One needn’t take too many steps in any direction within The City to be reminded of its long, great history as a financial center. Since its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD, it has been a fundamentally commercial place. And the Square Mile, both geographically and colloquially known for the financial industry long rooted there, is equally defined by the artifacts of past glories and declines and the new order continuously built upon them. Two Cities – the ancient and future.
The City today ranks as the leading center of global finance and has enjoyed prominence since the late 16th century, when the Royal Exchange was founded by Sir Thomas Gresham, its location at the corner of Cornhill and Threadneedle to this day the very heart of banking. In recent years its prestige has been battered by the global financial crisis and scandals closer to home, but it still commands first among rivals New York, Hong Kong and Singapore, and other increasingly competitive Asian, European and Canadian contenders. And trust will be an important battleground upon which that position will be defended. (more…)
I wrote in a recent blog post about one of my favorite sound bites from the Aspen Ideas Festival. Gillian Tett of the Financial Times remarked that the word “credit” comes from the Latin word credere which means “to trust”. Someone overhearing our conversation leaned in and corrected her. It actually comes from the root credo which literally means “I believe”. In the etymology of the English language, belief and trust are inexplicably linked but it occurs to me that we confuse the two. You can’t trust if you don’t first fundamentally believe.
As an employee of a company serving the financial services industry, I am intrigued by this question, and as a consumer, as are we all, I am confounded by it. Do you trust your bank? Do you believe they act and operate ethically and in your best interests as a customer? Did you consider that as you selected them? How much do belief and trust factor into our consumer decisions versus brand loyalty? Do we make choices because we believe or because we simply yield to advertising? I overheard a colleague remark recently, “Oh, that is a pretty blue” when referring to her new debit card. Be that as it may, I wanted to ask her, do you trust your new bank to act with integrity in the global marketplace and comply with regulations? In a recent blog post, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote, “Banking should be boring. Savings accounts, checking accounts — the things that you and I rely on every day — should be safe from the sort of high-risk activities that broke our economy.”
Our trust index brings into focus the vital questions and the inherent need to rebuild trust in the industry we serve. I believe Thomson Reuters has a unique and profound role to play here. Our trading venues are an excellent example. Thomson Reuters Dealing provides a secure, reliable and trusted network to connect the inter-bank community. Matching is a secure reliable anonymous matching service and FXall enables reliable, secure trading between buy-side and sell side. How do we know that they are trusted? Our trading volumes are one proof-point; the number of customers doing business on our trading platforms and the number of end points on our Trade Notification network. We’ve recently hit a milestone all time high – Thomson Reuters average daily FX Spot volumes for the month of June 2013 were $147 billion. Our customers rely on the investment we place in our infrastructures so that they remain stable and secure, our speed and focus to resolve issues, and our ability to manage the increasing volumes of traffic. (more…)
Last week, I returned from the Aspen Ideas Festival where Thomson Reuters and our Foundation showcased a number of fascinating ideas and ideals for the world we live in. Thomson Reuters was well represented in Aspen and in good company among like-minded leaders and industry icons. I tried to explain the event to my father who was seeing my various updates via social media: “Imagine a town where everyone is highly influential and relaxed,” I explained, “but open and motivated to connect to new opportunities and ideas.”
Sitting in my office overlooking the hullabaloo of Times Square, I’m thinking back to this place, which may be my new favourite place in America, and its aura of ideas. A few reflections: (more…)
It’s hot in Manhattan. Our bustling island is sweltering and ConEdison seems likely to wobble under the strain. So on the three recent occasions that I’ve gone for sushi lunch close to the Thomson Reuters office at 3 Times Square, I’ve attempted to order an “iced green tea”. Every time I have made this request, the response from our server, one while pointing at the menu, was “we don’t have iced green tea”. I have perfected my frustrated response: “Do you have Green tea?” – yes… “do you have ice?” – Yes… “Ok, please bring me both”, which they do promptly and watch me pour hot green tea over a large glass of ice.
Yesterday, while I was with a colleague at another sushi spot near the office, I once again asked for my usual Iced Green Tea, anticipating what has now become an automated exchange. The waiter said, “sorry sir but we don’t have iced green tea. We do however have regular green tea, so I’ll bring that with some ice. Is that ok?” I reflected on this very simple interaction. In this situation, I am the customer and the sales person is my waiter. (more…)
Last week GRC hosted a successful Risk and Compliance customer event in Toronto with over 150 senior decision makers packed into the Board of Trade facility downtown. Sliding into my Porter Air seat bound home for Newark I struck up a conversation with one of the attendees from TD Securities. He too was heading south, jumping into meetings to discuss Global regulatory frameworks with his American colleagues. Canada did not go through the same financial collapse as it’s southerly neighbor, not necessarily because of any insight but partly due to a more conservative nature on a national, cultural scale. Canada is by its own admission more risk adverse than the United States, a fact that has recently led to more collaboration and quickly as we ascended in our cosy twin propped aircraft became the focus of our conversation… we ordered a glass of Niagaran wine and settled into our short flight across the border.
My travel companion talked a little about how our customer events really were helping to firm up consistent opinion, less around what went wrong (you can tune into CNN or the BBC and of course Reuters News for that), but more about what needed to happen next. How does the industry and the markets they serve avoid, or at least manage the next regulatory failure, how does an industry largely held to blame, emerge stronger, more unified and more adept at managing regulatory risk? Tackling these weighty topics are not isolated activities, they require an open dialogue, shared perspectives and very, very candid discussions. The financial services industry saw a lot of employee migration. Some compliance officers in large firms went to small hedge funds and their posts in turn have been filled with former regulators. This is a tight community of people who share a desire to strengthen their industry and their profession – one that has an elevated status in their respective firms.
So our GRC forum in Toronto, like all our customer events provide a venue to share ideas and learn about best practices but ultimately they each arrive with one question… (more…)