Emma Kalliomaki, Managing Director of ANNA and the DSB talks to Lynn Strongin Dodds about the importance of communication and consultation.
Long before Covid-19 swept across Europe and working remotely was enforced, Emma Kalliomaki decided to take a new job, move to Sweden with her family and work more from home for a better lifestyle balance. The one thing that didn’t change was her drive to take on new challenges.
Kalliomaki, who is Managing Director of the Association of National Numbering Agencies (ANNA) and the Derivatives Service Bureau, joined both groups in 2016 from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) where she spent 12 years. She started at the exchange in credit control, rising through the ranks to head of reference data, including SEDOL* Masterfile (SMF) and corporate actions, as well as the UK NNA (National Numbering Agency) and the LEI (Legal Entity Identifier) Local Operating Unit functions.
At the LSE, Kalliomaki rebuilt the SEDOL Masterfile system and led several initiatives including establishing the LSE as a local operating unit in the global LEI system as well as in the UK numbering agency for International Securities Identification Numbers (ISINs) and Classification of Financial Instruments (CFI) codes.
Her work and management experience at the LSE have held her in good stead in her current role where she spends around 60% of her time at the DSB and 40% at ANNA, which is a global member association seeking to foster standardisation within the financial industry.
DSB and ANNA
The DSB which was founded by ANNA has been designated by the Financial Stability Board as the sole service provider for the future Unique Product Identifier (UPI) system and is working in collaboration with the industry as a fully automated global generator of ISINs, CFIs, and Financial Instrument short names (FISNs) for over the counter (OTC) derivatives.
“One of the reasons why I took the job at ANNA was because it was a new role, their first MD appointment, and the DSB was being established as a new initiative,” says Kalliomaki. “When I joined it was a bare bone of an organisation and I liked the idea of being part of getting it up and running. Also, my experience at the LSE was in traditional asset classes and this gave me a chance to broaden my experience to OTC. Ultimately, it ties back to data and standardisation, which are core aspects of my expertise.”
She adds, “Within the DSB, my main role is governance and oversight. Each year we launch an annual consultation for industry feedback to see how we should evolve our services. This year we are also starting the pre-implementation of the UPI solution.”
At ANNA, her role is to advocate for the 120 membership in terms of standardisation, adoption of ISINs as well as to work with the board to liaise with regulators and other stakeholders. Although the ANNA Secretariat is based in Frankfurt, the Board has a global composition and Kalliomaki says they were happy for her to work from home in Sweden where her husband is from.
While this has also allowed her to spend more time with her son, she had a busy travel schedule until Covid-19 and the lockdown grounded her. This not only included quarterly DSB meetings in London, but also attending meetings at an ANNA host member country whether it be in the Middle East, South America, Europe or South Africa. Trade and industry events where she is often a speaker also filled her diary.
Kalliomaki may not currently be racking up the airmiles, but she is busy staying in constant touch with her team and the different stakeholders. “Communication is everything and it is even more important now,” says Kalliomaki. “However, the knock-on impact of no-one travelling is the output of the work is higher because we are now all at our desks every day.”
She adds, “I am a strong believer in open dialogue and am very much a ‘say what you mean’ kind of person. When promoted to manager, one of the biggest challenges was moving from being part of the team to leading it. You have to adapt to how people look at you and how to deliver your message to get the best out of people. One thing I learnt at the LSE was how to foster growth and development. I wanted the team to succeed which meant looking at the skills they needed and listening to their plans”
The best laid plans
Growing up in Sydney, Australia financial services was definitely not on the career horizon. Instead, Kalliomaki had set her sights on travelling and the travel industry. Although she initially went to the US as an au pair, family circumstances brought her back to Australia and through a “circuitous route, I moved to London and decided to get a real job which was at the LSE,” she says.
Although Kalliomaki has advanced in her career, she does believe that women can often either get pigeonholed as emotional or aggressive if they are too direct or assertive. “This led me to think more about my communication style and how to adapt it although, in essence, I am always me and remain true to myself,” she adds.
In general, while she believes progress on the D&I front is being made, “we still need positive action initiatives and one day, when it comes to jobs and certain sectors, I would like to see a balance of representation without the need for additional efforts. I have had two notable experiences of discrimination; one was when a manager was surprised that I wanted to be compensated for additional responsibilities I was asked to take on at the time.”
Her overall advice for people is to adopt an active approach whatever their chosen career path: “Opportunities are about the choices you make and I do believe if you are prepared to work hard, there will be opportunities, but you have to make them happen.”
*SEDOL stands for Stock Exchange Daily Official List, a list of security identifiers used in the United Kingdom and Ireland for clearing purposes.