Most Powerful Women in Finance: No. 25, BNP Paribas' Claudine Gallagher
Head of Securities Services for the Americas, BNP Paribas
Sometimes it can take years to find the right deal.
Just ask Claudine Gallagher, who faced the biggest leadership challenge of her career as BNP Paribas searched for a mutual fund administration and accounting business that could be “lifted out” to complete BNP Paribas Securities Services’ U.S. product offering. Without it, the French banking giant would never be able to penetrate the U.S. asset management sector as it wanted.
Gallagher endured several failed attempts and near misses. The first deal fell through in 2012, as did a second a year later. A third target received a better offer, scuttling the deal just days before the signing in 2015. Discussions with a fourth asset manager in 2016 ended because it was not a good fit.
BNP Paribas began its fifth attempt later that same year and, finally, on April 1, 2018 after 15 months of discussion, it closed on the acquisition of the U.S. middle and back office operations of Janus Henderson.
“The irony is that Janus was our first target identified in 2012,” Gallagher said. “This was the deal we always wanted to do.”
Acquiring Janus Henderson boosted BNP Paribas’ U.S. assets under administration by $138 billion, for a total of $174 billion. It catapulted the firm into the top 10 U.S. mutual fund administrators. (BNP Paribas will also assume the provision of custody services for Janus Henderson’s U.S. regulated funds.)
Gallagher said that the hard part was maintaining the resiliency of the team.
“Every time our deal attempts failed, it could have broken the team. It would have been easy to throw in the towel, but we knew — thanks to our collective purpose — that if a deal didn't work it was because there was a better one out there for us. And there was!”
In May 2018, Gallagher was elected to join the board of directors of the
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.; she will represent the firm’s securities services, which she runs, and the firm's global markets business. She will be one of 20 senior industry executives on the board.
Gallagher is also the only woman business leader to serve on the BNP Paribas Americas Benefits Committee. She fought this year to maintain benefits and prescription drug coverage, particularly for women.