Sowing seeds of change at SIFMA Ops 2022

1 Jun 2022

It was a hot one this year. Like seven inches from the midday sun, as the great guitarist Santana would say.

Every day hit 100F/38C as FNZ joined over 700 financial services colleagues at the SIFMA Operations 2022 conference in Phoenix, AZ, USA from May 16-19. That didn’t stop us from running a (sweaty) 5K to raise money for local children in need, distributing hundreds of biodegradable cards containing wildflower seeds, and learning more about the challenges facing operations in this industry.

Conference participants had a lot on their minds. Approximately 50% expressed interest in sustainable investing opportunities for their companies, and attendees’ top three priorities were technology optimization (22%), T+1 implementation (18%), and automation/digitization (11%).*

Panel on Sustainable Finance

The heat made the sustainable finance panel seem particularly urgent. FNZ’s Tom Chard, CEO of North America, joined with Melissa MacGregor, ESG counsel at SIFMA, and Jeff Graham, Senior Manager Financial Service at Ernst & Young, to discuss pending ESG regulations, demand from customers for sustainable finance impact tracking and technology’s role in helping the industry meet these needs.

ESG regulations are increasing, highlighting the need for alignment and standardization       

  • The SEC’s proposed climate disclosure rule in the United States aims to improve the consistency, quality and comparability of company-reported climate-related risks. Implementation date is to be determined, but the SEC has mentioned as early as December 2022. As of now, the industry seems united in concerns around timing and details of implementation.
  • The European Commission established the Green Taxonomy Regulation as of July 2020, which sets a common language and clear definition of what is “sustainable.”
  • The Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) has been in effect in the European Union since March 2021, with goals to improve transparency for sustainable investment products, prevent greenwashing and increase the visibility of sustainability claims made by financial market participants.
  • In addition, the European Commission has written a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), due to go live in 2023. This will provide standardization in format and reporting and includes an external audit requirement.

Investors are focused on climate goals alongside financial goals      

FNZ’s research, conducted in January 2020**, indicates that end investors are increasingly focused on the ESG impact of their investments.

  • 68% of investors want to see environmental and societal impact of their investments 
  • 83% of investors believe environmentally focused funds have potential to deliver competitive returns
  • 54% of investors would consider switching providers if current one couldn’t inform them of the ESG impact of their investments
  • Assets run with ESG insights are expected to hit $53T by 2025, a third of global AUM*** 

We can’t do it without technology      

Without scalable technology solutions, it will be challenging to address these new regulations alongside addressing increasing customer demand.

  • FNZ already has an embedded solution in our platform that shows investors and advisors progress toward ESG goals – alongside traditional financial goals.
  • Data consistency and transparency remain challenges. Without consistency in how investments report ESG data, it is difficult to maintain performance standards.
  • Although regulations can be daunting for companies to implement, the panelists hoped they would result in consistency in reporting standards, which could be beneficial for our world, our customers and our businesses.

This is why we have developed our FNZ Impact solution, and recently invested in GIST, the pioneering impact data and analytics company that provides investors and companies with quantitative, comparable, and verifiable measures of corporate impact and performance across all four capitals: natural, human, social, and produced. We are committed to ambitious climate action and disclosures, have become signatories of the UN Global Compact, and have implemented goals across four areas of our business spanning environmental, societal and governance criteria.

Technology Optimization

Technology optimization was another important topic on attendees’ minds. This broad category was a frequent topic of discussion between FNZ’s team and new conference friends. Topics ranged from the pain of managing a patchwork of legacy systems and third-party software through to the increasing need to integrate cryptocurrencies as an asset class.

As FNZ increases our attention in North America, we look forward to partnering with our clients to deliver the only global, end-to-end wealth management platform in the industry.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at SIFMA Ops; for many of us, our first time attending. We’ll be back! Our presence helped new friends understand that we provide the only global, end-to-end wealth management platform in the industry. We have created wealth’s growth platform by developing an easy-to-use advisor and client experience - joined with sophisticated investment administration and operations. We take on the commoditized part of your business, removing the operational headache of servicing assets, while providing a modern and ownable digital experience. Making your growth frictionless by allowing you to focus on a value proposition you can personalize while saving costs.

Remember to plant your biodegradable cards and contact us to help sow the seeds of change for your business!

* All data in paragraph from SIFMA Insights 2022 Operations Conference Survey Results, May 2022

** FNZ commissioned independent consumer research, 2000 respondents, issued January 2020, Investec Planetary Puse Survey, Investec Asset Managers

*** Bloomberg Intelligence, 2/23/2021

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