Ranging from regulatory expressions to complex operating models and tactics, operational excellence provokes and often inspires the development of the asset management industry. While it might seem like a maze to some, it’s an exhilarating challenge to others.
One of such thrill seekers is Bobana, an Oversight Manager at East Capital. Her story is truly spectacular. Together with Strivr, she is transforming the way the financial industry is operating and evolving. We asked Bobana to discuss what it means to be a leader in challenging circumstances, future trends and day-to-day routines that help asset managers grow.
How did you start working at East Capital?
Before I moved to Sweden in 2015, I was working in Human Resources (HR) and Administration within Construction, even though I studied International Finance.
So when I moved, I was searching for a job in HR because I thought it would be the easiest way to settle in the market. After working in HR for one or two years, I found a job here at East Capital as a replacement for a Senior Event Manager for the exclusive events they often held.
At the same time, I was curious to explore other departments too. One day, a job ad for the Oversight Middle Office department showed up. I needed new challenges, so I jumped in. To be honest, it was hard at first, but that was the best decision I’ve ever made. I completely fell in love with the industry.
As you may know, during that time the situation on the market has been quite complex, and it remains to be so. With COVID-19 first, followed by the Energy Crisis and the war in Ukraine – all of these events have been tragic, but they also allowed me to grow fast. One day counted for ten regular days, and my capabilities grew with it.
You went from assistant to manager in four years. That’s impressive. Was it always your goal to reach the leading role?
Absolutely. My ambitions are high, so I was always open about them. East Capital is excellent at providing opportunities to explore new areas and grow. I started as an Office and Event Assistant, then I became an Oversight Specialist, and now I am an Oversight Manager.
When I was younger, I figured that everyone wants the same thing – to take giant leaps in their career – but it’s not like that. There are different personalities and there are people with different talents.
I enjoy the challenges, thinking out of the box or taking decisions in times of change. I wanted more mandate and responsibility, and I was given that.
You mentioned the challenges you faced in the last couple of years. What’s your take on operational excellence in a complex environment?
I have to say, I started advocating Strivr one and a half years ago. Times were complex, so Strivr was not only a valuable tool for building my career, but it was valuable for our entire operations team.
Back then, every part of the organisation went through changes, and they were faced with challenges on many levels. For us, one of such challenges was the structure and our processes. I remember thinking: ‘It doesn’t matter what you do – if you don’t have a centralised tool, your business is open to risks.’
Manual work for operations teams is inevitable, and that is a risk that you cannot eliminate completely. Nonetheless, you can always try to minimise it by automating, tracking and monitoring what you can.
That’s a big part of what we get with Strivr, and I’m really happy with the value it brings. My colleagues are often joking that Strivr is my baby, and it is, really. I’ve been working closely with Fabian (ed. Co-founder of Strivr) and discussing possible improvements for both East Capital, and Strivr. Tools like Strivr help us grow, and we can explore our full potential.
Do you see any trends or future possibilities regarding digitalisation and operational excellence?
Generally, I’m a big fan of innovation. When you’re managing other people’s capital, you must be extremely aware of operational risks and try to fight them. One of the ways to do it is by automating and neutralising the risk of human errors.
We are working closely with our IT department, and we try to invest resources toward automatisation. Sometimes it is challenging and takes a lot of time. Sometimes you face financial or technical limitations. However, if there is a problem, there is a solution. If there is something that we cannot automate – how can we still make it safer for our clients? Can we do it in-house? Can we outsource? We are trying to face these limitations head-to-head. That’s how we are. Even though the risk is always there, with a good approach – it’s manageable.
That sounds like a great mindset for someone in your role. So, if you had any advice or tips for others working in the asset management industry, what would they be?
Well, from an operational perspective, it’s worth thinking about a good attitude when it comes to investing in human capital who uses the software your business is purchasing. It’s important to improve your process flow from both technology and people’s perspective.
It enables the minimisation of risks and leaves more space for you to continuously improve your organisation. Digitise at least one part, and you will have more time to work on valuable projects. Here, tools like Strivr are essential.
Strivr is an Operations Hub for the Financial Services Industry. It enables users to showcase their work as the tool helps to track, prioritise and oversee business-critical recurring processes within their operations and administrative teams.
The solution is proven to increase control and oversight of these tasks while mitigating risk, reducing errors, increasing compliance and ultimately fostering healthier work relationships.
Strivr highlights when the process needs to be completed, by whom and its priority level – while detailing how to perform the task, all in one window. In the main workspace, you can easily retrieve, verify and sign off on the status of any process in real-time.
The best thing? It doesn’t require a big implementation project – it’s a secure online platform that is simple to use, and gives you a full audit trail.
Every client we work with has confirmed that their Operational Excellence has increased thanks to Strivr.
If you’re interested, book a free 15-minute consultation with us here.