60% want a different job title to reflect their expanding role
A BNP Paribas Securities Services global survey released today shows that chief operating officers (COOs) are more focused than ever on growth and transformation, reflecting financial institutions’ drive to adapt to change.
Key findings – overall:
- While risk management remains a key part of the role (cited by 42% of respondents), COOs said that driving growth opportunities, including new products and services (52%), and delivering transformational and significant change projects (39%), have become essential.
- This trend is particularly marked in APAC where 56% of COOs ranked transformation as their top priority (vs. 26% in North America).
- COOs overwhelmingly recognise the role IT has to play in driving transformation. 68% of COOs say they collaborate closely or very closely with IT. 38% say they want greater collaboration with technology and IT departments.
- Again, the trend is more marked in APAC where 52% of APAC respondents said they wanted closer collaboration with technology and IT departments.
- COOs globally recognise that they cannot simply rely on technology alone. Asked what could help drive transformation projects and business growth, 67% of COOs said upskilling the workforce while 60% said spending time with clients.
Key findings – buy-side:
Highlighting the increasing competition and ongoing digital transformation in the asset management industry:
- 63% of asset manager COOs cited increased competition in the market as a key challenge.
- 59% of asset manager COOs said they saw themselves spending more time on delivering change projects in future (vs. 43% overall). Nearly a quarter (24%) would prefer to be called chief change officer (vs. 17% overall).
- 61% of asset manager COOs said they were looking for closer collaboration with IT or technology departments (vs. 38% overall). Furthermore, asset manager COOs were most likely to come from technology or IT backgrounds (35%), whereas COOs across financial services were more likely to come from finance or accounting backgrounds.
Key findings – sell-side:
COOs in sell-side organisations show renewed focus on performance, growth and costs, after previously focusing on implementing new regulations:
- 56% of sell-side COOs cited commercial acumen as the most important competency to have in the future (vs. 38% on the buy-side) – a twofold increase compared to today.
- 42% of sell-side COOs saw themselves spending more time on realising cost savings in future (vs. 32% currently).
- Sell-side COOs were most likely to feel the COO title is still relevant. Only half of respondents felt an alternative (such as chief strategy officer) was more appropriate (vs. 66% on the buy-side).
Alain Pochet, Head of Client Delivery at BNP Paribas Securities Services, said:
“BNP Paribas Securities Services has been working with COOs for decades and we have witnessed first-hand the challenges COOs are facing to transform the client and employee experience. Our survey shows that COOs are adapting quickly to meet these challenges, and are embracing their growing remit. Crucially, they are not relying on new technology alone, but are also upskilling their workforce, a combination which could prove key to the successful transformation of financial institutions.”
The Future COO: Evolution or Revolution? report is available here. It is based on interviews with 250 financial services COOs worldwide. Interviews were conducted in Q4 2019.