Hi Ivan, welcome to our Fintech interview Series. Please tell us about your 25+ years of fintech journey so far.
After finishing my MBA at Wharton and The Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies, I joined the consulting firm Bain & Company in London. I mostly worked with companies to assess the impact of technology on their business. I also helped private equity firms conduct due diligence on potential investments. That period of the early 2000s dot-com boom transformed my view of the role of technology in business, and how disruptive it could be. I remember working with a global photographic film company to assess the potential impact of digital photography on their traditional film-roll business. Within five years, that historic global company was virtually gone. We are in a similar moment now with GenAI.
After Bain, I worked at the Bank of Scotland’s Edinburgh offices in the insurance and investments business. Then I joined State Street Bank in Boston. At State Street, I helped launch a new division focused on data and analytics. I also had the opportunity to launch their data management business, oversee the risk analytics business, and serve as Chairman and President of three software companies specialized in investment management technology (data aggregation, accounting, performance, and reporting).
After a decade at State Street, I spent a year (during Covid) working as an advisor to Boston Consulting Group and Warbug Pincus on investment opportunities in fintech. I helped Warburg invest in Clearwater Analytics, which I joined shortly thereafter.
What services does Clearwater Analytics provide? What does your client base look like?
Clearwater Analytics is the leader in institutional investment accounting, data management, analytics, and reporting. We have the market’s first and only SaaS-based single-instance multi-tenant investment accounting and analytics solution. That allows us to support more than $6.4 trillion in assets and provide radically simplified analytics and reporting.
Our clients are institutional investors including large corporations, insurance companies, and investment managers. We have clients across North America, EMEA, and Asia.
How does embracing smart collaboration helps companies increase revenues and profits, boost innovation, and recruit, engage, and retain great employees?
We face two major conflicting trends. First, people and organizations are becoming increasingly specialized. As their expertise develops, they tend to get narrower and deeper in their focus.
That’s essential to become an expert in any area. At the same time, the challenges we face (cyber security, GenAI, climate risk, etc.) are increasingly complex, ambiguous, and uncertain. To tackle problems like these, we need to bring together people with different expertise, different points of view, and different life experiences, and create an environment where they can bring that expertise to bear in a collaborative way. That’s what we call Smarter Collaboration. It’s a hyper-intentional way of analyzing problems, determining the expertise needed to address it, and creating an environment where the group can be successful.
Our research in hundreds of organizations, including technology, financial services, biotech, professional services, and media companies, empirically demonstrates that organizations that embrace the ideas of Smarter Collaboration drive better outcomes. This includes revenue growth, profits, and talent retention.
Individuals who practice smarter collaboration are more satisfied with their job, thanks to the ability to use their strengths and unique perspectives days in and day out. They understand it’s okay not to know everything—what more important is the ability to recognize who can help them, and at what point, to deliver the best solution to clients and customers.
Predictions suggest that 85% of corporate apps will be SaaS-based by 2025. What are your comments?
That’s clearly where technology is going. It simply doesn’t make sense, in most situations, to implement, host, maintain, and upgrade on-premise software. The challenge is that many legacy platforms will struggle to make the transition to SaaS. Sowe will continue to see disruption from new cloud-native platforms like Clearwater, which are simply more efficient, agile, and cost-effective than legacy tech.
How is Artificial Intelligence playing its role for your company? What more are you expecting out of the tech domain?
The energy that has gone into GenAI over the last three months is startling. We’ve spun up a dedicated team to work across the organization and identify ways AI can transform our business. They are looking at every aspect of our organization, from operations, to client service, to software development. At this early stage it’s hard to say where we will see the most benefit, but it’s going to change the way we do business—quickly. I’m excited because it has the potential to drive dramatic efficiency improvements, rapidly develop new capabilities, for our clients, and unleash capacity within our teams to focus on driving innovation. That said, we are also being thoughtful about the controls that need to be placed around the technology to ensure the risks are understood and effectively managed.
Name any 3 big investment accounting operational challenges.
One is data. Our clients want to use more sources of data (ESG-related information, for example) and they want the ability to quickly ingest it, structure it, and deliver it downstream for accounting, reporting, and analytics. The volume and complexity of the data continues to increase, especially when the data is locked up in unstructured or text-based forms like PDFs. SaaS platforms are transformational because you only have to bring that data in once, which can then support thousands of clients.
A second challenge is alternative investments (alts). Fixed income investment returns have been low for a long time (though finally going up recently). Because of that, our clients have made a major shift into alts over the past five years. These include limited partnerships, private placements, credit, mortgages, bank loans, and derivatives. These assets are far more complex in terms of acquiring the required data and performing the accounting, performance analytics, and reporting. Driving automation in alts-related workflows is a major focus at Clearwater.
A third challenge is infrastructure complexity and costs. Managing the investment management lifecycle historically required firms to knit together multiple disparate systems (portfolio management, analytics, data management, accounting, reporting, etc). Given most firms’ cost pressure and the ever-growing complexity of these environments, our clients are increasingly looking for fewer vendors that can provide more services in a more integrated way.
How is AI contributing towards the Digital space and in other relatable industries that you plan to dive into?
AI is influencing and enhancing many aspects of the digital world and I expect it will rapidly expand its reach. A few areas that stand out for me are:
- Data analysis and decision making: AI technologies, such as machine learning and predictive analytics, allow us to quickly analyze large datasets, extract insights, and drive data-driven decisions. This is particularly valuable for areas like financial forecasting, portfolio modeling, and risk analysis.
- Automation and efficiency: Tasks like data entry, data validation, and document creation can be automated, reducing human effort and errors, and freeing up time for more complex and creative tasks.
- Content generation: AI is being used to generate content, including emails, marketing material, investment commentary, and social media posts.
For our business at Clearwater Analytics, we expect AI technology to accelerate our development efforts. We will be able to more quickly provide new capabilities in adjacent areas like analytics, data management, and liquidity management.
Before we wrap up, please share a few tips that you’d like to share with fintech innovators and leaders.
I’ve worked in multiple areas of the fintech space at multiple companies, around the world. I’ve learned from each and been able to reapply that learning in new contexts and in novel ways to help drive innovation and grow businesses.
Collaborate. Seek out people with diverse experiences and different points of view. Create teams that are comfortable debating, challenging one another, and recognizing that great ideas often come from unexpected sources (like junior team members or people in non-tech functions).
A book that you would suggest to our readers.
Naturally I have to suggest Smarter Collaboration: A New Approach to Breaking Down Barriers and Transforming Work,which I co-authored with Dr. Heidi Gardner. After that, I think Amy Edmondson’s book, The Fearless Organization, provides great insights on creating teams and organizations where people can engage, speak their minds, and contribute to innovation.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the fintech industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
Eric Lee, Partner at Welsh, Carson, Anderson &Stowe has great insight into what’s driving change in the fintech industry.
Thank you, Ivan! That was fun and we hope to see you back on globalfintechseries.com soon.
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Ivan Matviak is an Executive Vice President at Clearwater Analytics, a fintech company focused on investment management software, data and analytics. Ivan has worked as a senior advisor to the Boston Consulting Group, Warburg Pincus and was an Executive in Residence at Battery Ventures. Previously Ivan was an EVP at State Street Bank and served as President/Chairman of three of the bank’s FinTech subsidiaries. Earlier in his career Ivan working at Bain & Co, and the Bank of Scotland in London and Edinburgh.
Ivan has published several articles on collaboration and strategy in Harvard Business Review and recently released Smarter Collaboration: A New Approach to Breaking Down Barriers and Transforming Work by HBR Press. Ivan’s co-author is his wife and Penn ’92 graduate Dr Heidi Gardner.
Ivan is a co-founder with Heidi of Smart Collaboration International, which provides technology and services to help individuals and organizations collaborate more effectively.
Ivan holds an MBA and MA in International Studies from the Wharton School of Business /Lauder Institute, and a BA in International Relations from Penn. Ivan is based in Boston and with his Lauder degree has worked in London, Edinburgh, Paris, Johannesburg and NY.
Clearwater Analytics is the leading provider of web-based investment portfolio accounting, reporting, and reconciliation services for institutional investors at thousands of organizations.
Clearwater aggregates, reconciles, and reports on more than $6.4 trillion in assets across thousands of accounts daily. Their clients include corporate treasuries, insurance companies, investment managers, banks, governments, and other institutional investors both in the United States and worldwide. For more than a decade, they have leveraged web-based software and world-class client service to help clients such as American Family Insurance, Arch Capital, C.V. Starr & Co., Cisco, Facebook, Oracle, Selective Insurance, Sirius Group, Sompo International, Starbucks, WellCare Health Plans, Wilton Re, and many others, streamline their investment and accounting operations.
Clearwater also works with hundreds of custodians, investment managers, dealers/brokers, and electronic trading portals who offer Clearwater to their many clients.