Global Custodian reveals 2024 shortlist for Industry Person of the Year

Now in its eighth year, Global Custodian's Industry Person of the Year award for 2024 will be awarded to one of our shortlisted representatives from BNP Paribas, Digital Asset, Euroclear and State Street.

By Editors

Global Custodian is pleased to reveal the four nominees who have been shortlisted for the annual Industry Person of the Year award 2024, recognising individuals who have gone above and beyond in their role over the past 12 months, impacting both their own organisation and the wider sector.

Now in its eighth year, the accolade will be handed out following a live vote on the night during the Leaders in Custody awards to be held on 30 May at The Savoy, London.

The honour is now handed out three times a year, with the London award recognising outstanding achievements within the custody, market infrastructure and technology sphere. Earlier this month, HSBC’s Suvir Loomba picked up the award for his achievements in the APAC region, while November in New York will honour an outstanding individual within the fund services space.

Previous winners of the award have hailed from BNY Mellon, Northern Trust, Citi, Deutsche Bank, and Digital Asset among others. The current holder of the London award is Hannah Elson, global head of custody at JP Morgan, who was presented with the award last May.

Given the many, many thousands of senior executives across the securities and fund services industry, just making the shortlist is an incredible accomplishment, so Global Custodian would like to congratulate all of this year’s nominees who are listed below.

Philippe Benoit, BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas has a unique growth trajectory in securities services, spanning multiple regions, services and functions. The ascension has elevated it to new heights in the asset servicing world, and it clearly has ambitions to rival the largest operators in the global market.

Behind this growth has been a long-standing, steady and capable team, who have been recognised throughout Global Custodian’s awards in recent years – whether it was a Lifetime Achievement award for Patrick Colle or GC Legend award for Alvaro Camunas.

This year, the name which has been synonymous with the custodian’s achievements has been Philippe Benoit, head of strategic business development and transformation.

While in the past the custodian was ambitious enough to take on the US market, forward-thinking enough to be a major player in Asia Pacific, 2024 saw BNP Paribas take its aggressive business approach to the hedge fund space after agreeing to integrate HSBC’s hedge fund administration business, taking on 25 institutional clients.

Benoit told Global Custodian it was a “perfect fit” for BNP Paribas, with liquid, alternatives and hedge funds a key area of focus for the securities services business and the wider BNP Paribas group.

“It has been our business objective to have a full suite of front-to-back liquid alternatives and hedge fund outsourcing solutions across our corporate and institutional banking division, and this integration complements our integrated bank strategy,” he explains.

Benoit has been a key cog in the BNP Paribas securities services machine in recent years and his influence can not only be seen in the Asia Pacific region – a lead role which he left in 2019 – but across a swathe of European mandate wins and transformation initiatives. 

Yuval Rooz, Digital Asset

Digital Asset is a name that securities services industry has become increasingly familiar with over the past decade, but often, it’s also the name behind the name. The firm’s technology underpins countless digital initiatives throughout the industry, many of which have appeared on our Leaders in Custody shortlists this year – EquiLend’s 1Source, HSBC’s Orion, HKEX’s Synapse, to name a few. 

Yuval Rooz co-founded Digital Asset in 2014, aiming to improve efficiency, security and compliance in financial services through blockchain technology. He became CEO in March 2019 after serving as the COO and under his leadership, the company has expanded its reach and solidified its position in the blockchain industry.

This year has been standout for Digital Asset. Not only does it continue to partner with custodians and market infrastructures alike and expand its open-source smart contract language Daml, but the firm established a landmark initiative for the industry in the Canton Network – designed for institutional assets and includes familiar names such as BNP Paribas, Cboe, Deutsche Börse Group and Goldman Sachs.

By creating a ‘network of networks’, Canton allows previously siloed systems in financial markets to interoperate with the appropriate governance, privacy, permissioning and controls required for highly regulated industries.

Ten months after launching, Digital Asset announced the first of its kind Canton pilot programme – one of the most ambitious and comprehensive industry pilot projects, involving BNY Mellon, Northern Trust and State Street along with 42 other organisations across 22 permissioned blockchains.

Under Rooz’s guidance, Digital Asset is not only impacting individual partners’ strategies in the digital industry of the future, built helping build the rails which the entire sector could run on. 

Valerie Urbain, Euroclear

With extensive financial services experience on her side, Urbain recently assumed the role of CEO of Euroclear Group – succeeding Lieve Mostrey who had held the position since 2017. 

Urbain began her career at Euroclear in 1992, and has worked her way up through a number of positions and departments within the organisation. Between 2009 and 2014, she served as CEO of the three ESES CSDs in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, before assuming the role of CEO of Euroclear Bank in 2015 – responsible for the firm’s operations, commercial, client service, banking and network management divisions worldwide. 

Before becoming CEO of Euroclear Group, Urbain was chief business officer, responsible for the commercial and product development divisions of the business. 

In the role, Urbain has overseen a period of sustained growth for the infrastructure provider. In the past year, there has been considerable momentum within the group’s Funds business, with significant client wins including Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat Luxembourg (Spuerkeess) and Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank.

Euroclear also launched a new service for private market funds in October, complementing its existing money market, mutual and alternative fund offerings based on the Goji technology platform, while in March this year the firm announced it would be acquiring a stake in blockchain-based funds platform IZNES. 

On becoming chief executive, Urbain said on LinkedIn: “As I take on my new role as CEO, I feel deeply honoured by this responsibility and hugely excited by what’s to come. My vision for the future is for Euroclear to successfully navigate an ever-changing world and to continue to make a positive impact on society.”

Mostapha Tahiri, State Street

Mostapha Tahiri has rapidly ascended the ranks within the financial services industry, demonstrating remarkable leadership and expertise. Just five months ago, he assumed the role of executive vice president and chief operating officer at State Street, marking yet another significant milestone in his career.

Since his appointment as COO, State Street has posted two consecutive quarters of year-on-year growth for the first time since 2021 – with Alpha mandates continuing to roll in for the bank – bringing the total to 21 live clients to-date.

Prior to his appointment, Tahiri was the executive vice president and head of Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa – where he has been credited with transforming the custodian’s franchise in the region, showcasing his exceptional capability to drive results and lead teams effectively.

Tahiri’s career also includes a stint at BNP Paribas’ securities services business spanning over 11 years. During his tenure, he held a series of key roles, including CEO of Asia Pacific; head of institutional investors & digital transformation, Asia Pacific; CEO of Singapore & head of Southeast Asia; regional head of asset and fund services business line, Asia; COO of fund services, Asia; all of which were based in Singapore. He also contributed significantly as the deputy head and COO of BNP Paribas Fund Services France and head of fund administration in Paris.

For his exceptional achievements in the Asia Pacific region, Tahiri last year became a GC Legend, accepting the award at the inaugural GC Leaders in Custody Asia awards in May 2023.

Reflecting on his achievements, Tahiri recently shared his insights upon passing the 100-day mark in his role as COO at State Street, stating: “Milestones, like deadlines, should be honoured. If a deadline is a promise to oneself and others to get it done, a milestone is an opportunity to reflect on history and achievement.”