With global responsibility for JPMorgan Chase's custody and clearance business, Kelly Mathieson oversees a group where assets under custody exceed U.S. GNP, and where $2 trillion is cleared daily to support the activities of global investment banks, broker-dealers and the primary dealers of U.S. securities. Last October, she took on additional duties managing direct custody and clearing, foreign exchange and cash for a new investor services business, housed within the Worldwide Securities Services division.
But where Mathieson really shines is in applying her markets expertise to niche areas such as microfinance (in 2004 she addressed the U.N. General Assembly on the impact of microlending) and in serving as a problem solver who can help her firm get a handle on transformational changes affecting the business.
In Europe, she has met with regulators drafting new rules for alternative investment fund managers, as the measures could have a substantial impact not just on the funds but on their custodian banks. Here at home, she has been a vocal proponent of reforms to the tri-party repo market, and sits on a New York Fed task force on the issue. She also has dealt with regulators on the crafting of the Volcker rule.
Janice Fukakusa will tell you she wasn't a conventional choice for either of her two main jobs at Royal Bank of Canada. Though her long tenure with the company had spanned a wide range of businesses and corporate functions-retail banking, corporate banking, audit, strategic development-she didn't have an extensive background in finance or in technology and operations, all of which are under her purview as CFO and chief administrative officer for Canada's largest financial services institution.
But straying from her comfort zone has once again paid off. Fukakusa is one of nine senior executives responsible for overall management of the bank, and she is a key spokesperson for the company in front of investors, regulators and clients.
As CFO, she led the company's conversion this year from Canadian GAAP to International Financial Reporting Standards, a complex switch in accounting standards.
On the technology and operations side, she has championed green solutions that have helped to lower costs. A server decommissioning program, for example, reduced energy needs in the company's data centers, while offering a Web version of the annual report, complete with video and interactive content, substantially lowered printing and mailing costs. The expense reductions have been a big priority for Fukakusa.
She chairs an RBC committee responsible for slashing annual expense growth by 50 percent, something the company is on target to accomplish by 2014. She also played a big role in the divestiture of RBC Bank USA, which was sold this year to PNC Financial Services Group for $3.5 billion.
Fukakusa is involved in a long list of nonprofits, including the Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation, the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and United Way. She also got RBC involved in WEConnect Canada, which certifies women-owned firms and connects female entrepreneurs with businesses looking for diverse suppliers.
Low rates are a direct headwind for any deposit-based business. But even in the current rate environment, Elyse Weiner, who has management responsibility for 40 percent of Citi's firm-wide deposit base, has delivered impressive performance. She repositioned the balance sheet by restructuring the deposit mix and implementing pricing and hedge programs for new deposit products, contributing to healthy year-over-year increases in net interest income and net interest margin. She also developed a treasury advisory group to complement the product management offered to clients, which include 15 of the world's largest asset management companies.
Weiner moved from JPMorgan Chase to Citi in 2004, and has been a key voice on changes to the Basel framework, representing the firm before regulators, government agencies and peer banks. In 2011, she co-authored a paper on Basel III liquidity regulation that was subsequently adopted by the Institute for International Finance and submitted to the Basel committee. She also is readying CTS for other developments, including the eventual expiration of unlimited FDIC deposit insurance for non-interest bearing deposits, upcoming deadlines for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requirements and the potential for new regulations of money market funds.
When she joined Capital One from Wachovia in 2009, Colleen Taylor found a jumble of systems underpinning the bank's treasury services business, the result of a rapid expansion and multiple acquisitions. Over the next year, she and her team spent much of their time preparing the business case for a substantial investment in infrastructure. She won approval for a three-year, multimillion-dollar budget, the bulk of which was apportioned in 2011, with more than two dozen new products or product enhancements brought onboard. She also restructured the sales coverage, creating dedicated teams for high-value clients, and instilled closer cooperation between operations, technology and business line staff. The partnership has yielded some dramatic improvements in key areas, such as the straight-through processing rate on wires.
In addition to treasury services, Taylor oversees Capital One's merchant-acquiring business, which has been growing at a double-digit pace since her arrival. Taylor previously was SVP over global payments and liquidity services at Wachovia Bank, and before that spent 15 years in treasury services at JPMorgan Chase and the former Chase Manhattan, spending time in London as head of Chase's Europe, Middle East and Africa strategy for financial institutions and corporate clients.
Taylor is on the boards of NACHA, the electronic payments association, and PayCo, the payments and settlements arm of The Clearing House Payments Co. Among her many philanthropic endeavors, for 11 years she has lent her financial expertise to the Veritas Therapeutic Community, a drug rehabilitation agency based in Harlem, serving two terms as treasurer and initiating merger discussions when funding challenges prompted the need for a partner. (The talks led to the recent merger with another local nonprofit.)
Mentorship has been a key focus for Taylor, who says that one of the most interesting programs she's been involved in was a "reverse" mentor program, in which senior executives were paired with lower-ranking employees from diverse populations. The idea was to give the executives a chance to ask questions and gain exposure to different cultures and backgrounds represented in the employee base, while giving the mentees an opportunity to engage with senior leadership.
The portions of the Durbin amendment that took effect last October had a profound impact on the debit card business, one of Lynn Heitman's main areas of responsibility at U.S. Bank. Heitman had to make big changes to comply with new limits on interchange rates and changes to provisions around network exclusivity. She also worked closely with U.S. Bancorp's retail banking business to identify ways to replace revenue lost to the new regulations.
In the midst of all the changes to the debit model, Heitman, who has worked in the payments industry for 25 years, also introduced two new credit cards (the U.S. Bank Cash + Visa Signature rewards card and the U.S. Bank Business Charge Card) and led the build-out of product development, branch sales support and customer experience teams.
Beginning last year, her group started reaping the benefits of a collaborative effort to improve card sales, with retail branch employees now incentivized to ask customers to compare their current cards with the features of U.S. Bank's credit cards. The result? A 40 percent jump in card sales at U.S. Bank branches.