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 recently chatted with Wall Street & Technology's Senior Associate Editor, Andrew Rafalaf, to discuss current and future issues facing JPMIM, including the outsourcing of its account administration to the Bank of New York and e-commerce. (To view the entire transcript of the interview, read the forthcoming August Issue of Wall Street & Technology.)
WS&T: 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?
VW: 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.
WS&T: Explain the breadth and scope of the deal with Bank of New York. Why was outsourcing your funds administration, accounting and custody so important?
VW: 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 an 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. It's front-office development, it's Web strategy, etc, etc., and we have Bank of New York focusing on the commodity.
WS&T: And, it's seamlessly integrating your technology with theirs.
VW: Absolutely, integrating everything from the front office that we manage to their system with a very sophisticated messaging process.
WS&T: Are you close to completing the Bank of New York implementation?
VW: No, we're working on it. We're building the technology to make sure we can migrate the book of business either by year 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.
WS&T: 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?
VW: 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.
WS&T: Are there any technologies that you were using in Europe that haven't been employed in the States that might benefit the U.S.?
VW: We are trying to put in the global database, called Global Condor. This database was first used in Europe and will be rolled out in New York.
WS&T: And the benefit of this database is?
VW: One set of instruments, one set of accounting, one set of pricing, etc, etc. Then what you have there is a truly global platform, and you can really manage your global business, which is the sense of our business right now. Whether it's equities or fixed income, it has to be a global business.
WS&T: How closely do you work with Lab Morgan? Has there been any passing of technologies developed within your group?
VW: Everything which is regarding portals-investment portals, client portals-we are working with them. So, every new initiative that we have on the Internet will be done jointly, just to make sure we leverage any tools that we have across the firm, and we're not developing anything that is not too specific and cannot be reused. We will have some specific flavor according to the various businesses, but we try to work under a common framework, so we are working very closely with Lab Morgan.
WS&T: Speaking of the Internet, how much work have you done to afford J.P. Morgan Investment Management clients access through the Web, and what more are you planning to give them in the next year?
VW: We already have access on the private banking side, so our clients are looking at their reports online. And, on the institutional management side, we just launched a site in Europe and the U.S., where a few select clients can have access to their assets, their holdings and their reporting. And we're going to go full-speed. We have some specific development with them, and then we want to roll it out more broadly.