Emily Randall has pursued a career in financial technology as it has transformed. As the managing director and head of Asia Pacific at Edge Technology Group, she is at the center of cloud and cyber-security.
The software vendor Eze brought her from Boston to Singapore and Hong Kong. She also served as COO at Messer Financial Software. Both jobs involved dealing with front and back offices, across a range of financial institutions. But now her clients are primarily buy side.
Edge Technology provides I.T. support and advice for asset managers and hedge funds. The company was spun out of Amaranth in 2007: the fund was wiped out by a market event, but its tech team remained intact.
“We’re from the buy side,” Randall said. “We understand the business.” She joined in 2015 to lead the U.S. firm’s opening of its Hong Kong office.
Security requires constant leadership
Some of the work is core I.T., like maintaining help desks, patching software, and maintaining servers for investment firms. The company maintains its own financial private cloud, which lets hedge funds develop their own software solutions – particularly quant investors that need quick, short-term investment and trading strategies.
Randall also leads teams providing advice in cyber.
“We educate clients about the risks of phishing, and help them develop a culture around security,” she said.
Although hedge funds can be hit by direct hacks, the bigger risk is that their own people get “socially engineered” by attackers who get access to seemingly innocuous information from social media, for example.
The hardest part of the job? “Whaling,” she said, referring to hackers’ tracking the activities of a fund’s founder or CIO. “The VIPs in a firm may say they’re too busy to be trained. But security requires constant leadership.”