Game Changers

Game Changer Profile

Nancy Selph, COO of Innovation & Data Governance, Deutsche Bank

Nancy Selph, COO of Innovation & Data Governance at Deutsche Bank Read insights

Nancy Selph is the COO for Innovation and Data Governance at Deutsche Bank in New York. She manages the central team that supports the innovation function globally through labs in locations around the world. The labs collaborate with a global focus and share three principal goals: to help the bank evaluate and adopt emerging technologies, to develop a culture of innovation, and to contribute to the bank's digital strategy.

The launch of the Deutsche Bank Innovation Lab New York in March marked the fourth lab in the iconic bank’s global initiative to create an ecosystem for Fintech innovation. Representing an integral component of the Frankfurt-based bank’s broader, growth-oriented digital strategy of enhancing products and service to clients, the labs explore and evaluate scores of start-ups and emerging technologies to unlock business benefits such as better risk management, tighter controls and enhanced client experience.

The innovation labs were the brainchild of Kim Hammonds, Member of the Management Board and Group Chief Operating Officer, three years ago after she joined Deutsche Bank from Boeing. The labs are located near Deutsche Bank’s business and technology centers and embedded within top innovation ecosystems. The core function of labs teams are as innovation specialists representing the bank’s interests. They seek to understand the demand challenges of internal partners within the bank and then look to globally vet new and emerging technologies. They then explore if there is a match and conduct experimentation to see if the solution can work inside the bank.

Among the technologies Deutsche Bank has adopted via the labs is a web-based financial risk analysis tool. The new service alerts credit risk officers so they can actively manage client ratings, thereby supporting better business decisions and liquidity for clients. Another tool helps analyze surveillance data harvested from multiple sources bank-wide.

The labs help transform the bank through adopting emerging technologies and by working on the more complex process and technology themes the bank faces. Digital retail banking, Distributed Ledger and the future of international payments are some of the larger challenges they are exploring.

“Some people believe innovation has to be instant and revolutionary. But all eureka moments come from years of hard work and evolutionary change. Global banks will evolve to where we want to be in this same way. We will utilize new technologies to solve challenges that will be rolled out incrementally across the bank.”

Having worked for a Fintech pioneer in the early 1990s, Selph has the benefit of having both witnessed the impacts of several game-changing innovation generations in the finance sector, and of understanding changing expectations in an age of digitally empowered customers. In her career, she has held key operations and executive roles with five investment banks.

“I joined a small company called Teknekron Software Systems in 1990, which revolutionized the way trading floors operated,” she recalls. “Teknekron developed the middleware which distributed digitized stock market data to trading floors. The company became TIBCO in 1994. That technology in the early ‘90s was game-changing. We knew more about technology than the people using the systems, which is typically not the case today. This is because most people working at Deutsche Bank, or any other enterprise, tend to have access to faster and cheaper consumer products than we can provide inside of the bank. Banks have merged and they have been acquired, and they have different systems for varied purposes. It is very challenging to fully integrate those systems. That is one of the challenges the bank has when adopting new technologies.”

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