Samir Pandiri

Global Custodian catches up with Samir Pandiri to discuss the lessons of a career involving senior executive roles both as a custodian and as a provider to the custody industry.
Inducted: 2022

Samir Pandiri is president of Broadridge International, responsible for post-trade technology, global proxy, and asset management data and technology businesses outside of North America, with a special focus on Europe and Asia. He joined Broadridge in 2019 from BNY Mellon, where he was most recently global CEO of the asset servicing division and a member of the senior leadership team.

At what point in your working life did you discover securities services?

I studied chemical engineering at university, and that’s what I worked at for a number of years after I graduated. So, for me, the securities services industry was really happenstance in terms of how it came about.

I first  entered into finance almost two and a half decades ago and started working on the banking side. Over the years we lived in Hong Kong and London for more than a decade covering international markets.

For me, it was always about understanding client problems, whatever they’re trying to solve for, and finding solutions. From a banking perspective, the securities services industry was an area where there was lots of activity, lots of scope for transformation and lots of change underway. That’s really how I got thrown into it. It was quite accidental and certainly quite removed from my chemical engineering background.

Why did you go into banking in the first place, coming from a chemical engineering background?

Quite early on in my career, I wanted to live and work abroad and have a global career. It was something that both my wife and I had wanted to do, and which is quite hard to do as an engineer. I went back to business school and got my MBA from Columbia in New York. Banking seemed to offer that kind of international journey. At that stage we had no kids, and it was quite easy to be mobile.

Our first assignment was in Hong Kong. It was a very interesting time. I worked there from ’95 to ’99, two years before the handover and two years after the handover, so we found ourselves in the middle of this really pivotal historic change. From Hong Kong, we moved to London and lived there for a number of years.

Over the course of my 25 years in banking, I’ve covered an extensive range of markets. When I was running Bank of New York Mellon’s custody division, it was obviously a big global business and we had a footprint in numerous countries. I was travelling and visiting clients in Europe, in Asia, in Latin America, in Canada. That was very much what I wanted to do and was part of my career aspiration.

I was very fortunate to have worked with companies that had a similar aspiration, which was to grow and build their international businesses, which by the way, is what I’m doing today at Broadridge.

Over those 25 years, has your perspective changed as you’ve seen the industry from both sides?

In one instance you are a user of technology, while here at Broadridge you are actually delivering the technology, but the who, the what, and the why are the same. Clients are looking for a lower total cost of ownership for their technology, while modernising at the same time.

They want more digital and data solutions so that they can make decisions in real-time and do so on a global basis. And I think it’s important to have both those perspectives

As president of International at Broadridge, I look after all of our activities in Europe and Asia. We’re focused on delivering for our clients, delivering new technologies both organically and via M&A.   

Looking back, what would you say was the most exciting thing that happened in your career? Or vice versa the most challenging, whether you overcame it or not?

Large-scale transformation projects are always difficult and you learn a lot in the process. When I was at Bank of New York Mellon, I undertook large scale transformation of the custody business to reposition our custody, operations and technology; programmes like that are large and complex, but you can have meaningful outcomes.

In the six years I was CEO of the securities services business, it was very difficult at times. You are always on the road, visiting clients, and you bring back with you all the learning and growth that you get from the marketplace.

There are many successes and there are many, many lessons you learn or things you could have done better. But for me, it’s always about the team that you have working with you. It’s always the team that makes a difference. It’s the people that are with you that are on the journey.

You need to make sure that you are empowering them to make decisions, making sure that they have the right tools and the skills. The biggest success is really about what the team has done, never about the individual in terms of delivering for clients and running these large transformational projects.

As I mentioned, Broadridge recently bought the Itiviti business, which we now call Broadridge Trading and Connectivity Solutions. That was a $2.6 billion acquisition. It’s the largest acquisition that Broadridge has ever made. To be driving that and integrating it while creating numerous growth opportunities for our associates and solutions for our clients is actually very exciting and rewarding. But, as I said, it’s never about one person because there’s always a team of individuals who make things happen. And that’s really the fun part of the job.