SunGard recently released Cliq, a Web-based service that standardizes electronic communication between the buy-side and sell-side institutional firms that are involved in listed derivatives post-trade activity. JLN’s Jessica Titlebaum sat down with Anthony Scianna, SunGard’s executive vice president of product management and marketing, to discuss Cliq, how Scianna got in the industry and how he spends his time outside of work.
Q: How did you get into this business?
A: In college, I was a chemical engineer and I was good at math. Wall Street was wide open and my first job was a trainee margin clerk at Hornblower & Weeks, Hemphill, Noyes. Vincent Fay ran all of margining while I worked there. He wrote the credit division handbook and it was interesting to train under him. I spent a year there and then moved to Spears, Leads and Kellogg.
I will never forget my interview (at Spears, Leads and Kellogg). It went extremely well. He was asking me very direct questions about margining and after I answered them all correctly, he asked me when I could start. I began as a margin clerk and by the time I left, nine years later, I was running their retail margin department.
I came to SunGard in April 2001 as part of a move to hire industry knowledge-able people. I was a business guy working in global business development and part of the reason I was hired was because I was a customer of SunGard. In between Spears and Sungard, I was at Refco (Securities) helping develop the globalization of the Phase3 work. (Stream Phase3 is a securities processing system). When I was hired at SunGard, they wanted me to continue to develop Phase3.
Q. As vice president of product management and marketing, what are some of your responsibilities? What is your daily routine?
A: As product manager, I try to make sure we are setting the right strategic direction for our solutions. Given the current market conditions, we try to utilize technology to help our customers prepare for the changing business and regulatory environment.
We are part of the brokerage and clearance business within SunGard Financial Systems, focused on business processes related to the management of post-trade services for all types of financial institutions, including broker dealers, FCMs, banks and investment firms, etc.
In terms of a daily routine, I travel a lot. I go to the gym more when I travel than when I am at home…but I am always talking with customers.
I look at our products and after talking to customers, determine what functionalities we should be adding. Should we be investing more money into our products or should we spend our money on other functionalities? I have a team that manages each product and we look at all the moving pieces. We look at what we have, what we are trying to do and develop and then, roll it up all into a single format.
For example, we have been working on Cliq for the last nine months. After the acquisition of GL Trade, customers were asking us what happens next since we had a lot of moving parts. We looked at our customer’s pain points and asked how we could help the industry. We came up with Cliq, a Web-based service that standardizes the communication between the buy and sell-side financial institutions. This way everyone can see the transparency of the transaction from the moment a trade is made… By offering Cliq, we are offering a solution to efficiency, transparency and network challenges that the industry faces on a daily basis.
Q: If you weren’t in this position, what would you be doing?
A: When I was in high school and college, I never thought I would have a job that would be in an office all day. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. I thought I would be changing the world, a park ranger, spending time outdoors…
Q. What is the hardest part of your job?
A: Finding the time to do everything and knowing what time zone I am in when I am doing it.
Also, it ís hard to know how much time to be spending on what. Maybe I will decide to spend more time on the OTC space and not so much the equity space. That would affect products in different ways. It ís not that I am turning my back on one product or another. It ís more about looking ahead and seeing what we should focus on for 2011. Also, it ís important to be there for our customers when they need us. Going out and talking to customers, talking on panels, being prepared for what comes next.
It is hard to prepare for what comes next with all the regulation and business proxies in flux. As a vendor, it is hard to see where we should spend our time.
Q. Did you have any mentors throughout your career?
A: I learned a lot from the margin clerks at Hornblower. A guy working at Spears, Leads and Kellogg, Joseph Roeffler, mentored me and taught me more about the business and more than I have learned anywhere else. He taught me why we did what we did and why the business was what it was. Debts, interests, credits…you come in as a trainee not really understanding how Wall Street works and learning all of that was very important to me. I still think of Joseph today.
Q. What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
A: I am a big music fan. I like jazz, blues, rock and roll. I also love classical music.
Q. What was the last concert you went to?
A: Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Beck took over Eric Clapton’s role in the Yardbirds. All part of the original British invasion.