David Scola, SWIFT’s head of North America, will tackle the impacts of cutting-edge IT upon securities operations and best practices.
David Scola, head of North America for the SWIFT financial messaging and services cooperative, will dive into the impacts of disruptive technologies such as open application programming interfaces (APIs), distributed ledger technology (DLT), artificial intelligence and machine learning at ISITC’s 25th Annual Securities Operations Summit later this month in Boston.
Scola is serving as moderator for the “Technology Trends in Financial Services: Enabling Change & Transformation” panel on Monday, March 25, at 10:15am at the InterContinental Boston Hotel, in Boston.
“Our primary focus will be on technology and the application of new technologies to securities operations. Under that umbrella, we plan to concentrate on a few different topics,” Scola says about the panel discussion via a Q&A he did for ISITC. APIs as “a mechanism to create new interfaces between participants within the securities space,” and how DLTs can be applied will be two of the hot subjects of the panel.
“SWIFT recently announced its proof of concept using DLT for corporate actions activity, so we’ll talk about how other firms are also looking at blockchain in the securities space. The last major theme we’ll discuss will be how machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI) are driving new business efficiencies,” Scola says.
While Scola acknowledges the promise of disruptive technologies, he says that he is keenly aware of some of the drawbacks that new technologies pose.
“One of the biggest threats is fragmentation driven by the application of new technology. One of the initiatives that SWIFT is focused on is developing standards so that as we apply new technologies, we can still talk to each other,” Scola says. “Similarly, new global regulations create the possibility of fragmentation, so developing standards will remain a focus to ensure clear communication among industry participants.”
In addition, cybersecurity “remains a massive threat,” Scola says. “The securities industry hasn’t been as impacted by that threat as the payments space, but it’s only a matter of time until that happens. We need to be equally as vigilant in protecting the securities community from these vulnerabilities,” he says.
In his opinion, Scola says that APIs hold “the most near-term promise to enable financial services to capitalize” on the efficiencies of new technologies.
“With APIs, you can take an existing business process and move it into an API-based exchange of information fairly readily,” Scola says. “You really start reaping the benefits of APIs once you begin remodeling business processes to take advantage of the efficiencies, whereas before, you’d have to change the way people speak with each other. There is a lot to be gained as the industry adopts these emerging technologies and learns how to adapt to seize the opportunities.”
In his role at SWIFT, Scola oversees key client relationships and business development across the region “with a focus on driving growth in global payments innovation,” according to SWIFT.
Before SWIFT, Scola was the global head of financial institutions of corporate banking at Barclays London. He also held senior positions at Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York in product management and strategy across various transaction banking products, including custody, corporate trust, cash, trade, and liquidity, officials say.
The theme for this year’s summit is “Financial Services Disrupted: Charting the Course,” and it will run from March 24-27, 2019, officials say.
The three-day conference will attract more than 200 leading securities industry executives to delve into subjects such as AI, ML, the future of data management, blockchain/DLT, API strategies, and gender diversity in the industry.
Through its standards and best practices efforts, ISITC serves investment managers, broker dealers, custodians, utilities and technology vendors in an effort to increase operational efficiencies for the securities industry.
The organization was founded in 1991 and its membership totals more than 2,000 financial services professionals representing more than 60 firms and trillions of dollars in AUM/AUA. Members volunteer their time for committees and working groups that focus on improving securities operations.