Last year, Citigroup's Suni Harford lived out of a suitcase visiting clients and account teams across the globe to bring them up to date on the stabilizing performance of the North American markets group. This year, Harford spent a lot of her time buried in red tape.
Harford was in charge of coordinating compliance for her group (a $6.5 billion-revenue division last year) and she spearheaded lobbying and regulatory outreach on Dodd-Frank Act rules, the JOBS Act and derivatives reform, among other things. The burdens of implementing and complying with the new rules forced Harford to institute wholesale changes to expense filing and procurement processes-everything from paper clips to IT service contracts," she says.
While cost-cutting was a priority, so was one of Harford's passions: finding opportunities for military veterans. She leads Citi's efforts to recruit veterans (more than 1,000 hired since January 2011) and was the driving force behind Citi's membership in Veterans on Wall Street, a program to raise awareness on the transition challenges faced by returning service personnel. She also took a co-head role for CitiWomen, the company's initiative to promote gender diversity.
"Research is seeing what everyone else has seen but thinking what no one else has thought."
Diane Schumaker-Krieg didn't say this, though she admires the 1937 Nobel Prize winning scientist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, who did. She applies this to her job at Wells Fargo Securities, by making it a priority to think differently. Having already encouraged collaborative research from debt and equity analysts to assess stocks from disparate viewpoints, Schumaker-Krieg in the past year expanded her group's target readership beyond brokerage clients to sell its intelligence to Wells Fargo clients in other areas such as corporate banking.
She also entered the municipal bond research space, recruiting high profile analyst Natalie Cohen. At a time when big-name analysts like Meredith Whitney were ominously forecasting a muni bond meltdown, Cohen took the opposite tack-and munis ended 2011 as one of the top performing asset classes.
Maria Elena Lagomasino's support of a universal fiduciary standard for broker-dealers has her marching against many in the securities industry.
But for someone who left a position heading JPMorgan Chase's private banking unit over concerns that major firms were placing proprietary investment product sales ahead of client interests, it's not surprising. She also is a founding member of the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, a think tank promoting investor-first fiduciary standards in financial advice.
Lagomasino has been at SunTrust-affiliated GenSpring for seven years, and oversees more than $20 billion in assets under management. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Economic Club of New York, serves on the boards of Coca Cola, Avon and The Americas Society, and is a trustee of the National Geographic Society.
Credit Suisse's Customized Fund Investment Group already is one of the world's largest private equity and real estate fund-of-funds businesses. Under Kelly Williams' leadership, it has a growing client pipeline that could add more assets under management in 2012 than in the last four years combined.
Emerging markets were at the center of Credit Suisse's institutional investment strategy in 2011 and 2012. Through partnerships with development banks in Asia and Africa, and a domestic focus on hard-hit U.S. states like Michigan, Williams was able to steer client funds into "impact" vehicles, where social good comingled with returns that helped drive a 10% spurt in net income for the business. The initial infrastructure fund put together by Williams' group closed last November with over $525 million of capital, much of which came from major pension plan investors.
Williams served on the advisory boards of private equity funds like TPG Partners, The Riverside Co. and Provident Equity Partners, and was appointed to the advisory board of the U.S. Export-Import Bank last year.
Lisa Carnoy will be proud to tell you how the global capital markets group at Bank of America Merill Lynch has been scaling the league tables, with worldwide market share rising from 6.6% at the end of 2009 to 8.2% at the end of last year, according to Dealogic. But in this new, regulatory capital-driven environment, Carnoy is thinking bigger picture about the velocity of capital, and deals like United Technologies' $9.8 billion bond issue in May, the largest U.S. corporate bond offering in more than three years. Her firm was a joint bookrunner on the deal, designed to help finance United Technologies' acquisition of Goodrich.
Carnoy, who reports to global corporate and investment banking chief Christian Meissner, previously was global head of equity capital markets, a role that put her at the center of the $19 billion capital raise that helped Bank of America get out from under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. She was promoted to her current role soon after, in early 2010, sharing responsibility with Alastair Borthwick for a staff of 750 spanning 16 countries and the full spectrum of debt, equity, foreign exchange and derivatives origination markets.
Carnoy is an active recruiter for the firm and serves as executive sponsor of the global banking and markets group's Women's Leadership Council. She also is a trustee of Columbia University, alongside other banking executives including Esta Stecher of Goldman Sachs and Vikram Pandit of Citigroup.