I always enjoy reading about historical figures, because they can often serve as great teachers, and their strategies, leadership and innovative approaches are interesting. I recently read Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, after attending one of many exhibits commemorating the 500th anniversary of his death this year, and realized that the insights gleaned can be applied in today’s business environment.
Here are a few parallels between Leonardo Da Vinci and our Issuer Services teams that resonated with me:
- When we raise our standards of excellence in all aspects of our work and lives, its benefits can be long lasting. We are continuously assessing how we can deliver more value to our clients, and how we can improve the client experience. A large part of that revolves around implementing new technology and creating new digital capabilities that will increase efficiency, transparency and make it easier to do business with BNY Mellon. In this edition of Issuer Services Insights, our Issuer Services Chief Digital Officer, Sudeep Kanjilal, explains how we are leveraging the technical expertise across the firm to digitize the business and improve existing processes to enable straight-through processing, and further leverage data to support clients’ business objectives.
A profound example of this theme is shown with Leonardo Da Vinci’s St. Jerome artwork. It is one of the most complex art pieces in today’s culture, but many are surprised to learn this example of great work is actually unfinished. Leonardo was never satisfied with many of his works. In fact, with the use of infrared cameras, experts can see the changes he made underneath his final design. Leonardo often carried around his art and would refine it at various times throughout his evolution as an artist, exemplifying one of my favorite beliefs: in pursuit of perfection, we very often achieve excellence.
- Intellectual curiosity yields more opportunities. In Issuer Services, we serve two sides of clients’ financing needs—debt and equity—to offer both issuers and investors more comprehensive and flexible market choices. In order to do that, our professionals must remain on top of market trends that impact both sides of the finance equation. At the same time, given the nature of our company, it is imperative that we maintain strong peripheral vision and intellectual curiosity to understand how other parts of our business are interacting with our clients – to ensure we bring the full value of BNY Mellon to all of our clients. It’s important that our experts draw on a diverse range of subject matter in order to deliver the best solutions and value for our clients.
In a similar sense, Leonardo studied various academic disciplines on his own and applied what he learned to solve gaps in other fields of study that he pursued. It’s remarkable how one aspect of your interests or career can be beneficial to another, making you a well-rounded professional.
- Leave room for innovation. Leonardo was ahead of his time in many ways. He documented ideas for possible submarines, and designs for cities and architecture that can be traced back to the 1400s.
BNY Mellon’s heritage began over 235 years ago and we too have made our mark on the markets and communities we serve. But, like Leonardo, we strive for continuous improvement and new, innovative thinking. For example, following regulatory and infrastructure developments driven by Brexit, BNY Mellon’s International Central Securities Depository model (ICSD) capabilities have been critical for Irish ETFs as they migrate to a new jurisdiction. We have approximately *US$2.9 trillion assets in the ICSD model, a testament to the growing importance of this structure.
Leonardo was one of the most creative polymaths in history, and his contributions to society have had a lasting impact. Businesses around the world, including our own, can stand to learn a lot from this great and talented individual.
Which of these examples resonated with you?