second thing is the client piece, which is everything looking at reporting, the ability to provide more accurate information in a timely manner, and using, of course, the Internet and e-commerce as a tool for that. It's really sending information to the Bank of New York as soon as the transaction is done, getting this information back and providing the right reporting. Some day this will happen in the same day, intraday.