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Mellon Focused on Bank of New York Merger and new Private Wealth Management Platform

New technology from Pittsburgh-based Mellon Private Wealth Management will transform the way wealth managers interact with ultra-high-net-worth clients' other advisers, according to Tim Tully, the firm's senior vice president and chief operating officer.

Q: How will Mellon Private Wealth Management fit into the new, combined company with Bank of New York?

A: Tim Tully, Mellon Private Wealth Management: The Bank of New York has a large international exposure, while ours is small but growing. Bank of New York also has a tremendous wealth management presence in the tristate area, much larger than what Mellon has today. We are really excited about leveraging those possibilities.

Q: Where are Mellon's regional strengths?

A: Mellon Financial's strengths are in the mid-Atlantic, the Northeast, the West Coast, the Florida area and, obviously, Pittsburgh. Mellon Private Wealth Management has about 60 offices today, including an office in London. With the merger, we will have about 80 offices.

Q: As a former CIO, what technology opportunities do you see in the combined company?

A: We are really early in the process. In the asset-servicing side of both companies, which is typically dominated by a lot of technology investment, there is going to be a lot of analysis and debate on how to combine the businesses. When it comes to the private wealth management side, ... we will have to see what is best for our clients and best for the firm.

Q: What event/trend will define financial services in 2007?

A: There are a lot of geopolitical events that can impact the markets, such as Iraq or the change in control of Congress. Wealth preservation will be sought after by firms, and there are more and more firms putting their resources into the high-net-worth marketplace. Also, it will be interesting to see how the real estate market plays out. It seems that a lot of people are taking their money out of real estate and putting it on the sidelines or into the market.

Q: How will Web 2.0 change the industry?

A: A lot of the capabilities that we are looking at today that you would categorize as Web 2.0 are things that we have been using internally as it relates to research and to facilitating information exchange. Mellon has more than 17,000 employees today, and when the merger is complete there will be more than 40,000. Web 2.0 technologies will enhance communication and hopefully speed up integration.

As for how it will enhance our external customer strategy, it's too early to tell. While our larger institutional-like customers put a lot of pressure on us to provide newer technology, the individual and banking customers are more focused on product availability and service. We meet with them frequently, and we find out about their goals. But that is very private in nature and very personalized -- I'm not sure if our customers would want to share that information with others via Web 2.0 technology.

Q: What business trends will change the private wealth management business in 2007?

A: We have a large initiative that we are going to roll out in the second quarter. We see this as a transformational technology for the family office business and our midtier business -- clients with $25 million or more in investable assets. We are trying to give them more access to information and allow them to [establish] more-role-based access to information. Someone with several million dollars in investments has relations with lawyers and accountants and a variety of people; they may want certain people to have access to data on specific particulars of their portfolio. We are working on a Web-based capability to provide [partial] access, such as allowing their accountant to see one particular statement but not the remainder of the portfolio. We are also excited to see how this will help our individual high-net-worth clients as today's institutional demand for technology is tomorrow's individual need for technology.

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Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio

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