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Robin Vince, president and CEO-elect at BNY Mellon

Industry Spotlight > Advisors

BNY Mellon CEO-Elect: How the Oldest Firm in the NYSE Is Staying in the Game

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What You Need to Know

  • BNY wouldn't have survived for over 200 years as it has if it didn't innovate, Robin Vince says.
  • It is healthy for advisory firms to add young talent, he also said.
  • Inflation is clearly the top concern among clients in Europe and the U.S.

In a wide-ranging keynote Thursday at BNY Mellon Pershing’s annual Insite conference in Grapevine, Texas, Robin Vince, president and CEO-elect of BNY Mellon, pointed to continued innovation, the hiring of young talent and diversity as necessities for advisory firms.

Noting that BNY Mellon is the oldest firm on the New York Stock Exchange and the oldest member of the Fortune 500 and S&P 500, he said: “We’ve been around for a long time. But the only way you get to be able to as a company is to innovate, because there are tons of firms that have sort of littered the corporate graveyard as a result of not innovating.”

(Bank of New York, the firm’s predecessor, was established in 1784.)

Vince pointed to Pershing’s announcement of a redesigned NetX360+ advisor platform on Wednesday as an example of the firm’s innovation.

Pershing, BNY Mellon’s third-largest business, serves an “incredibly important segment of the industry and growing, so we’re making our largest investments as a company in Pershing in the form of Pershing X” and the technology it will be using to help clients, he said.

Pershing X is the business unit launched by the firm last year that it said at the time will “design and build innovative solutions for the advisory industry” and also “accelerate Pershing’s delivery of consumer grade digital experiences to its clients, as well as the broader marketplace.”

Pershing X is an extension of the Client Experience Reimagined initiative that the firm announced in April 2021. The new division will “incubate, engineer, and deliver a comprehensive, all-in-one set of advisory capabilities” to Pershing’s Wealth Solutions clients, including broker-dealers, RIAs and trust companies, it said in October.

The Importance of Young Talent

“Young talent is essential and it’s essential for a few reasons,” Vince also told attendees. Kids tend to always ask “why,” he joked, drawing laughs from the audience. But he said it’s “very healthy” to have newcomers to the field asking lots of questions “because it sharpens us up” and adds new skills and talents to an organization.

On Wednesday, Ben Harrison, co-head of wealth solutions at Pershing, said: “The next generation of talent has the power to reshape our industry.” That’s why Pershing is “committed to empowering potential through education, community connection and professional opportunities for students and current professionals to expand and grow,” Harrison said.

As part of that commitment, the firm said it is doubling the size of its Insite Student Experience this year to include more than 60 university students. The program was “designed to connect the next generation of financial services professionals with learning and career opportunities,” Pershing noted.

The importance of adding fresh ideas and new ways of looking at clients’ concerns is a reason the company is also committed to attract diverse talent overall, Vince said Thursday.

Clients’ Concerns

Noting that he recently traveled to multiple areas of the world, Vince said it was important to get outside the bubbles of New York and California to hear what’s on the minds of all the firm’s clients.

The Russia-Ukraine war had been the most pressing concern for clients in Europe, where the fight is nearby and on everybody’s minds, he said. Other geopolitical issues including ones involving China are also a concern, he noted.

But inflation is now pretty much the largest concern among clients in Europe, just as it is in the U.S. now, he said. “It’s a supply side-driven type of inflation as much as it is demand-side driven,” so it’s really tough for the Federal Reserve to get it under control in the U.S., he said.

Inflation is even more “real” in Europe because of its reliance on Russia for wheat and natural gas, he pointed out.

Clients are correct to be “very focused” on inflation because, after all, “it’s the greatest eroder of value over the course of time and particularly for generational wealth, which I know some of you also manage,” he told attendees.

But he pointed out: “Market turmoil, economic struggles and great inflection points in the world are the very best opportunity, painful though it is … to engage with clients because clients need us. They want to hear from us. … They want sometimes a reassuring word of advice.”

Although the world may be very uncertain for many people now, “it’s going to be even more uncertain for our clients,” he told attendees. If clients need somebody to help them navigate the sea of economic woes, “there’s actually no more important time to be engaging” with clients and reaching out to help them, he said.

(Pictured: Robin Vince, president and CEO-elect, BNY Mellon; Photo by Jeff Berman/ALM)