Top Cop Hops: Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White will step down from her post in January, two years before the end of her term. Her legacy will be mixed: though strong on enforcement, she failed to reshape Wall Street. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has been a harsh critic of White (as we've written about in this column previously — here and here, for example), but Slate suspects the skeptical left may miss White and even wish she had stayed on the remaining two years of her term, once Donald Trump — who has vowed to dismantle Dodd-Frank — takes office. White is the first major Obama appointee to announce her departure after Trump's election win last week. But she "wasn't another Obama regulator," the WSJ says in an editorial. "In a partisan era, the independent Ms. White was the rare Obama regulatory chief who resisted politicization … a true independent in one of history's most ideological administrations." White, who has said she intended to leave regardless of who won the election, recently did a BankThink piece for us in which she recalled her first high-powered meeting where women outnumbered men and explained what the SEC is doing to help promote board diversity.
But Yellen Won't Go: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says she plans to serve out her term heading the central bank, ending speculation that she could resign earlier and give Donald Trump another important appointment to make when he takes office in January. "I was confirmed by the Senate to a four-year term which ends at the end of January 2018, and it is fully my intention to serve out that term," Yellen said this morning, in response to a question by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., at a Joint Congressional Economic Committee hearing. Yellen also defended the Dodd-Frank Act and the independence of the Fed in her comments at the hearing. Trump has been critical of Dodd-Frank, the Fed and Yellen, but as noted in this column last week, there was no plan to urge her to resign as chair.
Technological Shift: Credit KeyCorp's speedy integration of First Niagara — which got done just a couple of months after the acquisition closed — to its philosophy about technology. "The way we manage technology here is integral to our business strategy; we don't think of them as separate things," said Amy Brady, chief information officer for the $136 billion-asset Cleveland company. "Technology influences business strategy as much as the business strategy influences it. They are so intertwined that at this point that's the way it has to work." About 10 years ago IT was more of a cost center operation, Brady said. CIOs "weren't considered part of the C-Suite" and many didn't report directly to the chief executive officer. "But Beth and I have regular conversations about bringing transformational solutions to the table," Brady said, referring to KeyCorp Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney. "Now, more than ever, as a CIO you want to really drive transformation." (Both Brady and Mooney are among our Most Powerful Women in Banking.)
Machine Reading Between the Lines: Artificial intelligence helps Nasdaq's risk and surveillance officers monitor 14 million trades a day and innumerable chats and emails for every trace of insider abuse and market manipulation, says Valerie Bannert-Thurner, head of risk and surveillance for the exchange. "If people are excessively profitable given how they trade and in comparison to everybody else trading the same instruments with similar styles, then we ask, is this luck or something else?" she said. "You just can't outperform the market all the time." Nasdaq's AI software uses natural language processing and machine intelligence to understand the language traders use and identify the key indicators of manipulation. For example, by saying something like "Let's take this conversation offline," or "I'll call you on my mobile," traders trigger an alert and a closer look at trades that were made right after the message was sent. "Our entire existence is based on having the best detection mechanism possible," Bannert-Thurner says. "We think machine learning will make a significant difference in how we detect behaviors, how we help people review and investigate."
Too Good to Be True or Too Good to Pass Up?: The woman running Tracy Anderson's fitness and lifestyle brand, Maria Baum, says lessons she learned on the trading floor during her former Wall Street life now help her succeed as an entrepreneur. One of them is: be on the lookout for value constantly and do not give up if an opportunity seems too good to be true. "I would get this all the time from people on the trading floor: 'Well, if that trade exists … why is it there? Someone else should have done that already.'" Baum says people should have the confidence to assess the situation and say to themselves, "'It's there because it was waiting for me … and now I'm going to do it.'" Another lesson is: learn to cut your losses. On Wall Street, "when you put a trade on, you know exactly what you're looking for, where you're looking to make profit, and also where you're looking to stop a loss." Baum used to be a global macro proprietary trader at Lehman Brothers.
Know Your Customer: Having a keen sense of customer needs is a skill, says Yvette Butler, president of Capital One Investing. "Without that understanding, you're building products and talking to customers blindly, and based on assumptions or business objectives, not what will really 'move' the end user." In a wide-ranging interview, Butler also talks about what she sees as the biggest issues for women in the workplace. "We can all be a little less modest and highlight our contributions more aggressively. When it comes to promotions and stretch roles, remember that no one is going to tap you on the shoulder," she says. Other topics she covers include work-life balance, role models, and the highlights (and lowlights) of her tenure at Capital One Investing.
Nasdaq's Adena Friedman has been promoted to chief executive officer. Bob Greifeld, who has been CEO since 2003, is shifting to the chairman role. Last year Friedman became more outspoken about her long-term ambition of becoming a CEO. Overall Friedman has worked at least two decades at Nasdaq, where she began as an intern. In 2011 she resigned from her job as chief financial officer for the stock exchange to take the same role at the Carlyle Group. Many on Wall Street speculated that her return to Nasdaq as president meant she would eventually take over as CEO.
Summit State Bank in Santa Rosa, Calif., named Brandy Seppi chief lending officer. She was previously chief credit officer.
In Case You Missed It
Real Talk: The global head of human capital at Goldman Sachs, Edith Cooper, offers three lessons for advancing diversity at work. 1) Engage in dialogue about race. 2) Listen well and choose your words carefully and respectfully. 3) Leverage what you have in common with others instead of focusing on differences. In the wake of events in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas earlier this year, Goldman's leadership began providing forums for its staff to share their perspectives, she says. "I honestly believe that a mandatory first step in addressing the issues surrounding race is conversation — because honest dialogue reaps understanding and understanding reaps progress." (Cooper is on our Most Powerful Women in Finance list.)
Any Questions for Me?: Solemates cofounder Becca Brown worked at Goldman Sachs before turning to entrepreneurship, interviewing 20 to 30 candidates a year for analyst, wealth adviser, chief of staff and other roles. The one question candidates never asked her: Where do you see yourself in five years? Brown thinks it would have been a good one. "It's an important question for anyone to be asking him or herself, and so if ever a candidate were to ask this question, it would have stood out," Brown says.
Learning from Failure: Read up on Beth Mooney and other women who have broken glass ceilings, and the failures they faced before doing so. Because Mooney tried to change her career path early on and didn't have the on-paper credentials required for a job at another bank, she had to make a big case to its head of training. Mooney played up the things she learned from her entry-level secretarial job, leveraging those experiences as she was trying to switch her path.
Rest in Peace: E. Lee Hennessee, a female pioneer in the hedge fund industry and the creator of one of the first indexes to track its secretive transactions, died of a stroke on Oct. 29. She was 64. Hennessee began working on Wall Street in 1976 and was an early supporter of the industry association 100 Women in Hedge Funds.
How Trump Got Her Vote: A female Muslim immigrant wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post about why she voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. "I most certainly reject the trifecta of 'hatred/division/ignorance.' I support the Democratic Party's position on abortion, same-sex marriage and climate change," she said. "But I am a single mother who can't afford health insurance under Obamacare. The president's mortgage-loan modification program, 'HOPE NOW,' didn't help me. Tuesday, I drove into Virginia from my hometown of Morgantown, W.Va., where I see rural America and ordinary Americans, like me, still struggling to make ends meet, after eight years of the Obama administration." Separately, Clinton made her first post-election speech at the Children's Defense Fund's "Beat the Odds" Gala on Wednesday, reflecting on her loss and paying tribute to her mom who had been abandoned as a child. Watch a clip of that speech here.
#ThxBirthControl: Concern over what might happen to health care benefits under the new administration has prompted the #ThxBirthControl movement on social media, in which women are sharing how important access to birth control is to them. Planned Parenthood has received more than 160,000 donations since the Trump-Pence victory last week — 20,000 of which came in the name of vice president-elect Mike Pence.
If You're in New York City: Through December 11, you can check out a free exhibit of Annie Leibovitz's new portraits of women, courtesy of UBS. The photographs feature a wide range of subjects, including Patti Smith, Serena Williams, Hillary Clinton and Misty Copeland. You'll find the setting is especially appropriate — the exhibit is at the former Bayview Correctional Facility (and the future home of the Women's Building). New York is the first stop on a world tour of 10 cities that also includes London and San Francisco.
Bonnie McGeer contributed to this report.
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