Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron of BNP Paribas says he looks forward to working with FinTechs and discusses bringing through the next generation in the industry.
Inducted: 2018

How much of your working life have you spent on security services?

 I’ve been in security services most of my working life, apart from a very small period after I left university. So almost all of it. And the part that was not in the securities industry was still at a bank, starting with Manufacturers Hanover. 

It’s been a fairly unidirectional career path. I haven’t gone off and done anything crazy yet. I’m enjoying what I’m doing, but there are no surprising interludes.

 What kinds of things make a great day and what kind of things make a terrible day?

A terrible day, one that hangs heavily on your heart when you’re walking home, for me is when I’ve not done something well, when I’ve made a mistake, when I have not listened to somebody properly, when I haven’t done something properly myself. It’s not so much when we haven’t succeeded in something organisationally; it’s more of a personal thing. 

It’s somewhat ironic, because mistakes are key in learning and developing. If you’re not making some mistakes in life you’re probably not in a position to fulfill your potential, but you don’t want to be making calamitous mistakes or the same mistakes over and over or ones that are fundamentally inimical to your organisation. 

And a great day?

Other than winning a new mandate, which is still an exciting thing, sales is the lifeblood of any company. A good day is also when some project comes to fruition or when people around you have performed well.

Looking at the industry as a whole, what do you think has had the greatest consequence for clients in general?

I think the move to straight-through processing was a key change for the industry. We went from so many handoffs, many of them manual, to systems. I’d say the move to STP has been the greatest step forward in my working lifetime.  

Are you concerned about FinTechs stealing the lunch of the custody banks?

Not at all. I look forward to working with these guys. I don’t think it’s that much different from the great dot-com boom. I think all the innovation should be good for us and good for the industry. 

Speaking personally, are there any particular successes or failures that will stay with you until the end of your working career?

The successes I find are the ones where we have worked with young people in their careers in a way that has had a positive effect on them and they’ve gone on to do great things, often much greater than I’ve done. It’s not just rewarding but it’s something that gives you some lasting satisfaction. I’ll not comment on the failures; otherwise we would be here for days.

What is the most exciting thing about your current role? What gets you up in the morning?

 The nice thing is I’m working on some new initiatives. That’s not all that gets you up, but it can put a spring in your step.

Finally, if you could save only one disc for your desert island, what would it be?

Say a Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin.