Hi RegTech Women, Nicola Cowburn here bringing you the latest RegChats blog.
It’s hard to believe it’s March already! Having attended six in-person events this month it certainly seems that RegTech is beginning to return to something approaching normality. It was also heart-warming to see international delegates returning.
With global business in mind it was great to catch up with Emmy Granström, Global Head of Marketing at SteelEye. This is a RegTech that is going from strength to strength and has ambitious plans to expand its presence in North America this year.
Nicola: Tell us a bit about yourself and your role, Emmy.
Emmy: I’m a Swedish native and after living in the UK for 10 years I acquired British citizenship six months ago, which is very exciting. I started my career in a Telecoms startup, in marketing and sales, before joining a London-based subsidiary of the Cinnober Group that was building the MiFID II Approved Publication Arrangement, TradEcho, together with the London Stock Exchange. So, I went straight from Telecoms into heavy duty RegTech.
I didn’t make a conscious decision to be a marketer, but marketing came naturally to me. I’m both a strategic thinker and a hands-on creative do-er, so very quickly I rose through the ranks from Marketing Assistant and Sales Support to become co-Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications. When Cinnober was acquired by NASDAQ I was approached to join SteelEye, and three years later I’ve recently been promoted to Global Head of Marketing.
I am responsible for creating the marketing strategy that will enable us to meet our growth objectives. Regulation is complex. Many firms still apply manual processes and have a patchwork of legacy systems. SteelEye brings together structured and unstructured data – such as trades, orders, communications, spreadsheets – into one platform for record keeping, surveillance, and analytics.
In my role, I spend a lot of time thinking about who we should be targeting and devising specific positioning for each segment. And then I determine the tactics and tools needed to achieve success. Right now we are focused on opening global offices, which marks the next stage of growth for SteelEye. I'm hiring a global team, which is really, really fun.
Nicola: What trends and opportunities are you seeing in RegTech right now?
Emmy: WhatsApp compliance continues to hit the headlines. Top tier banks are getting huge enforcement fines – $200 million in one case – and regulators have a lot of investigations in flight. This increased scrutiny has sparked change in the industry, where many firms have recognised that they need to rethink their surveillance strategies. SteelEye has seen a massive increase in enquiries around record-keeping and eComms surveillance. Why? Because coming out of COVID, and with the new normal of remote working, regulators are pressuring financial institutions to improve their processes, policies and compliance.
We seem to be at a pivotal point where financial institutions are now investing to replace legacy systems, which is exciting for the industry as a whole.
Nicola: What one thing would make the RegTech world a better place?
Emmy: From a personal perspective I have to go with diversity. RegTech combines two areas that are traditionally very male dominated. In bringing together financial services and technology, you tend to see male dominated businesses where women are underrepresented. That said, there are a lot of fantastic RegTech startups that are working hard to embrace diversity and inclusion. Diverse workplaces excel in many areas, such as creativity, innovation and problem solving.
From a SteelEye perspective, more positive movement towards adoption of cloud and SaaS-based technologies is already under way, but financial institutions need to continue on that trajectory to achieve best outcomes for clients.
Nicola: What advice would you give to your fellow RegTech women about succeeding as a woman in the industry?
Emmy: I think women have many opportunities simply by virtue of the fact that we do stand out in a male dominated environment. That has definitely worked to my advantage in my career. Combined with hard work and dedication, standing out in the room has given me a position from which I can grow. So, don't be intimidated by large male teams. And don’t let the fact that there isn’t a huge amount of female representation in a firm influence whether you join them. In doing so you can bring change into that organisation.
Also, you don’t have to play the man game to succeed. Be authentic to yourself, don’t change yourself to emulate the men around you. You were hired because of your skills and experience, just be proud and competent, and keep doing what you’re doing.
- You don’t always need a well-defined, long term career plan to be successful. When you are versatile and open to accepting challenges, you open yourself up to the opportunity to grow and progress into a career you may not otherwise have considered.
- Don’t be deterred from entering male dominated environments. This presents the opportunity to stand out in the crowd and effect change.
- Given the fact that pandemic-induced remote working practices are here to stay, a major trend in RegTech concerns eComms surveillance. While channels like WhatsApp can help employees to communicate more effectively with clients, financial institutions are still grappling with increased compliance aspects that put their firms at risk.
- The RegTech sector would benefit from more diversity, and also from further acceleration in the adoption of cloud and SaaS-based infrastructures.