Q&A with Mercatus Strategic Advisory Board Member Paul Thompson

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Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson

Earlier this year we announced we formed a Strategic Advisory Board made up of experienced technology and investment professionals in the private markets. In this new series, we’ll get to know each one a little bit better.

Paul Thompson recently retired as Barings Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Head of Global Investment Services. He was a member of the firm’s Executive Leadership Team, and was also a Board Member of Babson Capital Europe, Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors and Wood Creek Capital Management. He was responsible for oversight of the firm’s trading operations, middle office, information technology, finance department, portfolio/client services and investment risk organizations. He has over 26 years of investment industry experience with a focus on creating business scale and operational efficiency.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in investment management and more specifically the private markets?

Moving into investment management was a natural progression for my career. Early in my career, I was part of the trustee/collateral administration services team for State Street Bank. The product that I serviced was CDO’s/CLO’s which had daily interactions with our clients who were investment managers. The knowledge and experience I gained there with public/private assets led me to be recruited by investment managers.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing technology leaders in the private markets today?

The biggest challenge is the ability for business users to be open to change, commit time, and a willingness to adopt technology solutions.

What advice would you give to an asset manager that is just beginning to embark on finding a data management solution?

The best advice I could offer an asset manager is to focus on what the outcome and end state they are trying to achieve. Mixing legacy processes with new solutions can significantly delay initiatives.

“Data as a competitive edge” is a great soundbite. From your experience, what are the tangible benefits to better data management, and why does this matter?

The biggest benefit is timely and accurate reporting. The improved transparency benefit will improve the confidence and trust between the investment manager and their investors.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

Occasionally golf, but I really enjoy watching my children play sports. It gets more exciting the older they get!

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