2023 Year End Special Edition Magazine

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Ad Centrum: Armstrong Wolfe’s worldwide COO DE&I initiative

The foundations for Ad Centrum were laid in 2016 when Women in the COO Community (WCOOC) was established. Building on WCOOC’s success and impact, Ad Centrum will extend the reach and influence of the International COO Community (iCOOC) to give worldwide support and thought leadership within DE&I, complementing established programmes already working to address embedded inequalities.

The Ad Centrum Chair and Vice Chair will be engaged, challenged and supported by a council of eighteen buy and sell side global COOs, WCOOC’s Co-Global Chairs will similarly be supported by a dedicated steering group for North America, Europe and APAC, each hosting six regional COOs.

Maurice Evlyn-Bufton, CEO Armstrong Wolfe:

“We are privileged and delighted to have Laura, Georgina, Emma and Clement chairing and leading Armstrong Wolfe’s commitment to fostering debate, innovation, thought and a call to action in this most important area of responsibility for Chief Operating Officers.”

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Ad Centrum Chair

Laura Ahto, Former CEO EMEA/APAC and Global COO Asset Servicing BNY Mellon, NYC

Laura Ahto is the Global Chief Operating Officer for BNY Mellon’s Asset Servicing Business. Prior to being named to this position in January 2018, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of BNY Mellon’s European Bank, The Bank of New York Mellon SA/NV, and as Chief Operating Officer of Investment Services, German Speaking and CEE Region, at BNY Mellon in Frankfurt, Germany.

Laura is a member of the Asset Servicing Executive Team, and the Asset Servicing Leadership Team.

Laura has held various Executive Leadership positions in Operations, Technology, Change Management and Provider Management in the Investment Services (including global custody, global fund services, offshore fund administration, performance analytics) and Asset Management (including trading, operations, funds and compliance) business segments.

Prior to joining BNY Mellon in 2012, Laura was Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Head of Operations and Technology at Baring Asset Management in London. She joined Barings following seven years with PIMCO Europe in London, where she was Senior Vice President, Head of Operations and Administration and European Funds. Prior to joining PIMCO, Laura was a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank and Bankers Trust Company and responsible for various Operations and Client functions in New York, Asia, Australia, the UK and Europe.

Laura holds a BA in Economics from Ursinus College and an MBA from Cornell University.

“I am thrilled to once again be involved in Armstrong Wolfe’s initiatives aimed at improving business and industry engagement in DE&I. Ad Centrum is an exciting, natural evolution from Women in the COO Community and its very successful focus on advancing gender diversity in Financial Services. Ad Centrum’s focus on a broader DE&I agenda will support inclusiveness of talent of all backgrounds and abilities through engagement of the very strong, diverse and engaged Armstrong Wolfe COO community.“

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Ad Centrum Vice Chair

Georgina Philippou, Former FCA COO and FCA Senior Adviser Equality

Georgina started her working life as a researcher in a major accountancy firm before moving on to become an investment analyst for an institutional client stock broker and then a major investment bank.

Georgina’s career in financial services regulation began in 1992 when she joined the Securities and Investments Board (one of the FCA’s predecessor organisations) specialising in investigations, particularly of unauthorised business. She rose to FCA Acting Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight in 2014 and she has extensive enforcement experience across all areas of financial services, including dispute resolution through settlement and mediation, involving a range of financial services firms.

Georgina chaired the International Organisation of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO) Committee on Enforcement and the Exchange of Information and its Screening Group, which assesses applications to sign the Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU) between 2008 and 2016. Her committees delivered IOSCO’s Credible Deterrence report and the new Enhanced MMoU.

Georgina became the FCA’s Chief Operating Officer in November 2015 and held the position for about five years. As COO Georgina chaired the FCA’s Executive Diversity Committee, its Executive Operations Committee and the Public Sector Equality Duty working group. She led the organisation’s move to cloud based technology and the operational response to the covid pandemic.

Georgina became the FCA’s Senior Adviser on the Public Sector Equality Duty in January 2021 and helped drive the FCA’s proposals for greater DEI across the financial services industry. During this time, she was a member of the City of London Social Mobility Task Force and helped with the creation of Progress Together, the new financial services social mobility membership body.

Georgina retired from regulation in 2022, after almost exactly thirty years. Georgina became a member of the Financial Reporting Council’s independent Tribunal in January 2023 and is now building a portfolio career.

Georgina is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. Georgina is passionate about the arts and she chaired the Stratford Arts Trust, which delivered an inclusive and accessible arts programme to East London and beyond, between 2019 and 2021.

“I am delighted to be working with the AW team, and to be able to harness the power of the AW membership, to launch this important and exciting new initiative. Having started my career in stockbroking in the 80’s, and risen to COO and then Senior Adviser for Equality, I am familiar with the joys and challenges of building diverse and inclusive work forces, and the benefits that can bring in terms of productivity and engagement. On top of that, I come from an immigrant working class background, so I am able to bring my personal lived experience into the mix. I firmly believe that COOs, being at the centre of their organisations, are in a unique position to bring about a step change in diversity in their firms and, working collectively, their sectors.”

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WCOOC Co-Global Chair

Emma Prophet, Group Head of Operations TP ICAP

Emma Prophet is Group Head of Operations at TP ICAP and their EMEA Business Sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion Network groups. Emma joined TP ICAP following 15 years at Morgan Stanley, where she was a Managing Director and held various leadership roles across Clearing, Data and Securities Operations based in London, Glasgow, Singapore and New York. 

Prior to her time at Morgan Stanley, Emma started as a consultant working with various Financial Services firms and then spent 5 years as Project Manager delivering cross-functional change at Barclays Capital.

“WCOOC is in a unique position in the market. We have access to very senior experts, who are keen to give back to the community and can help us all to continue to develop our skills.”

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WCOOC Co-Global Chairs

Clement King, Former Wells Fargo, Control Management Senior Executive, COO

Clement King Executive Consulting LLC provides consulting services on a wide range of topics, including Executive Leadership, Risk, Control & Compliance, Transformation/Change Management and Speaking Engagements.

Clement is a highly accomplished Executive who has built an extensive record of success in managing risk and regulatory compliance, improving controls and building high performance teams for top financial services organizations.

Over the course of his career, Clement has partnered with Executives, Corporate Boards, Business Leaders, Operations, Technology, Finance, Human Resources and other departments to create powerful risk mitigation strategies to drive growth in the face of rapidly evolving changes within global markets.

Clement was most recently the Control Management Senior Executive, Chief Operating Officer for Wells Fargo. Previously, Clement was the Chief Control Officer for the U.S. for HSBC and worked in New York, London and Toronto. He has also worked for other leading financial institutions including JP Morgan and Citi.

Clement also fosters a culture of innovation, collaboration, and professional development as core elements for achieving shared goals. Clement is a strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, and is a Board Member for two nonprofit organizations – Johnny Mac Tennis Project and Nest Artisan Guild.

“The benefits of Allyship and Sponsorship offer substantial advantages, both personally and professionally. Embracing diversity, inclusion, and equity is not only a matter of social responsibility; it also makes good business sense. By fostering an environment that encourages these principles, organizations can experience enhanced revenue growth, increased employee satisfaction, and improved customer penetration. WCOOC will make a huge difference, and I’m happy to contribute to making it even more significant.”