Arnaud Misset is CACEIS’ Chief Digital Officer and was previously director at PwC France. Here, he reflects on the issues inherent in predicting the impact of technological innovation and makes the case for a greater understanding of digital assets throughout organisations.
What has been your greatest technology success story to date?
I’d say one of our latest endeavours – the CACEIS Connect Store – has been a notable tech success for us. We had been hearing for many years that fintechs and start-ups were trying to compete with us, but that’s not the case. In truth, they wanted to work with us, and we realised that many of the fintechs knocking on our door were relying on data we produce as a fund administrator.
With the Connect Store, we’ve been able to set up a private marketplace that connects our clients to the best third-party service providers. Our clients can sign up to this by using their single sign-on, and we do joint events and webinars with our fintech partners which they can also attend. Although the phrase ‘win-win’ generally usually serve much value in practice, in this case I would say it’s an appropriate phrase.
“Although the phrase ‘win-win’ generally usually serve much value in practice, in this case I would say it’s an appropriate phrase.”
How can technology be used to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs?
In terms of operational efficiency, we decided to make a distinction between the client side and internal side. Sometimes, companies can spend too much attention on the client side and too little on what people internally are using. For example, some of our staff pointed out that they didn’t have access to the same beautiful reports and tools as we offered our clients; we’ve started the process of addressing this, but we aren’t wholly there yet.
We only created our digital line in 2018, and the first question we had to address was: why do we need to do this? We identified three driving forces – these were user experience, developing a new differentiator versus competitors, and benefits from an operational efficiency and security perspective. As a ‘volumes’ business, we need to be able to onboard without spiralling costs, and a web portal can be a great way to tackle this alongside the three driving forces we identified. And in doing so, we were able to improve the level of self-service we offer, empowering clients to have more control over their platform.
Looking ahead, what impact do you think innovation in technology will have over the next decade?
A decade is an extremely long time, and we need to look no further than the last 10 years to appreciate the incredible pace at which technology develops. Like everyone else, though, I’ll tell you that generative AI will be a gamechanger depending on how it develops; I would also say that digital assets aren’t a bad bet, and I’m curious to see where they go over the next decade.
I think it’s probably too soon to introduce robust regulation around AI and we need to wait and see the direction of development. Additionally, I have sympathies with many of the concerns around security and privacy when using tools like ChatGPT, and at CACEIS the use of these tools is prohibited. You can’t have code being developed and sensitive information produced and shared on tools like this until we have a much clearer picture of what provisions are in place to ensure it’s secure.
“We need to look no further than the last 10 years to appreciate the incredible pace at which technology develops.”
How should we go about boosting digital skills within organisations?
All too often, people working in tech and digital are talking about things in a way that other people can find hard to understand. And, when people don’t understand something, it soon becomes easy not to care. I would love to see a mass digital training programme for internal staff, and it could go a long way in boosting digital literacy and engagement. Without this kind of programme people can think of digital as something of a toy, rather than something genuinely transformative.
“Without this kind of programme people can think of digital as something of a toy, rather than something genuinely transformative.”
I also think that when people talk about subjects like data science, it’s only a small subset who really understand the nuances, so a data science for dummies kind of course could also be very useful. The technology available to us is advancing so quickly with the consequence that people become more and more specialised in certain areas, leaving lots of people behind who don’t have a solid grasp of the basics – so a better, broader understanding would be helpful in allowing everyone to see the wider context.