COO Magazine Q3 – 2021

The only publication for Chief Operating Officers across the Financial Services Industry.
Providing the latest news and views from industry leading experts, the COO Magazine is your essential guide to the Financial Services COO world.

In the Spotlight

Peter McCarthy (EMEA CAO, Citi) answers ‘Where now for the COO post-pandemic?’

by Maurice Evlyn-Bufton, CEO, Armstrong Wolfe

The global pandemic has shown that local accountability and empowerment is required to ensure business can continue amidst a crisis, running in parallel to corporate directives but with a freedom to not be led wholeheartedly by them.  

Governmental laws and orders hold precedence over corporate policies and in this context, since the beginning of the pandemic, the country COO has been empowered to manage the local response, entrusted by necessity to operate autonomously.

The uniqueness and suddenness of the events that unfolded bought into sharp focus the importance of the COO. It is one of the very few roles that truly looks at the business end to end and what this means is the COO’s network is broad and deep, its value has been proven during the pandemic.”


RTO Survey

30 banks and asset managers and members of iCOOC (International COO Community) attended two forums to discuss policy and operational matters.

by Tim Williams, Head of Research, Armstrong Wolfe

30 banks, asset managers and members of iCOOC (International COO Community) attended two forums to discuss policy and operational matters relating to the anticipated return to the office for their staff.

The collective opinions as to ‘when’ this mobilisation and return would happen was on or about Labor Day (September 6th, 2021). It was noted, however, there were regional and locational variances, and that unknown factors (mostly related to the unfolding impact of the Delta variant) remain a concern to all.

Collaborating with Control Risks

Armstrong Wolfe collaborates with Control Risks.

The Power of Heart-Centered Leadership

by Maurice Evlyn-Bufton, CEO, Armstrong Wolfe & Deb Crowe, imperfect Chief Equanimity Officer | Leadership Disrupter  

Leaders across the globe have been significantly challenged by the events affecting our daily lives since March 2020. All this time, I have had a virtual front seat to get to know and observe how leaders have utilized both sides of “VUCA.”

Walking The Tightrope — Balancing Flexibility & Productivity In Capital Markets

by Stefanie Coleman, Principal, People Advisory Services, EY USA

Banks have particular workforce issues. These companies are complex – sometimes combining investment and consumer banking services with asset and wealth management capabilities…

Are banks returning to a front-to-back, end-to-end ownership of the business?

by Maurice Evlyn-Bufton, CEO, Armstrong Wolfe

Outline: Increasingly business heads are asking: where should (Markets/Banking) Operations be positioned and what underpins and drives the present alignment?

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Asset Management

Offshoring and Outsourcing: Optimising The Mix For A Global Asset Manager

by Chris Rigg, Capital Markets Industry Lead, Sutherland

Global Asset Management Industry Exceeded $100 Trillion in 2020 * “The asset management industry has emerged from the global pandemic in a position of strength, with assets growing by 11% in 2020 to end the year at $103 trillion. Retail portfolios, representing 41% of global assets at $42 trillion, grew by 11% in 2020…

Climate Risk Management

by Dan Ridler, BCS Consulting

This blog is the second in our series that breaks down our key findings from our TCFD Global Progress Report for the banking sector, published in March 2021. See our first post on climate governance here.

The Task-Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has fast become the global standard for reporting climate-related risk and opportunities.

Overthrow Capitalism? It’s No Longer A Fringe Idea

by John Rosling, Writer and lecturer on business and ethics and Head of Thought at the Contexis Index CIC

Revolution is in the air. But capitalism’s greatest gifts are yet to come. If ESG becomes more than words and gestures. The evidence is clear that purposeful companies are better companies. But only under certain very specific conditions.

Spotlight on Climate Change

by Robin Davies, Business Development Director, Freespace

In this article we make the case for directors of corporate real estate (CRE) to be the post-Covid ‘disrupters’ of climate change. Using workplace technology to accelerate the transition to flexible working, driving space eciency and utilisation and delivering the reduction, re-use and consolidation in oce buildings which are a major source of global CO2 emissions, CRE leaders can steer us to a brighter future.

Gaining Competitive Advantage with Investment Research through the Use of Artificial Intelligence and Other Technologies

by Naman Shah, President, Sentieo

Information is knowledge, but the crush of unstructured data—basically, any statistics or content not contained in a database of spreadsheets, tables, or other readily scannable formats—can distract organizations from seizing on all the opportunities that research should empower them to take advantage of.

September 2021

Productivity In A Hybrid Working Model

Not a science, but a refocus on leadership and management in enhancing staff morale.

by Maurice Evlyn-Bufton, CEO, Armstrong Wolfe

Since March 2021 productivity has been mostly assessed on a subjective and judgmental basis, sentiment and empathy playing a role due to the unique situation we find ourselves. ‘Productivity is mostly up’ is a common refrain, just as (fixed income first, equities later) ‘revenues are up’, as is the volume of work needed to support this activity.

Women in the COO Community

Promoting the cause of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Our diversity, equity and inclusion programme strives to support the underrepresented by leveraging the influence and good will of the female global COO community.

Armstrong Wolfe’s Women in the COO Community (WCOOC) initiative has been running since 2017. Now well-established in New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore, (soon in Toronto) we have members from over thirty different organisations.

Our commitment to this initiative was born out of the privileged position we have in accessing the COO community through our global forums.

Led by Armstrong Wolfe, a series of cross-industry forums and leadership evenings will take place throughout 2021.


Cressida Hamilton

We are delighted to announce Cressida Hamilton as our new Executive Coach at Armstrong Wolfe. Cressida trained as a coach with the Institute of Human Development (IHD) in 2007 and also has an MBA from Henley Management College. 

As part of our mission to professionalise the COO community we are building out our an Executive Coaching service to complement our current suite of offerings. The bespoke and formative nature of coaching enables the client to truly develop their potential and apply it productively in the workplace. 

Cressida joins Armstrong Wolfe with a wealth of experience in Financial Services having spent 26 years in the industry. She has worked in various roles within Banking at MD level most notably leading large 3000+ FTE Operational teams, acting as COO and CCO in various capacities within the GBM business and Non-Financial Risk and in 2019 she operated as the HSBC Bank PLC Group CAO. 

“I am delighted to join Armstrong Wolfe as an Executive Coach. I believe the service that they offer to the International COO community is unique and incredibly valuable. With thought leadership, promotion of industry dialogue and solution providing, and now Executive Coaching we are well placed to help COO’s and aspiring COO’s have no limit on their aspirations”. 

Q3 Content

Content and materials from past events can be found below.

Time and Success

By Jean Tien, Founder of Energetics of Being, LLC

Jean Tein

Jean Tein

Founder of Energetics of Being, LLC

Newly Appointed WCOOC Ambassadors

Helen Hughes-Green, Managing Director, ICG Conduct at Citi
‘I refuse to believe that women do not have the potential to achieve success at the highest levels of business given their proven academic achievements and business contributions and yet, we continue to see the gender gap persisting. Our customers, shareholders and communities are being failed because businesses are not tapping into the full, representative talent pool available to them, being unconsciously (or consciously) trapped by biases and held back by the legacy overhang of accepted practices. I’ve been an active member of the Armstrong Wolfe WCOOC for a number of years and love how it brings individuals together, agnostic of organisation and geography, to collaborate, challenge accepted norms and share best practice with the common aim of improving diversity and inclusion and, in doing so, improving the outcomes for our clients, our shareholders and our communities as a whole. I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute more actively as a WCOOC Ambassador moving forward’
Alexandra Stanton, Corporate Culture Consultant, Lawyer & NED, Former Co-Head of Global Markets Conduct EMEA, Formerly BNP Paribas

I am a firm believer that truly inclusive cultures drive better business outcomes and enable everyone to realise their full potential.  It is encouraging that the most egregious behaviours of past decades can now at least be reported and taken seriously rather than the complaints being shut down.  But significant disparities and inequalities persist.  Diversity shouldn’t be about tokenism and diversity on its own is not enough.  Inclusion is critical to ensure that different perspectives are taken into consideration. There is notable benefit, not least from a risk management perspective, in seeking cognitive diversity from staff with different life experiences and to encourage decision making which takes into account a variety of different viewpoints.  This is especially important in a rapidly changing world where sophisticated solutions are needed to tackle ever more nuanced issues. 

 So many members of the flourishing Armstrong Wolfe community are aware of the benefits of inclusion but also of the challenges any firm faces when implementing measures to achieve inclusive cultures. I am honoured and delighted to have been asked to become an WCOOC Ambassador and look forward to working actively with WCOOC to help drive meaningful change.

September 2021

Why Menopause Matters, Especially In The Workplace

Not a science, but a refocus on leadership and management in enhancing staff morale.

By Alison Martin-Campbell, Executive Assistant and founder of EY’s 40+Network

I nodded as I listened to the recent Women in the COO Community podcast episode, featuring Lauren Chiren, CEO of Women of a Certain Stage, on ‘Why Being Menopause Supportive is Business Savvy’. Many of her comments and observations resonated, and also reminded me of conversations I’ve had with my colleagues.

September 2021

Do I Stay Or Do I Go?

Pandemic triggers demand for talent within business management

by Maurice Evlyn-Bufton, CEO, Armstrong Wolfe

Recently we were asked the following by a Global COO within Markets:

“Given a number of relatively highprofile Business Manager / COO / 1st Line Control Manager moves within the industry this year, what is your sense of market dynamics within the global COO community (compensation pressures and ‘the war for talent’)?”

We replied: Product COOs The profile of the COO and the demands on it are changing, in part influenced by the pandemic, as the importance/visibility/influence of the platform the COO occupies is now better understood. This is due to the central and instrumental role the COO has played in directing and leading the business in the last 18 months of market wide dislocation.

Blockchain Disruption in the Evolution of Banking

by Wade Younger, Chief Operating Officer, BSI Solutions, Inc.

Economists have been exploring human behavior for hundreds of years, including how we make decisions, how we act individually, and in groups. Furthermore, how we exchange value is studied within the institutions that facilitate trades like legal systems, corporations, and marketplaces…

Systemic and idiosyncratic risks of crypto-assets and ecosystems

by Vijay Chakravarthy, Group Head of Risk Management and Internal Audit at ED&F Man Holdings

As I put the finishing touches to this article, China has banned all cryptocurrencies including trading and related investment and financial services. The PBOC has vowed a harsh crackdown on token issuance and derivative platforms and most crypto assets are down about 6% for the day.

The Power of Data: How Transparency Can Push Performance

by Marion Leslie, Six

Switzerland still has a way to go to achieve gender equality, especially in the workplace. The recent prioritization of ESG puts fresh focus on the topic. Indices and ratings can be a good “external push” for companies towards more diversity and inclusion, serving as a benchmark for the company and the investor alike, and provide some transparency…

Investment banks need to partner if they want to survive and grow

by Pierre Pourquery, Head of Capital Markets UK & Emanuel Vila, UK Capital Markets Consultant, EY UK

As returns fall and costs stay high, the challenge for investment banks is not IF they need to partner with others, but HOW. EY Head of Capital Markets UK, Pierre Pourquery and Emanuel Vila the UK Capital Markets Consultant, explain the different partnership models available and the substantive benefits they can bring to investment banks.

The Capital Markets Enterprise 2021

by Matthew Hargreaves, Global industry lead, Capital Markets solutions, DXC Luxoft

1. Reengineering the operating model for change and growth – The financial services industry is emerging from a decade of adjusting to the realities of life after the 2008–2010 financial crisis and the ensuing regulatory initiatives. As it does so, buyand sell-side capital markets participants are facing an array of structural challenges.

Q2 2021

Threat Management

Evolving perspectives amidst the pandemic

by Maurice Evlyn-Bufton, CEO, Armstrong Wolfe

Defining Threat Management

Entering ‘threat management’ in the Cambridge Dictionary it will offer you 10 disciplines of management: talent, event, asset, time being four, but threat is not one of them. As an alternative it presents: You can also search for ‘threat’ and ‘management’

Threat: a suggestion that something unpleasant or violent will happen, especially if a particular action or order is not followed.

Management: the control and organisation of something.

Q3 2021

Q3 Cyber Risk minutes

by Maurice Evlyn-Bufton, CEO, Armstrong Wolfe

Questions asked:

Is there a common definition of internal and external cybersecurity risks?

How active is the COO in the cybersecurity risk management agenda?

As a COO, are you an active or passive participant in this program?

Is the COO’s role [in cybersecurity] a matter of enhanced education or active participation?

What can I do as a COO to make a greater contribution to manage this threat?

Armstrong Wolfe Advisory

The consulting division of Armstrong Wolfe

Armstrong Wolfe Advisory is a global network of trusted COO executives who have held high-ranking leadership positions within global Financial Services. We match their knowledge and expertise with the specific needs of our clients to support business enterprise.

We can engage in a number of different models:

  • Business Advisory
  • Interim Management
  • Non-executive Directorships
  • Mentoring & Coaching

Armstrong Wolfe Advisory Quick Links:

Watch the entire Conduct & Culture Summit on-demand.

Opening Session

YouTube video

Closing Session

YouTube video

Fundraising Publications

All proceeds have been, and will continue to be, donated to Goražde Children’s Foundation.

Donkey Mail & Bully Beef

To Catch a Thief

No Place to Hide

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To register for forums, content & downloads visit