Richard Anton on Innovation

Richard Anton, Senior Vice President & Chief Operations Officer, CIBC Mellon speaks on innovation in the financial sector at a recent #EDGEtalks event. 

About Richard Anton

Mr. Anton has overall responsibility for the direction of the Operations area of CIBC Mellon. including client and advisor services, institutional and pension accounting, custody operations, business initiatives and support, cash management, reconciliation and compliance, and pension benefits.

Mr. Anton has more than 17 years of experience in the financial services industry, focused primarily on operations and relationship management. Below, Richard Anton, discusses innovation in the financial sector.

“Another one we have been working on is robotics. We started a little robotics pilots across the organization, watching them through the organization, developing prototypes and working through that across the organization.

Working very closely with the Burnie Group, we developed a performance excellence program which allowed us to digitize our whole organization across the operations team. Now, out of that, we have a lot of the data that is allowing us to make some of these differences and make some of the impact across the businesses.

When I look at innovation, I look at those little pockets that organizations are doing in financial services.    What we are starting to see is as well is [partnering] happening.  You’re starting to see organizations come together and say, “I’m doing this, you’re doing this, why don’t we come together and pool our resources.”

When people think about innovation, they think first and foremost about technology. They think innovation is equal to technology and technology disrupted the entire marketplace. But it’s so much more than that. I think one of the challenges that we have found historically with innovation is, is it really sustainable and how do you create a sustainable environment with innovation? That’s one of the challenges that we had when we started our journey. How to create an environment that allowed us to maintain that momentum.

When you think about innovation, really what it comes down to is the ideas that are generated across an organization and being able to act and follow through on some of those ideas. Those ideas are really helping change the landscape of how we do business across the organizations. Where do those ideas come from? They come from our biggest resources that we have in every organization, which is our people. The ability to engage our people is part of the innovation journey. The ability to get and pull those ideas and create the environment of safety that allows people to say, “Why am I doing this? I have an idea. How about I try something different, or explore something out there in the industry and bring it into the organization.” That’s how you start creating real innovation. That’s how you start making that change. That’s how you start creating the excitement in organizations. Once you create an environment that supports that and embraces that, that’s when that sustainable innovation really starts to happen.

Our performance excellence program that we have developed; [has] individuals out there [everyday] talking about what’s going on in their day [in our] daily huddles. [We are] looking over the information that has come through a lot of the statistics and data that we’ve been able to accumulate, talking about how we can change it. How we can make ourselves better. Those are the powerful opportunities that allow us to look at the business and say how we change this?

The other element about the innovation program and making sure it’s sustainable is challenging people to get out of their roles. Everyone has their day-to-day job, and people like to do stuff on the side and try different things and get out of their daily requirements. Having people a part of these things and helping on the execution is where it really starts to make a real impact.”