29 Nov Wealth management leader: an interview with Annie Sinigagliese
Annie Sinigagliese, Vice-President, Chief Product Officer at Croesus was named a 2022 5-Star Leading Woman in Wealth by Wealth Professional magazine. Croesus meets with her to learn more about her vision as an industry leader.
For more than twenty years, Sinigagliese has worked in the financial services industry where she is recognized for her expertise and in-depth knowledge of the industry, of its regulatory framework and the changing roles of financial professionals, both in Canada and internationally.
She has held a number of senior positions with such prominent institutions as the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC), the National Bank Independent Network (NBIN), Brockhouse & Cooper and the Montréal Exchange (TMX Group).
“I did not have a standard career in the financial sector. I have held positions of Chief Financial Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Managing Director representing the financial industry’s interests with regulators and governments. My current role does not follow the typical path either as I am tasked with product vision in a technology firm,” she admits.
Croesus: What led you to become a leader?
Annie Sinigagliese: I am fundamentally very impatient. I must get in on the action, solve problems, learn and surpass myself on a continuous basis and I know how to surround myself with people sharing the same mindset.
I have been very lucky throughout my career, being in the most outstanding teams, where collaboration is constant and everyone is working towards a common goal. This type of successful environment is extremely motivating.
The Croesus Product team offers a great example of that, as it is composed of motivated individuals who want to create better products for our users, and who help each other in a friendly and positive setting.
I must also mention my parents’ influence, who instilled in me the values of perseverance and of always doing things for the right reasons.
C: What does it mean to be an industry leader?
A.S.: Being a leader means taking action when the situation requires it, without being afraid of your convictions or criticism. You have to be fuelled by challenges, must be comfortable with the unknown and be able to stay on course despite obstacles and forces that try to destabilize you.
The ability to build harmonious relationships and consensus is essential. You must surround yourself with people that have strengths and skills that make your team better. A good leader is also a good listener and a good observer.
In wealth management in particular, being a leader starts with properly understanding the needs of investment advisors, portfolio managers, and compliance officers alike.
As for Croesus, the company has been serving top-tier financial institutions for 35 years, while remaining at the cutting-edge of technological innovations. Its ability to carry out large-scale projects to better serve its clients has been the key to its success.
Croesus develops features that meet not only current, but future needs of its users. To maintain its leadership role, Croesus must understand the aspects that influence investor satisfaction in order to provide wealth management professionals with the tools needed to better serve their own clients.
Finally, the current industry regulations must be well understood in order to transform the regulatory constraints into opportunities for our customers.
C: What will be the innovations in our industry?
A.S.: I note, amongst others, two key trends that could positively transform our industry.
First, there is the investment democratization that takes into account environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. Although the definitions of these factors are still imperfect, it is a step in the right direction for a better future.
Next, since I am involved in the artificial intelligence sector, I have the opportunity to observe the spectacular technological progress linked to the use of AI and machine learning.
From the technical standpoint, cloud computing and APIs are technological innovations that accelerate the digital transformation at a lower cost. The Croesus development strategy is actually based on these innovations. Open banking should also have an accelerating effect on the industry’s evolution, to investors’ benefit.
Croesus’s main objective is to make life simple for its users so that they can spend more time interacting with their own clientele. Our products must therefore allow better portfolio management, centralized account rebalancing based on predefined models, and produce insightful information for investors, all in a fast and easy manner. This involves automating many tasks and processes.
For obvious reasons, all of the tools must maintain high standards in terms of personal information protection and cybersecurity.
C: Speaking of cybersecurity, are there other issues that technology needs to address?
A.S.: One of the major challenges in our industry is the constant change in regulations. Fortunately, regulatory bodies work together to standardize norms, even at the international level. Technology helps financial institutions ensure their operations are compliant, which protects investors as a result.