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Tuesday, 23rd April 2024
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Mark Browne
Assistant Vice President, State Street Corporation. State Street Corporation has $6.1 trillion in assets under custody and $729 billion under management.

How long have you been in your current position? Just over three years. Originally, based in Boston, my career with State Street started in 1995 as an International Management Trainee. This was an 18 month training programme involving one rotation in operations and three rotations in core business areas with direct participation in strategic projects.

In ‘97, I relocated to London, to State Street’s Canary Wharf office, and worked on the acquisition and integration of our Edinburgh operation. A year later, I moved into my current role with the Global Relationship Management team and into the City - no more Docklands Light Railway!

What exactly does your job involve? Briefly describe a typical day. Are there substantial differences between the range and scale of your work now and before?
I work as part of an international team, which has responsibility for strengthening, expanding and co-ordinating relationships with global investment managers.

My day involves meetings with senior investment managers to determine their strategic objectives, to understand how we can better meet their needs and to keep them informed of State Street’s new products and services; co-ordinating cross-functional global ‘relationship management teams’; resolving service issues; keeping abreast of industry trends and developments; and preparing for monthly meetings with the CEO and Divisional heads.

Because the Global Relationship Management team works with all of State Street’s business units and sites worldwide, the range and scale of work is very broad.

The difference between now and my earlier days at State Street is probably the wider range of projects I am involved in and of course the responsibility levels are a lot different from those of an International Trainee.

How much of your time do you spend outside Ireland?
Too much! However, I do make it home several times a year for holidays, ‘family do’s’ and rugby internationals. I also make ‘day trips’ every couple of months to meet with our IFSC based clients, so that affords me the chance to catch up on things in Dublin.

What was your initial reaction when you were offered this position abroad? How has your opinion changed since you have taken the job?
On completing my assignment in Boston, I was thrilled that State Street wanted to keep me on but I must confess I was initially reluctant to accept a position in London. However, it was nearer to home than Boston and actually as it turns out, London has been a very exciting City to work in. All of the major global financial services companies are within fifteen minutes of the ‘Square mile’ - my boss calls it the ‘Wimbledon effect’ - the world’s leading players, playing an international game, on a London court.

The added advantage is that there is a brilliant Irish ‘crew’ over here and I must confess we’ve enjoyed many a good night and sometimes early mornings too! So I suppose London is pretty good after all!

How does your operation fit strategically within the overall group’s business?
Our operation is really vital as State Street’s primary focus is on servicing institutional investors worldwide. Our relationships with investment managers are multidimensional, touching many parts of State Street through a broad and changing range of products and services. It is the intention of State Street’s Global Relationship Management team to elevate relationships to a partnership level - to act as a consultant to and advocate for clients, while ensuring a coherent, cross-divisional approach to their needs.

What’s the best thing about being located outside Ireland? Looking back, how close is Ireland to the cutting edge of financial services?
Personally, gaining a broad perspective on life in general and in particular seeing at first hand a range of international business operations has been very rewarding. I suppose the chance to experience new things and the opportunity to meet and work with people with very different backgrounds to my own, has been, to say the least, enriching.

Ireland is developing its place in the financial world and as an offshore ‘fund’ centre, Dublin is very much at the ‘cutting edge’. State Street has a very successful Alliance with Bank of Ireland Securities Services in the IFSC. Hopefully the continued development and growth of e-business infrastructure in the IFSC
will further Ireland’s position as a major player in international finance.

What’s the worst thing about being abroad?
Lousy Guinness, no Tayto, and not being able to just ‘up and go’ to The West of Ireland for weekends and of course missing family & friends too.

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