Head, Securities Finance ● State Street
When Nicholas Bonn worked as a clerk on the trading desk at Fidelity Investments – doing trade support to get his foot in the door – during college, he never imagined he would wind up as a top executive of a major financial institution. Recently promoted to head State Street’s securities finance division, Bonn is a long-time State Streeter with a passion for client relationship above all else.
Previously he was the head of sales for the Global Markets and Securities Finance division at State Street, the firm’s “catch-all” arm for those two key and profitable sectors.
Bonn took on the head of sales role at the start of 2009, when State Street combined its existing Global Markets division with its securities lending activities. “It’s really two divisions coming together,” Bonn says. “We wanted a sales and client relationship and client management role over all of these different groups and products, and that’s the role I took.” The division is a large and important one for State Street, he says, with revenues second only to its custody business.
“These are really challenging times, especially for the products in this division,” he says. “It’s really hard to make money, so you’ve got to work twice as hard and get paid half as much.” But that doesn’t seem to faze him. Bonn has a vibrant enthusiasm for his job that is perhaps unexpected, if not admirable, for someone who has been in the business spanning three decades. “I’m extremely focused on getting something started from nothing,” he says. “It’s tremendously rewarding.”
Although his new role is an exciting one for Bonn, it is his former role as executive vice president of State Street’s Equity Trading and Transition Management business where he made a name for himself. Having established that division in 1992 when he joined State Street, he was at the helm of the business for almost 16 years. During that time, he and State Street pioneered the concept of transition management and shaped that product to what it is today. “It’s really quite satisfying to work for a long time for a company, because the decisions you make years ago pay you back. I’ve been at State Street long enough to reap those rewards.”
In an industry where people are constantly changing job titles and employers, Bonn is truly an exception to the rule. Apart from his first job out of college on the trading floor at Fidelity (he was promoted from the clerk role after graduating) and subsequent position at the National Association of Securities Dealers, Bonn has spent most of his career at State Street, and most of that time in a single role.
“Making money on the next trade really is the most important thing on Wall Street,” he says. “That’s not the way State Street does things. It really does take the long view, the relationship view.” State Street is simply a good fit for him, Bonn says. Accordingly, it is his personality as a doer, an achiever, that makes Bonn a good fit for State Street. In an institution usually seen as traditional and conservative, he has been responsible for building one of its businesses and restructuring another – proof of State Street’s faith in Nicholas Bonn’s vision and expertise.
Bonn is also the chairman and president of State Street Global Markets, LLC, the firm’s broker/dealer subsidiary. Beyond that, he serves on the Institutional Brokerage Committee of SIFMA, and on the Board of Visitors of the College of Business at Northeastern University, his alma mater.-Christopher Gohlke