An interview with Anastasia Cammaroto


BT Financial Group’s Chief Information Officer speaks to FST Media about what wealth management will look like in 2020.

FST Media: What are your IT priorities for the next 12 to 18 months?

Cammaroto: Looking at the fast-moving world of technology trends and capabilities with the startup mindset, a key priority for me is to bring into BT Financial Group new strategies to determine what to pre-empt, what to fast-track and what to ignore.

Cloud, analytics, the API economy and others are all extremely exciting, but they have to result in a tangible, differentiated customer experience that “wows” our clients. In BT Financial Group, we are continuously experimenting and assessing these new capabilities — we look for how they can simplify the customer experience, deliver new services quickly, ensure we are even more secure, and also make a difference to how our customers interact with BT.

Equally as important is executing well on our committed strategies. Our innovation in Panorama and its profound capabilities in making more wealth assets even more accessible, will continue to be a key priority. Our investment in Panorama allowed us to create Australia’s leading wealth platform, and puts us in a great position in the new digital arena. We are continuing the transformation of our Advice business and leveraging process management, mobility and analytics tools, to deliver guidance and advice to more customers. We are also leveraging the strong foundation across our Super and Insurance services and opening those up to further straight-through processing, as well as digital access – ensuring our customers receive their services faster and in the channel of their choice.

FST Media: What technology or innovation currently flying under the radar is destined to make an impact on financial services?

Cammaroto: It is certainly not flying under the radar, but the combination of mobility and social have a long way to go in financial services. Most organisations have an app and a social presence, but there is huge potential in bringing them together, explicitly and with focus. I watch my kids interact with their social platforms on their mobile devices as if they were born to do it and not taught, and so I can foresee a world where every service (financial, educational or other) will be primarily delivered through those interactions.

FST Media: What will wealth management look like in 2020?

Cammaroto: The wealth management industry’s focus on client relationships and deep understanding of client’s goals, circumstances and activities, will continue for as long as the industry exists – way beyond 2020. There will always be a need for retirement strategies, access to insurance for unfortunate life events as well as access to advice to make sense of the complexities. What will certainly change in the next five years is the ways those relationships are built and maintained – digital methods of information and data exchange, video collaborations, social advice and mobility will explode in usage in the next five years. With it will come new services and new business models, as we will see social and technology evolution come together to address new client needs. 

FST Media:  How has BT Financial Group’s Business Transformation Program, Panorama, delivered value to the business and how will you measure success?

Cammaroto: The Panorama program and its resulting offers into the market, have been built using the strong history and experience that BTFG has had with helping advisers manage their businesses and helping our customers manage their wealth. The digital front door that Panorama provides, and the control, flexibility and simplicity it has been built to deliver, are all the core elements to give advisers and investors what they need to manage their day-to-day financial lives. 

Panorama’s success will be measured by how our customers feel about its capabilities – and this will also be the principle driver in its evolution. 

We are releasing product features on Panorama more quickly than ever before, on our platforms – adopting many of the delivery models that successful online software businesses have implemented, such as agile software development, continuous delivery and integration, and robust automation.

FST Media: What does the rollout of tablets to financial planners mean for increased efficiency and customer centricity?

Cammaroto: Just as our customers have embraced mobile technology to manage their lives, tablets have underpinned our focus on mobility for staff. Our financial advisers are no longer tied to their desks behind reams of paper. They have information available at their fingertips and can use that to have deep, insightful conversations with their customers, wherever that may be.

FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation in your team?

Cammaroto: Innovation can only be unlocked by three main factors: truly embracing diversity of thought and experience; allowing experimentation that results in fast success and fast failure; and continuously improving, learning and getting better at every stage.  Innovation has to be in your language and actions but it also has to be in your processes and structures.

Innovation has been a core part of our culture for a long time and we continue to “feed and water” it with focus. 

FST Media: What methods appeal to you to increase the number of women in IT? 

Cammaroto: The “right” method is always dependent on the context of the company and industry: one size certainly does not fit all. In BTFG technology we begin right at the start-line – asking why female students don’t find excitement in science, engineering and technology from their high school days, and working to debunk myths and perceptions. We bring co-op students, work experience and undergraduate students into the company and give them real life exposure to IT in financial services. We have found that the majority of those students come back to join our graduate program or our workforce.

Visibility of some fantastic female role models is also important and motivating. Cheryl Sandberg from Facebook, Marissa Mayer from Yahoo, and locally, Pip Marlow from Microsoft, are  strong advocates, both of IT and also the impact that women can have in this sector. 

FST Media: Every leader has a legacy they wish to be remembered for, what is yours?

Cammaroto: I would like to be remembered for creating a culture and leading the team that brought together the huge potential of technology into real, tangible outcomes for our customers. I am impassioned by the amazing impact that highly-motivated and inspired people can bring to an industry, particularly one undergoing such significant evolution.

FST Media: How will the role of the CIO change over the next five years and to what extent will technology shape the career path of the CIO as we know it today?

Cammaroto: The evolution of the CIO role has been constant over the last 10 years and will continue for as long at technology evolves. CIOs today navigate areas of specialty and commodity, finding that “right” balance between what you drive and create internally, versus what you access externally.

CIOs are continually crossing traditional boundaries: from infrastructure and data centre management to cloud provider brokers, from software development leaders to software package integrators, from technology architects to business consultants. In addition, the very real demand for exceptional technologists means that you need to be able to build a strong “people” organization, supported by a culture of learning, skill renewal and leadership. 

As workforce patterns change and more people move to digital methods of doing business, the role of the CIO will move even closer to the customer, and any traditional perceptions such as this being a back-office role will rapidly disappear – something that we have already seen happening in our industry.

FST Media: Where do you see cloud adoption in wealth management and insurance over the next five years? 

Cammaroto: I see cloud adoption moving faster in the next 5 years than it has in the last 2. With more cloud providers moving into the Australian market and the issue of data sovereignty being better understood and managed, we will see the potential of cloud technologies expand across more than peripheral uses. Platforms as a service, leased and unleased on a subscription basis, will suit the needs of investors and advisers who need that flexibility, but will also suit the needs of large organisations that need to move services to market, as fast as the speed of technology.