June 08, 2016

What Role Does Diversity Play in Risk Management?

Samir Pandiri

Samir Pandiri, CEO of Asset Servicing and Global Chair of IMPACT, discusses the mission of business resource groups in advancing diversity.


To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, BNY Mellon, AllianceBernstein (AB), Morgan Stanley and Thomson Reuters hosted a panel discussion with their chief risk officers and chief compliance officers on leadership, diversity and risk management in the highly regulated and complex financial services industry.

The panelists represented a cross-section of the industry from asset management to bank, brokerage and securities servicing, as well as a diversity of cultural perspectives. One thing they all agreed on: diversity can play a significant role in managing risks.

“The low interest environment and the lack of firepower that central banks have in case of major external shocks concerns me,” said Keishi Hotsuki, chief risk officer at Morgan Stanley. “Having experienced this in my home country of Japan for decades helps me bring a different perspective to the table.”

“We’re seeing more and more multi-cultural employees flocking to the Risk and Compliance space, bringing diversity of thought,” shared Andrew Chin, chief risk officer at AB. “That’s critical because successful risk management today is about having the right balance of hard and soft skills. It’s no longer sufficient to only have the technical knowledge in risk and compliance. We need talent that has the network and leadership style to influence decisions and effect change.”

Panelists also remarked on the leadership opportunities that are available to diverse talent across markets and how organizations can help create the networks that link diversity and leadership.

“Global market trends and regulation continue to shape our industry to various degrees, but it’s the interconnectivity of the markets that makes it more important than ever to have risk managers with a global mindset. Having the global and local expertise embedded in our businesses enhances our ability to control or limit risks,” said Mark Musi, chief compliance officer at BNY Mellon.

“Years ago, most international businesses had Caucasians leading their Asian businesses. There was a misperception that Asians or Asian Americans could not lead those businesses. Those misperceptions are disappearing,” said Thomas Kim, chief compliance officer at Thomson Reuters. “The same is true in the US and other markets.”

Samir Pandiri, CEO of BNY Mellon’s Asset Servicing business, noted, “At BNY Mellon, we think diversity alone is not enough. Our diverse talent needs to be connected with the right opportunities to become world-wise leaders. Through our Business Resource Groups, including IMPACT, our multi-cultural group, we provide global networks that foster relationships, collaboration and leadership development.”

Pandiri added, “Beyond our own organization, the industry has a role to play. Our partners at Morgan Stanley, Thomson Reuters and AB are committed to recognizing talent from all walks of life to strengthen industry governance. We welcome that partnership and look forward to connecting with other firms to bring about change.”