“What’s the workforce of the future, and can financial institutions adapt?” wondered Morgan McKenney, head of core cash management for Asia Pacific at Citi. “Great product development requires digital end-to-end solutions harnessing data. Which requires design thinking, and collaboration, if we’re to make innovation mainstream.”
One example: Citi’s project with Nasdaq, to put private transactions on a blockchain – a project led on the bank’s part by McKenney and a cross-functional team.
She got her start trading futures and options before joining Citi in New York, where she worked for the head of global institutional banking. It was an experience that gave her a window into how senior executives operate. Then she became such an exec, as CFO for global transaction services.
“It was very operations and technology oriented,” she said, which suited her education in computer science. She moved to London to run crossborder payments, a job heavy on data, digitization and APIs. “We try to disrupt ourselves,” she said.
As part of her role she manages the Asia clearing business, supporting SWIFT’s GPI program to digitize correspondent banking processes. “We’re making the clearing business more competitive,” she said.
Her projects today include connecting to the various fast payment platforms that various governments are introducing, to help shift the institutional payments landscape in Asia to real time. She’s also in charge of the bank’s Asia innovation lab (in Singapore) and its point person for many blockchain-related initiatives.
But she’s not an advocate of tech for its own sake: “SWIFTgpi can achieve 70% of what a blockchain would provide, but far more efficiently and pragmatically,” she said.