By Tom Price
For 42 years, SIFMA's Annual Operations Conference & Exhibition has gathered broker-dealers and asset managers to discuss the evolution of operations and regulation in the industry.
As over 800 industry professionals convene in San Diego next week, a multitude of reforms and initiatives are either in progress, under review, or pending approval of a new rule. OPS 2015 will provide valuable information on what to expect in the year ahead, and the tools that are available to firms to prepare for the changing operational landscape and to manage operational risk.
This is a content-driven event with a packed program. I'll be hosting an in-depth breakout session on how the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) is fundamentally changing reporting requirements. Here's a sneak peek from my colleagues at SIFMA on some of the other topics that will be on the table for discussion:
Panel: Fixed Income Securities Trade Reporting: TRACE and RTRS
Moderator: Leslie M. Norwood
Managing Director and Associate General Counsel
Truly dramatic changes are being proposed to fixed-income market structure and post-trade price transparency; we're anticipating FINRA and the MSRB to next turn their attention to pre-trade transparency. The implementation of some of these policy initiatives is more challenging than others, many are costlier than expected, most affect legacy systems that have been knit together and now support an entire system. I've worked with SIFMA's Municipal Operations Committee for eleven years and the importance of their work continues to impress me. This isn't just policy: this comes down to operations professionals who put policy initiatives into practice.
Panel: Operational Risk, A Proactive Approach
Moderator: Charles DeSimone
Vice President, Technology and Operations
Smart operations leaders are asking how regulatory change and higher standards can be turned into opportunities to better understand what is happening across their firms. Our panelists will be starting a conversation that rethinks how to reduce risk through operational risk management, business resiliency and analytics. We'll address two distinct but related risk concepts: strategies to manage internal sources of risk, and methods to build resiliency to defend against external sources. True operational risk management isn't checking a box. Our goal is to have panelists walk away with a plan to make their firm a risk-mitigating organization, embedding oversight of risk and resiliency into general operations management.
Panel: OTC Derivatives Reporting - Challenges to Global Transparency
Moderator: Kyle Brandon
Managing Director, Director of Research
Following the financial crisis, trade reporting regulations to increase transparency around OTC derivatives was in many ways the easiest reform to understand and support. The G20 agreement was in place, the Dodd-Frank Act was enacted, and Swap Data Repositories (SDRs) were born. Now, with reporting well underway in the U.S. and EU. and being implemented across the globe, we're finding ourselves in a very complicated place from all points of view, including those building the repositories, those reporting to them and the regulators and market participants consuming data from them. We're going to set the stage for this new mandate and then do a deep-dive into the operational challenges. Expect us to be frank and pragmatic - given current realities, what changes are possible?
Panel: Leading Change in Operations: A Partner's Perspective
Moderator: Ellen Greene
Managing Director, Financial Services Operations
We have 41 years of history to compete with, but I am confident to say this is the strongest OPS program yet. When we talk about leading change in this panel, we are going to tackle how to break down product line silos to achieve operational efficiencies. We'll be addressing how to look at evolving function lines across products to see if there are opportunities to create efficiencies. Operational processes may be more electronic, but our people are still the critical cogs. OPS brings together operations professionals from every corner of the brokerage, wealth management and asset management industries. It's a complex world we live in and we need the best and the brightest to piece together how our systems can achieve compliance and manage enterprise-level risk.
Featured Speaker: A Conversation with SEC's Director of Trading and Markets
Interviewer: Ira D. Hammerman
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
This is a unique, one-on-one conversation with Stephen Luparello, who will join us to discuss the operational overtones of the SEC's regulatory priorities for market resiliency in 2015 and beyond. Market Access Control Rules, the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) and Reg SCI are just a few of the SEC's initiatives designed to create more resilient markets and systems, with a heightened awareness of risk management obligations while also providing the ability to reconstruct market activities in the event of a market dislocation or other regulatory need. From rule changes needed to move to a T+2 shortened settlement cycle, to newly enacted money market fund reform regulations, and anticipated reforms to equity and fixed-income market structure, Mr. Luparello has the background to understand the operational impact of the SEC's various and far ranging rule-makings. This promises to be an unscripted, informative and relevant discussion.
Panel: Infrastructure, Risk and Resiliency
Moderator: Karl Schimmeck
Managing Director, Financial Services Operations
Operations and technology does more than create efficiency; it ensures the firm is protected. The key role of operations professionals in our firms is expanding beyond traditional boundaries, and we need to grow with it. On the last day of the event, we're going to address areas of risk that are slowly bubbling up to the surface but not yet covered in many standard risk management frameworks: operational risk, technology risk, third party risk and cyber risk. We're discussing actionable items: filtering down governance to the individual at the line-level, solutions for improving transparency at your vendors, increasing the level of confidence your firm has in its vendors, and more. Operations can be a source of tremendous risk if not managed properly and as we have seen in the past has access to some of your firm's most critical data and systems. It is forward-looking conversations such as these that tie the pieces together and help us maintain the ability to operate, manage through a crisis and be resilient.
View the OPS 2015 program.
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Managing Director, Operations, Technology and BCP