SIFMA Ops Conference: Themes and Takeaways. Listen to the Podcast.

The Protiviti View,

Earlier in May, Protiviti Managing Director Douglas Wilbert attended the SIFMA Operation Conference and Exhibition in Boca Raton, FL. We share a brief podcast with highlights from the event. Full transcript below.

SIFMA Ops Conference Podcast [transcript]

Kevin Donahue: Hi, this is Kevin Donahue with the Protiviti Marketing Group. I’m pleased to be talking today with Douglas Wilbert, one of our Managing Directors with Protiviti’s Risk and Compliance group. Doug attended this week the SIFMA Operations Conference and Exhibition in Boca Raton, Florida. This is a conference that is focused on the financial services industry, talking about some of the emerging market trends and developments that are happening around financial services organizations. I just wanted to get his insights on some of the things he’s learned and took away from the event. Doug, it’s great to speak with you today.

Doug Wilbert: Pleasure here as well, Kevin. Good to talk to you.

Kevin Donahue: Doug, as I mentioned, you’ve been at the conference this week. I know there’s a lot of dialogue around a lot of different topics, from automation, innovations, that sort of thing. What are some of your key takeaways from the event, things you’ve been hearing, trends you think that the market should be well-aware of?

Doug Wilbert: SIFMA put up great event, I think it was the largest participation yet – and they had a lot of good speakers, panels and breakup sessions. The few that come to mind to me as standing out is LIBOR, LIBOR transition. That’s supposed to be very relevant because we have about two-and-a-half more years to get off of a benchmark that’s been around for a long time – a big transition for firms. Operational resilience, which is close to my heart because we’re working with SIFMA on that, that is also a coming regulation that’s going to be a big deal for just about every firm.

One of the neatest places that I wasn’t really expecting – I was expecting artificial intelligence to come up in some sort of way because you can’t just dismiss technology in any one of these conferences – but using artificial intelligence in workforce management and in hiring. I had a few conversations on the topic and found it really relevant and pretty interesting, to use the technology in ways, frankly, I have never thought of.

Kevin Donahue: Doug, on the AI side, do you see organizations as geared up to put though that sort of technology or capabilities in place within the next couple of years or are they just in the early stages and it’s going take them maybe five years or longer to get that going?

Doug Wilbert: It depends on the organizations. A lot of the large banks are moving right along and understand that technology. The real question is on what use cases are you using it. As the technology develops, the use cases grow. You get more mature with artificial intelligence. You start using it in new ways in advancing the organization both in terms of efficiency, reducing bias, better data, better analytics. The list goes on, but there are many new ways to use it. I think even if you mature with the technology, the creativity to come up with new ways to deploy the technology is what’s important.

Kevin Donahue: This is a good time to remind our audience that Protiviti actually published the results of a global survey on the use of artificial intelligence in a broad array of functions in the organization. That study is available at protiviti.com/ai. Doug, to close out our discussion here: You mentioned operational resilience. I know you and I have talked about that a bit as well. Same sort of question, are organizations you see geared up and ready to meet some of these pending regulations or laws being discussed or do you see them having ways to go?

Doug Wilbert: Whether it’s a pending regulation – in my view it is, and will become a regulatory obligation – it seems that regulators are moving toward operational resilience even though it may not be a regulation under their purview. It runs the gamut, really. There are firms that feel very confident in their ability to address the concept of operational resilience and any regulations that come out. There are some that are just much less mature and recognize that they have a lot of work to do. The good news is, with SIFMA’s help, the industry is coming together saying, “You know what, we understand it. We agree that operational resilience is important, and while we have some work to do, we think we have a lot of this down and we need to make our institutions better and more resilient. Maturity is a real issue, and I think with the larger banks and the more systemic institutions, those are obviously the ones that are a little bit more mature than the rest of the financial sector.

Kevin Donahue: Doug, thanks for joining me today. This has a been a great conversation talking about what happened at the SIFMA Conference. Those in our audience interested in additional information can visit the SIFMA website where they are publishing some different forms of content on these issues. Their site is sifma.org. As I mentioned before, you can visit protiviti.com/ai or, certainly, our Risk and Compliance site on the Protiviti website, where you can find a wealth of information that we’ve published on artificial intelligence, operational reliance and more.

[End of recording]

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