E*Trade Financial Corp.
135 E. 57th Street
New York, NY 10022
SIZE OF FIRM:
Market capitalization of $10.3 billion.
E*Trade, EVP of technology; Deutsche Bank, COO for equity trading; Morgan Stanley, principal, technology.
B.A. in international finance from George Washington University.
WHO WAS YOUR MENTOR?
Josh Levine, former CTO of E*Trade, and I have known each other and worked together for a long time. Josh brings a pretty in-depth knowledge of the business as well as a lot of knowledge about technology to the CIO role. He's very good at seeing where we can go with technology and knowing how it can help the business.
WHAT WORK EXPERIENCE HAS HAD THE MOST LASTING IMPRESSION ON YOUR CAREER?
There was definitely a moment -- one of those moments where you learn why you need to lead. It was a slightly negative experience at Morgan Stanley -- it was a very, very large market data consolidation effort for the firm. It involved a lot of money, it was a complicated project and it involved a lot of people. It didn't come to fruition largely because it needed leadership, and I could have filled that void.
Top 3 Current Projects
New Online Financial Products
Objective:Right now we are the low-cost provider in the online brokerage space. What we want to do is bring those skills to other products, such as lending and cash management. We brought two things to online brokerage -- value and, by using technology, we've been able to provide forward-thinking innovative products. But they're only innovative for a few months. We've got to stay ahead.
Protecting Customers and Customer Data
Objective:The goal is to find the very small percentage of authorizations or authentications that might be suspect and then decide whether you want to take action in that session. Over the next few quarters we'll be putting together the steps to take actions while reducing false positives. In a couple of quarters it will be in its full glory -- fully automated risk assessment.
Optimizing Open Source Development
Objective:We're going to adopt a kind of community development philosophy. We're going to utilize the way the community develops software for E*Trade proprietary development. We're going to solve some issues about unwieldy packages and make E*Trade more nimble. There are new entities called open source outsourcing companies, and we're working with a company called Simula Labs. While you are not doing the development yourself, this open source "outsourcing" is not outsourcing in the classic sense.
Web Services Development
We're going to start thinking about how people can interact with our Web services, but not in a way that you have to be a programmer to understand. We're going to provide services just like RSS -- a feed you can use to stream data from etrade.com to wherever you want. That could be a spreadsheet to do trades or a My Yahoo! page.
IT Budget:Approximately $180 million.
Key Technology Management:
- Lee Thompson, Chief Technologist,
- Kurt Smith, SVP, Global Infrastructure and Quality Assurance,
- Ayman Abukhater, SVP, Head of Global Retail Development,
- Hartley Caldwell, VP, Enterprise Applications,
- Bruce Danzinger, VP, Software Engineering,
- Mark Gunter, VP, International Retail Development
Size of Technology Team:700 people.
Percent of IT Projects Outsourced:Approximately 10 percent.
Key Technology Partners:RSA Security.
Success Metrics:A market cap that doubled year over year is an indication of our success. We are so close to the business that our technology projects directly affect the bottom line.
The notion of a home page like etrade.com -- in that you have a destination and that's where you go to transact your financial business -- is going to seem quaint in a few years. We need to find a way to engage customers in the way they interact online. It's thinking about how RSS works and how people construct their own Web experience. Web 2.0 constructs will help with that.