An Interview with Sandeep Khera


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

Khera: I have three key priorities in the coming year; Firstly Credit Suisse is looking to expand near-shore delivery capability for key front-office locations globally, giving the business more flexibility and agility to deliver for our clients.

Second, a coordinated and cohesive effort to mature our delivery centres into true centres of excellence that display innovation, year-on-year benefits and agility in their responses to business demand.

Thirdly, refining and improving our workforce strategy approach through better quality data and forecasting tools.

FST Media: What technology or innovation is proving to be disruptive to the banking sector and why?

Khera: There is significant investment in the analytics and big data space from both FinTech startups, and larger financial institutions; more recently joint-ventures that bring these two players together have started to deliver differentiated products to the marketplace – this trend inevitably continues and leads to further disruptions in the industry.

FST Media: How is the Centre of Excellence in APAC delivering value to Credit Suisse, and how are you measuring its success?

Khera: At Credit Suisse, our Centres of Excellence in Asia Pacific were established in 2006 and today they account for a considerable percentage of our footprint in the region and  deliver 24/7 service to our businesses across the globe. 

In order to measure the success of our Centres of Excellence we have implemented a globally aligned governance framework, underpinned by agreed KPIs, which provide us with the ability to monitor and control service delivery at both a regional and a service-by-service level.

The KPIs and metrics we use to measure success are constantly evaluated as strategies evolve, for Credit Suisse the next step for our Global Centres of Excellence is to continue the controlled shift from staff augmentation to outsourced service provision, and as such our measures of success will develop to reflect this.

FST Media: Are banks getting better at recouping the costs of their technology investments?

Khera: From my perspective it is clear that significant effort is being expended up-front to provide clear, logical and realistic business cases with perhaps more conservative ROI estimates.

This clearly demonstrates good intent; however it is crucial to acknowledge the significant impact that external factors continue to have on technology change projects. With the current ‘active’ regulatory and business environment, ‘scope change’ can hinder ROI and business case assumptions.

FST Media: What role does big data, analytics and business intelligence play in the customer journey?

Khera: If you take a typical banking customer journey of acquisition through to relationship management, I believe the impact of these technologies impacts each stage differently depending on the organisation and its customers. At present this is more keenly felt in the retail banking space, whereas in the private and investment banking business it is yet to significantly impact the relationship-based nature of how clients are acquired and managed.

FST Media: Is virtual currency a threat or potential opportunity in the private wealth space, and how should banks respond?

Khera: Whilst positive signs such as the recent proposal by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to regulate the primary Bitcoin exchange (Mt. Gox) indicate that virtual currencies are unlikely to be shut-down indiscriminately; their relative fragility and the degree of controversy regarding how they are administered mean that it will likely be some time before a critical mass of private banking interest exists. In summary it is too early to understand the impact.

FST Media: What is proving to be your most effective customer acquisition channel and why?

Khera: In the Investment Banking space, Credit Suisse is the market leader in equities market-making and dark-pool finance; we have significant experience in this space as well as market leading capability in algorithmic trading. The combination of these is an effective customer acquisition channel for the bank.

On the Private Banking and Wealth Management side, at a global level, customer acquisition remains largely ‘analogue’ and relationship based. However, our investment and innovation in digital banking is key to our attractiveness to many of our clients.

FST Media: What technology or innovation has had the most significant impact upon your career?

Khera: The impact of handheld devices on our everyday working lives has been transformational – today with only a 3/4G enabled device I can hold and attend meetings, review key documents, access the firms secured network and collaborate with my team from anywhere.

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

Khera: Leaders are not remembered for how they made a difference to people, to teams, to companies. I would like to be remembered as a catalyst for innovation, for positive change that improves the way an IT organisation operates, performs or is even perceived.