In an FTF Exchange podcast, Lisa Iagatta, chair of ISITC, talks about the challenges of going virtual and the future of the organization.
ISITC Chair Lisa Iagatta tells FTF News that the conferences and group meetings of the trade group for securities operations standards will likely stay virtual for the rest of 2021.
Iagatta, who is the focus of this FTF Exchange Podcast, talks about the challenges that ISITC has faced in order to adjust to the trying conditions of the global pandemic from lockdowns to remote operations. The podcast was recorded during a virtual conference — ISITC’s 27th Annual Securities Operations Summit, which got underway the week of March 29.
“Will we maintain a perpetual, 100 percent virtual space? I can’t commit to that,” Iagatta says. “I think we will go down that road from a 2021 perspective. I don’t believe we’re going to be able to be in person this year. I could be wrong — I hope I’m wrong.”
Most of the feedback that Iagatta has gotten from ISITC members and event participants is that they profoundly miss “the in-person conversations, the in-person relationship building, the in-person meeting,” Iagatta says.
The situation is a tough one for ISITC whose stated mission is to “engage the collective expertise of its global community of securities operations and technology professionals to create a platform to collaborate on key initiatives in financial services operations.”
But, in the past, that mission has required face-to-face interactions, which had to be abandoned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You sit in rooms next to partners or clients or prospects or competitors,” Iagatta says. “You sit next to each other and you try to figure out how to best tackle the obstacles that the financial services sector is addressing right now.”
The common mission also leads to strong bonds among professionals. “You do establish strong, solid friendships both personally and professionally,” she says.
Along the way, ISITC, which “has not been a big proponent of virtual conferences” before the pandemic, had to make a lot of hard choices about which events to cancel and finding the right online platform for virtual events.
“So, do you cancel them?” Iagatta says about upcoming events for this year. “No. We made a conscious decision to move forward out of our comfort zone.” The organization will have major virtual conferences for the fall and winter later in 2021.
Iagatta, who is serving out a special second term as chair of ISITC, is the director of account management at InvestCloud’s Financial Supermarket division where she oversees North American client relationships for several InvestCloud solutions.