The 2008 meltdown, its regulatory aftermath and residual
shocks like the European debt crisis continue to constrain bank
profits and capital market activity and cast a pall of
austerity over many financial institutions. Yet excitement and
optimism reign among the developers and managers of the
technologies on which firms and markets increasingly
This enthusiasm is a common thread running through the Tech
50, Institutional Investor's annual ranking of those
who lead the financial services industry in technological
achievement and innovation. Far from being oblivious to
prevailing economic and competitive realities, these executives
bear witness to them. Having risen in stature and influence
well beyond where they were a generation or even a decade ago,
they have a firm grasp of those challenges and bring to bear
tools, resources and expertise critical to overcoming them.
"Technology isn't just about automation and efficiency,"
asserts Goldman Sachs Group chief information officer Steven
Scopellite, No. 10 on the list. "We see it as a business
enabler, an accelerator, a control point a source of
Adds Phupinder Gill (No. 16), CEO of CME Group: "Technology
has been the great differentiator for us. Now we are a
Indeed, financial technology has come of age not only as a
way to move manual tasks onto machines but also as an engine of
profitability. Exchange operators CME, NYSE Euronext (Dominique
Cerutti, No. 6), Nasdaq OMX Group (Robert Greifeld, No. 20) and
London Stock Exchange Group (Antoine Shagoury, No. 37) all make
money selling technology to other markets and are investing in
growth opportunities, particularly in derivatives and clearing.
Those thriving businesses sustain the No. 3 ranking of
IntercontinentalExchange CEO Jeffrey Sprecher, who says
proprietary technology is essential to ICE's ability "to
maintain a healthy pace of product development."
Major banks are not skimping on technology. In 2011,
Goldman's communications and technology spending increased 9
percent, to $828 million. At Bank of America Corp. (
Catherine Bessant, No. 5 ), data-processing and
communications expenses grew 6 percent last year, to $4.2
billion. JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s technology, communications
and equipment total also rose 6 percent, to $4.95 billion.