Bill Stone, CEO of SS&C, says that disruptive IT will compel middle- and back-office staffs to talk to each other.
(Editor’s Note: This past September FTF News got time with William C. (Bill) Stone, chairman of the board and CEO of SS&C Technologies during the SS&C Deliver customer conference and exhibition in Orlando, Fla. This is the second part of the Q&A session with Stone and focuses on the impacts of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (A.I.) on client firms and SS&C’s offerings.)
Q: What are some technology trends that excite you?
A: Artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, robotic process automation, and intelligent process design are changing technology. And it’s going to change a lot of the jobs in technology.
Emerging tech is going to create a necessity for people to have interpersonal skills because the back office and the middle office are going to have to be able to communicate with the customer. And it can’t all be pushed out to a salesperson or a client relationship manager. The new client relationship model is going to be expert-to-expert, direct, with no middle people.
So, these kinds of technologies are going to take reconciliation clerks and low-level accountants, and eliminate those duties. People are going to have to grow into more expansive roles that require client interaction and a lot of ability to manage the machines.
You will have to have enough knowledge to understand the data from the machine when it needs to be corrected or modified. That takes an intelligence that needs to get honed to be able to continue to innovate.
You need to be able to stay up with, and, hopefully, exceed what your competitors are doing.
Q: How are these cutting-edge technologies going to change the offerings from SS&C?
A: Well, I think it’s embedded in what we offer. What it allows us to do is improve your operations and improve the information that you’re delivering back to the portfolio managers and the traders, the CFO [chief financial officer] and your other stakeholders.
Something that maybe took you four hours, you’re going to be able to do in minutes. In the old days, if you had a big file, it might take 45 minutes to process. And, then, if somebody put an index on it, it might take 45 seconds.
But somebody needs to know: where does that index go? How’s it going to sort this? And then how big is the pipe when you start firing it down that pipe to get processed?
Technology is generally talked about in MIPS [million instructions per second], FLOPS [floating point operations per second], and megaFLOPS [MFLOPS] —millions and billions of instructions per second.
It’s not like it’s not fast enough. It’s how wise are you to be able to corral that power and deliver back to that constituent a delightful experience.
Q: Does SS&C have any projects internally to embed some of these cutting-edge technologies?
A: Sure. Singularity is the biggest one that is encompassing most of them.
We have some other projects in [Senior Vice President, Institutional and Investment Management] Christy Bremner’s area, where we’re building out those technologies.
We’ve got some going on in our Geneva [portfolio accounting] system, which is a backbone for the hedge fund industry. And we’re looking at doing it with Eclipse, SS&C Eze’s newest offering.
Q: Do you have any predictions, any thoughts, on where things are going in the financial services sector?
A: Financial services is going to do very well as long as the world keeps getting wealthier.
I think the U.S. economy is going to boom because it is deregulated and it’s getting more deregulated.
When things get deregulated you have more capital to spend on productive resources — but you’ve got to be careful that we don’t have unintended consequences.