Lucy is a co-founder at Cyoda (it’s pronounced see-oh-da), an enabling technology within financial services. They help firms in a couple of areas. When an organisation is drowning in disparate data, with huge volumes coming into the building from all over and in different formats, Cyoda helps them bring the data together in a consistent way, at massive scale, and then allows firms to use that data. This data is used usually in an operational sense. So, not analytics but rather operational uses, such as reporting and operational processing. In nutshell, they make data usable, at scale in near real time or on a fast timely basis. The other area where they work is in innovation. Their data platform is also an application development platform. This means you can build applications really fast and easily. Lucy explained that their platform is also transparent and flexible so it can grow with their clients’ businesses as things change.
Lucy’s career began in fintech (before it was called fintech!). She worked in financial technology in the late 1990s as a Business Analyst and Project Manager putting systems into banks. She moved into a dotcom business in the first era of the tech wave back in the early 2000s at a spin-off of JP Morgan and Reuters. This felt like fire fighting a lot of the time so, in a bid to be more strategic, Lucy completed an MBA at INSEAD which assisted a move to strategy consulting, running strategy teams in banks. A personal friend at Cyoda invited her to join the firm, helping out initially whilst also managing parental responsibilities and eventually she became a co-founder, coming full circle back into technology.
Lucy sees RegTech as a microcosm of FinTech, of tech, of financial services. We know these are all male dominated fields. She acknowledges that in regulation and compliance there are slightly more women in these areas than in some other functions with financial services. She also makes the point that the same principles apply to other areas in financial services as they do to RegTech.
On diversity and equality, Lucy feels that the subjects are highly complex. She feels that when people begin to take on parenting responsibilities, you see the deeper level of the whole complexity of the equality issue. You see people take career gaps, you have career returner programmes and you see gaps between women and their partners. With Covid, and actually generally, you see that a lot of the time it is women who make career sacrifices for their children – chores at home, home schooling etc. Lucy was not impressed that the government dropped the gender pay gap reporting at the start of lockdown. This is going to do damage to gender equality unless there is a concerted effort from businesses and governments to bring it back. It’s added other issues too, for example, remote working is complex and it has clear pros and cons.
This was an interesting discussion particularly the reference to the paradox that remote working can be more inclusive and, in some cases, a great leveller for some minority groups and people who find it difficult to access office working/commuting, and for embracing an international workforce. However, you also have to introduce true and fair recruitment processes.
Lucy did not name a single person who has inspired her, preferring to offer that she has multiple sources of inspiration. However, she is very clear that we will never have 50:50 female:male representation in regtech but recognises that equality removes barriers. Whilst we need equal opportunities, she emphasises the complexity of measuring equality as you can’t have metrics for every aspect of diversity. Measuring is of course important but she is lukewarm on things like female specific awards. Diversity is evolving and it’s so much bigger than just gender so, in business, she feels you have to be clear on why you are asking questions and checking if there is bias in your questioning. Lucy views gender/ethnic diversity as proxies for diversity of thought. There is a tension between culture and diversity.
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