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Jim Crowley, CEO of BNY Mellon Pershing

Technology > Investment Platforms

Pershing X Platform Launch on Track for Late 2022

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What You Need to Know

  • The Pershing X platform is on track to launch later this year, albeit in Minimum Viable Product form.
  • The firm has shown the Platform X platform to only a small number of people outside the organization.
  • The company is being aggressive this year in its quest to eliminate paper.

The Pershing X platform is set to be rolled out later this year — in Minimum Viable Product (or prototype) form — said Jim Crowley, CEO of BNY Mellon|Pershing, Thursday at the firm’s annual Insite conference in Grapevine, Texas.

“We plan to have an MVP out for Pershing X late in 2022, and we’re excited about that,” he explained during an interview at the event, which was held in-person for the first time since 2019.

Pershing X is the new business unit that the firm announced last year. The aim of the new division is to “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,” it said In October.

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 added.

Ainslie Simmonds, who heads Pershing X, has “defined what will be included in that MVP in terms of the elements and the client advisory board that was set up “had a very big meeting here for several hours this week,” Crowley said. The firm’s tech staff and clients were able to give immediate feedback on the design and it’s on schedule, he said.

“I have seen it,” Emily Schlosser, the firm’s COO, told ThinkAdvisor during the same interview. “Jim has seen it. [But] we are not demonstrating it outside of our organization and a very tight group of client advisors,” she said. “It is closed off to anybody externally until we’re really ready to have something to share.”

Since October, when Pershing X was announced, “we closed on our first acquisition,” Crowley pointed out, referring to the purchase of Optimal Asset Management, a direct indexing solutions provider that gives advisors customized indexing solutions for investors seeking tax optimization and personalized portfolios, BNY Mellon | Pershing said in December.

This was also the “first acquisition that we’ve done in decades at Pershing” overall, he said Thursday.

Since the acquisition closed, “We’ve been working to sort of bring that onto our network, if you will, from an architecture and functionality standpoint,” he noted. “We’ve since also integrated” Albridge data and reporting solutions and “aggregated, underneath Ainsley, what was formally our managed account operating platform.”

In the process, Pershing X went from zero employees to 350, Crowley added.

The firm has positioned Pershing X “as a startup within” BNY Mellon “to really capitalize on that agility that you see in the early days of a startup, but it does have the power of the bank behind it,” Schlosser said. (The bank has 50,000 employees, according to Crowley.)

The firm is giving Simmonds “freedom to operate with great independence,” and she has “set up 28 teams in this agility framework, he also noted.

Strong 2021, Despite Challenges

During the first keynote on Wednesday, Crowley said that, despite all the “personal hardships” since the start of the pandemic, BNY Mellon | Pershing “had a record year in net new assets added to our platform — over $160 million,” in 2021, he said.

Meanwhile, “over the last two years, during the entire pandemic,” the firm has seen “19% growth in assets under custody,” he said. “It has just been amazing your performance,” he told advisors.

One question for the firm at Insite was “what do we need to do to change that trajectory, to bend that bar of growth over time,” he said. “My first response was talent … .  We have to do something about talent if we’re going to influence that growth trajectory.”

Dumping Paper

“We now know that only about 25% of an advisor’s time is spent” on working with their clients, while the rest of their time is spent on managerial tasks, Crowley also said in his keynote speech.

“So one of the things that we believe that we can do to make a difference in an advisor’s life is to give them back this precious gift called time,” he said.

A significant way the firm can do this, Crowley notes, is by getting rid of a lot of paperwork: “One of the things, one of my other passions, I should say, beyond just talent is the elimination of paper. And we’ve created this mantra ‘paper-free in 23.’

“The truth is I think it falls on all of us. We all know the reasons why it makes sense to get rid of paper,” he explained, pointing to the need for speed and greater security .

“We are going to be very assertive in the elimination of paper,” he told attendees. “Let’s get rid of the paper.”

(Pictured: Jim Crowley, CEO of BNY Mellon|Pershing; photo by Jeff Berman)