Here, There & Nowhere in Particular

Episode#14 — Rate Cut, Platform Thinking and Recycling Hall of Fame

As a kid growing up in the Delhi heat, I had little love for the summer — it would be safe to say that spending time on the East Coast over the last decade has made me change that opinion. I offer this (solidly and unabashedly) as an excuse for not wanting to spend my weekends indoors working on HTNW. My kayaking and biking skills have definitely improved though…

Rate Cut

We’ve all been closely following the action on the interest rate — and while the WSJ news has been a lot more duller than the Twitter action, the quarter percentage point has already thrown the Burj Al Arab high towers market down to a more downtown skyline.

The prediction from the economists — short-term rates will come down to 2% and the 10 year treasury bond will rise from 21.14% to 2.18% mark. However — with the standard inflation models working poorly, the jobs data not truly reflecting the power of the gig economy and future productivity numbers not reflecting technological advances — how true are these predictions.

For readers who have followed this piece over the last year, you will know I have been an advocate of revamping dated models and simplistic assumptions around which Keynesian models were built. An ability to create a challenger model considering other sources of information would be an interesting case study and in keeping with norms around every other industry number — credit scores, investment decisions and mortgage rates.

Here’s a piece from investopedia to understand the impact of rate cuts on consumers for different products.

D(R)BT — Digitally Resilient Business Transformation

During my last post, I spoke about the need to holistically think about all aspects of digital business transformation. The budgets on “Protect the customer (& the bank)” must be in the same rough vicinity as “Grow the Bank” $$.

The recent cyber security breaches only go to show how important it is have a strong defense to match the impressive spends on the quarterbacks and wide receivers. These breaches have triggered a more urgent approach to protecting the firm and the usage of AI and data science will be important to warding off the hoards.

Lines of Defense

Another aspect of protecting the bank is defining a long term strategy in compliance and regulatory systems. As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I’ve had some great conversations on the regulatory ecosystem with several of leaders in this space and the need to think of developing a new generation regulatory ecosystem which allows all three lines of defense to play an active role in protecting customer’s and bank’s interests with early warning signals versus reacting after the break.

As we move forward into a vast delta of unknowns with new regulations (CAT, GDPR,MIFID,LOPR), and potential systemic shocks like the LIBOR transition — financial organizations need to carefully balance between the continuum and the strategic.

A good example is following a tactical “only” approach for LIBOR to SOFR transition leaves the bank vulnerable in case of challenges with SOFR, which requires a second change.

Another challenge of the transition would be customer communication — the experience an average homeowner would go through when he receives a LIBOR + 220 b.p. versus a SOFR + 260 b.p. needs to be thought through.

All of these indicate a strong need to establish a “platform thinking” when it comes to the enterprise transformation strategy. A solid platform will allow a consistent approach to product development and launches — we believe this to be true for almost any kind of product, whether it’s a regulation, a cyber security package or a product launch for customers.

Another key will be industry co-opetiton and learning from each other. Over the last 3 months I have had the opportunity to interact with some of the most experienced regulatory leaders and practitioners in the space.

Thank to Josh Beaton, David Emero, Kevin Riley, George Pullen, Serge Aronov, Jeff Zibluk, Chris Maiberger, Jim Klak, Sonia Prakash, Rob Haight, Sayak Mukherjee, Rohit Patel,John Lowrey, Prasad Oak, Ganesh Bhat for spending time on going over ideas and providing feedback on the next generation regulatory ecosystem.

Workforce Re-Skilling

AI is going to be the biggest technology and workforce disruptor over the next couple of years. Firms must plan to do an overhaul and re-skilling of their employee workforce — creating center of excellence for AI and data science as well as investing in resources & partnership to allow talented workers to make the transition has to be a major focus area.

At Publicis Sapient, our own conversations with banks have shown their willingness and commitment to lay out a road-map to this critical transition.

Nowhere in Particular…

My personal favorite section of HTNW is the freewheeling look at technology and data science applications in the world….here’s snippets.

Trash Violators — Shame! Shame!…China continues it’s drive on facial recognition software. The latest are smart bins — fail to recycle during sorting, your face goes into the Recycling Hall of Shame

As a resident of Jersey City, I’m proud of the fact that single use plastic bags have been banned. I forecast a return of cargo pants with lots of pockets in Jersey City….a correlation model, anyone?

…For a Fistful of Dollars (Or a Bit More)

A slightly different take on this section — secured art lending. Here’s the two part quiz to see if you are applicable?

a. Having a cash flow problem?

b. Own a Jackson Pollock?

If you answered Yes to both, you have a $500K loan waiting for you…

NYC Hidden Gem (& App of the Week)

For this week, I’m combining the app of the week and the NYC Hidden Gem into one section…read on…

I will consciously stay away from the debate on the FaceApp story and instead recommend this really cool which allows you to take a self guided tour of old NYC. Highly recommended!!

And till next time — “Citius, Altius, Fortious”