European Women in Finance : Ayelet Har : Coping with the challenge layer cake

Shanny Basar spoke to Ayelet Har, vice president of product and professional services at Cappitech about her work and her career path.

Cappitech is a firm that automates regulatory reporting and provides best execution analysis, and Har’s team is responsible for supporting clients from onboarding onwards, and liaising with them regarding their new product needs. She joined Cappitech in 2018, because she wanted the experience of talking to customers.

She had little idea how critical that role would become this year when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the financial industry to work from home. Har’s team is used to working remotely across four countries but the shift was challenging for some clients.

“When clients moved to remote working they did not all have the ability to connect to a VPN (virtual private network) and their IP addresses were changing every week so their passwords did not work.” she says. Cappitech added a feature to the dashboard to solve this problem, so clients could upload their daily files.

“Our technology is very robust but also very flexible to meet the specific needs, inputs and business processes of clients,” added Har. “We also get a lot of great feedback on our dashboard which is beautiful and easy to use.”

Clients were also able to formally request aid from Cappitech if they needed help to resolve rejections because they could not access the required data.

In addition to the pandemic putting pressure on clients, CME Group announced in May that it would be closing its regulatory reporting business portfolio.

“When we were taking on huge numbers of customers from CME, we were able to divide and conquer to do this while still supporting our regular customers,” Har added.

She continued that the way the team is structured, the knowledge and experience of the individuals and the process for knowledge sharing is key. “We can use employees’ skills and capabilities to focus wherever we need to,” Har said.

CME said the business no longer aligned with the strategic direction of the group following the acquisition of NEX Group in 2018. The decision was significant as the US derivatives exchange group was responsible for about 40% of global trade reporting volume according to a blog by Cappitech at the time.

Hundreds of CME clients needed to find a new trade repository (TR) and/or onboard their reporting with a new vendor after going through the necessary approval procedures.

In August Cappitech completed the first vendor-led porting of historical and current data from CME to REGIS-TR, the trade repository jointly owned by Clearstream, part of Deutsche Börse Group, and Iberclear, part of BME Group. Billions of records, all CME-held open and closed trade data since 2014, needed to be transferred by 20 November 2020 to meet regulatory requirements in the European Union.

Lars Holst, chief executive of GCEX, one of the clients involved in the initial port, said in a statement: “Porting went very smoothly from CME to REGIS-TR, and Cappitech was vigilant in providing the transparency we needed throughout the process. We are happy that this huge undertaking is now successfully behind us.”

Har’s team helped clients transfer to the new TR with minimal impact so they could immediately continue ongoing transaction reporting requirements and also onboard new clients. She explained that onboarding a customer is not just a question of technology.

“We take the time to learn about the customer, the type of trading they do, to understand their business flow, so when we onboard them, we do so correctly and can make sure they are reporting correctly,” Har added. “We hold their hand on a day-to-day basis and take a proactive approach to notify the customers of outstanding items if we see they are unresponsive to issues.”

Har continued that in last year’s NPS survey, which measures the loyalty of customers to a company, Cappitech received a score of 84%, which is relatively high.

“We were very pleased with this,” she said. “In this year’s survey, which is still ongoing, it looks like our score will be even higher which is particularly good to hear in light of this year’s challenges and the fact that we were onboarding so many new clients.”

Next year will bring further challenges as new regulations are implemented. For example, delegated reporting for bond-financial companies begins in January 2021 under the European Union’s Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR). The validation for EMIR, the EU regulation covering centrally cleared derivatives, also changes in March. In addition the United Kingdom will have left the European Union.

Har said: “Customers do not need to make changes to their reporting due to Brexit as Cappitech will know to direct their reporting to the correct approved reporting mechanism (ARM)/trade repository.”

Career
Before joining Cappitech she was a VP, global program management for a European acquiring bank and held strategic operations planning positions in global semiconductor companies.

“I always look to experience something new to extend my knowledge. I had previously spent my career in operations for semiconductor companies and realised that I had not spoken to customers,” Har said. “Cappitech gave me the opportunity to hear customer feedback and make daily connections.”

She holds a B.Sc. (cum laude) in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology and an MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. Har believes there is no question that men and women can do the same thing, so women should do what they find interesting.

“There should be no difference in education, and both should be exposed to the same opportunities,” she added. “For example, my daughter likes Lego although my son does not.”

Her advice to other women is to not be afraid of change or of moving out of their comfort zone. Har said: “They should take advantage of opportunities to put themselves out there such as speaking at conferences and mentorship programs.”
©BestExecution 2020

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