Both sides now

Over the past 22 years, Fabian Vandenreydt has spent much of his career working both with (securities) market infrastructures and their clients
By Editorial
Fabian Vandenreydt

Over the past 22 years, Fabian Vandenreydt has spent much of his career working both with (securities) market infrastructures and their clients

Fabian Vandenreydt’s involvement with the securities industry began in 1992 when he accepted a job at what was then the Euroclear Operations Centre of J.P. Morgan. Following that, he spent several years at Capco, involved in large front-to-back automation programs in the FX, equities, derivatives and fixed income arenas. Since 2004, when he joined SWIFT, Vandenreydt has served in numerous capacities, most of them close to the action in a range of securities post-trade reforms.

Looking back at the market infrastructure landscape, when he joined the industry, he is struck by the degree of change. “If I compare the industry then and now, what strikes me from a market infrastructure standpoint is the drastic evolution in the business models,” says Vandenreydt, with some infrastructures becoming banks and some banks turning into market infrastructures. “I remember when I was at Euroclear, the infrastructure landscape was simpler; there were basically Euroclear and Cedel. But now we see increasingly overt linkages between market infrastructures at both a CCP and CSD level,” he says. “The sheer topology of market infrastructures and global custody has changed dramatically.”

Vandenreydt sees the advent of T2S as a catalyst for further reform of the landscape. “Because of T2S, many market infrastructures will need to change their revenue model in the direction of new services such as collateral management, reference data or operations in-sourcing,” he predicts.

Change is also visible in other areas of the industry, says Vandenreydt. He points to the trading arena, where principal trading and agency trading were once seen as alternative ways of doing business. “That has changed enormously, while at the same time, there has been a slow blurring of roles along the transaction chain,” he says. “When I started at J.P. Morgan, I attended a class where we learnt the specific roles of a custodian, a broker, and an investment manager. Today it’s not as straightforward.”

Vandenreydt looks back at several projects he worked on at different stages of his career with some satisfaction. “I started as a junior product manager in the communications department at Euroclear. I was part of the team coordinating the rollout of the new Euclid platform for settlement and reporting and money transfer over a period of nearly two years,” he says. “At the time, we had to go and physically install things in the back offices of our clients. There was no ‘cloud’ then,” he recalls. “You had to turn up at your customers with instruction machines and screwdrivers and offer face-to-face training from Argentina to Norway to Hong Kong.” Not only was that an interesting experience in itself, says Vandenreydt, but it also gave him a clear view of the very different ways people approached back-office automation challenges.

“I also worked with various CSDs, CCPs and custodians when I was a consultant at Capco,” he says. “We were involved in the strategy re-thinking and redesign of several key middle- and back-office programs, most of them still bearing fruit as we speak.”

Vandenreydt’s enthusiasm for big multi-year projects is clear, even when they don’t come to fruition. “I haven’t had any major frustrations or disappointments,” he says. “You might work on a project and then for business reasons, it isn’t launched, but that happens in any industry. Everyone in the industry understands, and you always learn of lot. You need the right timing, high degree of focus and perfect alignment of all stakeholders to make these big programs happen.”

For the past decade, he has been helping grow SWIFT’s engagement with the securities industry, working extensively with top accounts and the Securities Committee of the SWIFT Board, to the extent that it now accounts for close to 50% of the cooperative’s traffic volume and some 70% of traffic growth (year to date 2014). At the same time, SWIFT’s securities community has broadened considerably, encompassing custodians, market infrastructures, brokers and, increasingly, investment managers. “We started with settlement messages but over the years have added asset servicing, funds, trade confirmation, and collateral management messages. Recently we’ve added a ‘business intelligence’ product for securities markets, so our business is really expanding in all directions.”

“I’ve spent different parts of my career working with market infrastructures, but also with their broker, custodian and investment manager clients,” he says. “That holistic view of the market is something I try to use internally at SWIFT.”

–Richard Schwartz