Investment firm BNY Mellon eyes Indian start-ups in AI, ML to digitise operations

Global investments company BNY Mellon is on mission mode. The banking and financial services company is working on digitising its end-to-end operations. As part of the digitisation strategy, BNY Mellon plans to partner with Indian start-ups working in robotics, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI).

“One area where we are really looking to push more is fintechs in India. We are very much open to fintechs in India but haven’t done as much as we want to, but we are going to push hard on this,” said Roman Regelman, Senior Executive Vice-President, Head of Digital for BNY Mellon.

“We have tie-ups with global fintechs which have operations here, but we don’t have tie-ups with Indian domestic fintechs,” Regelman added.

Headquartered in New York, the world’s largest custodian bank has one-third of its global workforce in India. With a collective workforce of 15,000 employees, the company operates as four entities in India BNY Mellon Technology, BNY Mellon International Operations (India), BNY Mellon India Representative Office, and Pershing India Operational Services. Its cross-functional teams in Chennai and Pune offices handle both technology and global operations of the company.

“One-third of our total workforce is from India, but it is not outsourcing for us; (it is) an integral part of our global footprint,” said Regelman, adding that some of the core capabilities such as robotics, ML and AI are centred in the country.

Digital overhaul

BNY Mellon is going through a complete digital overhaul following Regelman’s appointment as the head of digital at the 235-year old company. Regelman has chalked out a three-bucket strategy to achieve what he refers to as ‘digitising the very bank’. The strategy includes use of AI and robotics to automate reconciliation, client on-boarding, and new businesses processes.

BNY provides investment management, investment services, and wealth management services to institutions and individuals across the globe. The company’s assets under custody and/ or administration stood at $35.5 trillion as on June 2019.

Noting that talent attraction is not a hard task in India, Regelman said the country has a large pool of qualified talent. “We are hiring people from industries, universities. We specialise in things such as robotics and ML, and probably our largest location with these capabilities is from here (India),” said Regelman.

Terming recruitment as an on-going process, Regelman said the company is not looking at increasing the headcount but is focussed on attracting quality talent which must include technical skills as well as behavioural skills.

Highlighting that the company is geography-agnostic in hiring the right talent, he referred to the recent appointment of an Indian as Chief Information Officer.

Regelman also said the company does not plan to open innovation centres in the near future.