Tech And Talent: Q&A With TD Securities’ CIO Ty Panagoplos

Ty Panagoplos, CIO of TD Securities, explains the importance of technology and talent in keeping pace with change.

Global Finance: When it comes to technology solutions, how easy are they to integrate and why is horizontal scalability so important?

Ty Panagoplos: Horizontal scalability is important because it allows us to meet ever-increasing business, regulatory and risk-management demands without incurring similar increases in infrastructure costs or spending development dollars. In this environment of rising complexity, leveraging cloud providers and other horizontal scaling capabilities helps us to cost-effectively serve the exponential growth in demand for data and computing power. For example, performing calculations at the end of the day is relatively easy, but with today’s demand for immediacy, horizontal scalability enables us to perform advanced streaming calculations at scale in real time, which makes us more agile, faster to market and capable of responding more rapidly to client requests. By focusing on microservices and APIs, we are able to integrate seamlessly with our applications.

GF: What are the primary pain points in capital markets for both banks and investors and what technologies offer the greatest potential to ease them?

Panagoplos: Banks must keep up with the rapid pace of change, demand for electronic trading and significant growth in financial market volumes and complexity. For us as technologists, this translates into growing demand for data, analytics, automation and straight-through process flows. A convergence of technologies, including machine learning, cloud and Big Data, is helping us to meet these demands and offers benefits such as faster client onboarding, product implementation, client insights and pricing.

In this electronic age, delivering a differentiated client experience is critical, and technology and innovation are essential to creating that experience. That’s why TD Bank Group is making strategic investments in industry leaders like Layer 6 and fostering relationships with providers like Microsoft, which can support our digital-transformation journey.

GF: How can a public cloud meet banking’s analytical and security needs and what should banks look for when migrating applications to the cloud?

Panagoplos: We believe that the public cloud shows great potential for the future, offering nearly unlimited resources with scalable platform services and infrastructure, which allows us to scale out very quickly at a reasonable cost. However, data safety is critical, so any cloud solutions we use must be able to meet stringent security and regulatory requirements. We work very closely with our cloud providers to ensure that the right level of security and controls are in place, and we diligently and regularly validate that our data is safe.

Cybersecurity is one of the top items on any bank CEO’s risk radar, so when migrating applications to the cloud, banks need to work with providers who understand the importance of uncompromised security and appreciate the unique needs of highly regulated entities like banks.

GF: How competitive is the job market for applicants with both programming skills and an aptitude for financial markets, and what can banks do to attract the right staff?

Panagoplos: It’s interesting, because for many years tech startups were considered the places to work for top technologists. But more recently we’ve witnessed something of an inflection point and are finding top talent becoming increasingly interested in working with banks. That said, the market for applicants is competitive, so building a strong brand that people will be proud to work for and offering opportunities to do interesting, innovative and meaningful work are key to attracting the right staff.

At TD Securities, we believe that diversity of thought enables us to create better solutions for our clients, so we actively target demographics that are typically underrepresented in finance and technology. We are fortunate to have a large global footprint, which helps us to source talent in both established and emerging technology hot spots.