Metrics Man: BNY Mellon CIO Suresh Kumar

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Metrics Man: BNY Mellon CIO Suresh Kumar

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Hometown Boy Made Good
In 1997, the year Kumar was named CIO of DLJdirect, a decision was made to leverage all of the technology he’d helped create into its own revenue stream. A company called iNautix was created to sell that software to third parties, enabling DLJdirect to get it for free. One branch was placed in the south eastern coastal city of Chennai, India, and Kumar was made CEO. Today, it has 3,000 employees, some of whom have gone on to fill top roles at Pershing. Peetz has been on visits there with him, and says the adulation shown to him is that of “a hometown boy made good.”

DLJ was bought by Credit Suisse First Boston in 2000, but Pershing was spun off and acquired by BNY in 2003, which merged with Mellon Financial in 2007. During that time, Kumar was promoted to CIO of Pershing.

He oversaw the construction of NetXPro, the open architecture platform for managing brokerage and advisory business. Its latest iteration, NetX360, was built over 18 months from 2007 to 2009 after he and Mayer hobnobbed across the country asking registered investment advisors about their pain points. Pershing’s hallmark product is another example of how planning ahead allowed Kumar to layer, rather than replace, the firm’s technology.

“The idea of TAP in its infancy was you needed to build messaging between services,” Mayer says. “But instead of building a one-off, he stepped away and said, ‘I need to create a library of messages that can be used in any context.’ That’s how we’ve been able to deploy multiple devices over the years. That’s why we’re a leader in mobile today—because we have all the same infrastructure that just needs to morph itself to the devices that are available. The services I offer in NetX360, I also make available through an open architecture messaging layer. I can also make those services available through the mobile, in many cases in native mode, so I can really exploit the device. And that’s because we all have the same message connecting to the same services underneath. All I’m changing is the presentation layer. That was all the strategy that Suresh put in place many, many years ago that we’re still leveraging.”

BNY Mellon recently unveiled the third generation of its Lego-block architecture. The Xtreme development platform will centralize and streamline the innovation and deployment of internal applications, allowing the firm to take advantage of ideas in Big Data and virtualization. Long-term vision is a luxury reserved for those who have been at one institution as long as Kumar has.

 

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