Cheryl Nash says that her understanding of what the client needs has changed vastly since she became the new president of Fiserv Inc.’s Investment Services division two months ago–and she’s a 28-year veteran of the financial services technology company.
“Being in this seat gives me a very different view,” Nash (left) said in an interview with AdvisorOne on Wednesday. “I keep thinking of BlockBuster, which fell behind in technology. At Fiserv, we need to stay ahead of the trends.”
Nash noted that she spent the first weeks in her new job talking to advisors about what they need from their technology. As a result, she said, on Feb. 1, Fiserv will reorganize its Client Services segment into four client channels: asset managers, wirehouses, regional sponsors, and independents and turnkey asset management providers, or TAMPs.
“A lot of our clients look to us as thought leaders, and they want to know our view of the trends in the market,” she said.
New Avenues for Advice and Personal Finance
In recent years, Nash played significant roles in Fiserv’s acquisitions of Upstream Technologies, which integrates platforms for managing accounts, and AdviceAmerica, which gives Fiserv clients a financial advice and planning technology. Currently, she is exploring new avenues for providing web-based personal financial management.
Nash has been the driving force behind the Brookfield, Wis.-based company’s convergence strategy for Investment Services. She has managed strategic functions in the organization and was instrumental in the development of multiple strategy portfolios, more commonly known today as unified managed accounts, according to a company release that announced her new presidential role.
Morningstar, for example, selected Fiserv’s technology for its managed account platform under Nash’s leadership.
Meanwhile, Fiserv faces some challenges. While the company has seen revenue grow in recent quarters on better results in its processing and services arm, severance and debt-reduction charges recently “have hurt its bottom line,” Dow Jones Newswires reported on Jan. 5, noting that Fiserv in October completed its purchase of CashEdge, an electronic-payment firm, for about $465 million.
Patent Infringement, M&A and Data Integration
Also on Jan. 5, CashEdge and Fiserv subsidiary CheckFree Corp. filed a patent lawsuit against payment- and bank-processing services firm Fidelity National Information Services Inc. and Metavante Corp., a FIS subsidiary. The lawsuit alleges that FIS infringes on Fiserv’s patents when it provides customers with solutions such as FIS’ Payment Manager products, which process inter-bank account-to-account fund transfers, process payment instructions, and provide electronic biller notifications.
Fiserv is also known to aggressively seek technology mergers and acquisitions. In fact, its reputation as an acquirer has encouraged companies to ask Fiserv to buy them out, Nash said.
“It’s a big acquisition company, and it’s nice to be part of an M&A firm with deep pockets,” she said. “It puts us ahead of other wealth management technologies.”
Another trend that Nash is keeping an eye on involves data integration that brings front, middle and back office technologies together in a single platform.
“Data is king these days,” said Nash, who began her career 28 years ago in Chicago manually entering client data on a giant mainframe computer. “Whoever has the most information on the investor will be able to give the best advice.”
Read a Weekend Interview with Cheryl Nash and Purna Pareek about the Fiserv acquisition of AdviceAmerica at AdvisorOne.