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Digital Subscriptions > The Hedge Fund Journal > Issue 118 - Nov | Dec 2016 > State Street Raises Fintech Game

State Street Raises Fintech Game

Digital, data and automation initiatives underway

A multi-year trend of consolidation has been seen in asset service provision post-crisis, with at least 25 mergers: some amongst administrators and others between them and different service providers, such as technology firms. State Street has been in the vanguard of this trend, acquiring Goldman Sachs Administration Services (GSAS) and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing’s (MSREI) fund servicing operations, both in 2012. State Street was recently one of the only SIFI (Systemically Important Financial Institution) banks to make another purchase, when its asset management division, State Street Global Advisers (SSGA), added $100 billion of assets through acquiring GE Asset Management in March 2016.

As a smaller number of top tier players are essentially now competing for the same giant institutional clients, State Street’s Executive Vice President and Global Head of Alternative Asset Managers Solutions, Maria Cantillon, does expect the wave of corporate combinations to slow down. Cantillon, who was selected for The Hedge Fund Journal and EY’s 50 Leading Women In Hedge Funds survey, therefore sees asset service providers shifting the focus to differentiating their offering – and State Street asserts that harnessing technology will be its defining quality.

“The technological revolution has already changed the financial landscape,” observes Cantillon, but at the same time she views Fintech as still in its infancy, pointing out that no Fintech bank has yet been created. Rather than resting on the laurels of its 224-year history, State Street is now setting its sights on a clear ambition: “we want to be a Fintech asset service,” says Cantillon. State Street is under no illusion about the magnitude of the challenge at hand and expects it will take years to transition systems, processes and mind-sets towards the desired objectives. The firm has initiated an ongoing programme of internal and external co-ordination and collaboration - with firms of all ages and sizes, and some universities - to make the most of the opportunities afforded by technological advance. State Street is perhaps majoring on technology as the firm has always developed its own systems and solutions in-house. State Street was an early mover on cloud, implementing a private cloud computing environment as early as 2011. State Street has started a five-year programme with high level goals that include centralising data; harnessing new technologies including blockchain; recruiting more scientifically trained staff and partnering with universities.

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