Nicole Arnaboldi has a strong track record in bringing private equity and alternative investment choices to clients. But her group also regularly rakes in honors for more traditional fare, like its bond funds in the European market, which were singled out this year for merit by the likes of Lipper and Morningstar. A big move this year was the launch of a liquid alternatives fund, which comes with looser terms on capital lock-ups versus most hedge funds.
Arnaboldi also devotes time to mentoring female talent at Credit Suisse, and directs the recruiting of women for her division.
A mother of four, she strongly advocates the use of flex scheduling to accommodate female executives. "As for barriers, I think some are self imposed," she said in an interview with TheGlassHammer.com. "But firms also have a responsibility. How do they retain women when the bulk of childcare responsibilities, in our society, falls on women? â€¦ How can firms support and provide opportunities for women?"
Moelis & Co. had barely gotten its first foreign office, in London, off the ground when Elizabeth Crain began spearheading the fast expansion of the New York-based investment bank into Hong Kong, Beijing and Germany.
Now she's looking into options for pushing into France, India and Brazil. The possibilities include a de novo office or an acquisition, thanks to a $93 million strategic investment by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. that Crain helped evaluate. It wouldn't be Crain's first global build-out; she played a critical role in the expansion of the investment banking platform for UBS before leaving to help star UBS banker Ken Moelis get his namesake firm off the ground five years ago.
Crain's 20-year career in financial services includes jobs as a principal with Morgan Stanley Capital Partners and as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch. She is an active mentor and a member of 100 Women in Hedge Funds, a global organization supporting educational programming and philanthropy.
With 25% year-over-year revenue growth in the first quarter, PNC Capital Markets and its president and CEO, Charlotte McLaughlin, already had the makings of a good year despite a tough market. But after parent company PNC Financial Services' acquisition of RBC Bank in March for a stronger Southeast footprint, and PNC Capital's aggressive marketing and cross-selling plans, that may be an understatement by yearend.
McLaughlin has found new focal points for sales efforts, and they're paying off handsomely. The derivatives group, for example, has focused on building customized solutions for clients seeking to hedge their interest-rate exposure. The group's sales are up 73 percent over 2011 levels, making it the fastest growing of all of McLaughlin's lines of business. McLaughlin has been central to building the capital markets broker-dealer group, with increased activity in originating mortgage-backed securities and underwriting municipal bonds. There's also the financial institutions group led by McLaughlin, where revenue is outpacing last year's as clients, which are generally awash in liquidity right now, seek to hedge their interest-rate risk.
Fidelity's personal investing unit was aggressive in branch expansion in 2011, leading to a doubling of the households served by Fidelity and the addition of 1,500 employees. Under the leadership of Kathleen Murphy, the firm also made progress in building up customer service in new channels. Fidelity launched mobile billpay functions for smartphones and tablets, online retirement tools for IRA management, and a revamped iPad app (No. 2 in popularity among financial apps in the iTunes store) that gives retail investors interactive charting capabilities as well as worldwide market performance trends.
Murphy's division also started a fixed-income research and education center on Fidelity.com to give consumers market data comparable to that available to institutional investors. Murphy's business has more than 13 million accounts with $1.2 trillion in assets under management. Prior to joining Fidelity, Murphy served as CEO of ING U.S. Wealth Management.
Under Elizabeth Buse's guidance, overseas payments volume for Visa is growing at a hare's pace: second-quarter payments volume was up 13% in the Asia Pacific region and more than 40% in Central Europe/Middle East/Africa. The increases didn't come easily. Buse's team deals with developing markets where Visa acceptance frequently is limited to top-tier cities with the appropriate infrastructure and an adequate concentration of cardholders.
The group has jumped quickly on new technology like mobile point-of-sale acceptance. Buse also has sought to align Visa's strategy with the needs of local governments and communities, such as gearing Visa investments toward public priorities like transportation, travel and financial education.
With Visa seeking to garner more than 50% of its global business from the markets under Buse's leadership-a goal it hopes to achieve by 2015-Buse has been relocating personnel to growth markets in her regions. It's a calling she herself has followed, having moved with her family to Singapore for hands-on oversight in the Asia-Pacific region.