Fabian Khoshbakht is the Treasury Services head of Client Insight and Innovation at BNY Mellon. Client insight, innovation and business analytics are central to driving their growth agenda across Treasury Services. Fabian drives the strategy and agenda for Treasury Services emerging digital technologies and Fintech partnerships, consulting with clients helping them to keep pace with industry change and developing a deep set of analytics to support these efforts.
This role requires deep understanding of client buying behaviour, industry trends, data analysis, consulting approaches and technology. Fabian has over 25 years of Treasury Services experience.
Pushpendra Mehta, Executive Writer, CTMfile.com, interviewed Fabian Khoshbakht, Treasury Services head of Client Insight & Innovation at BNY Mellon.
The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Fabian, can you share 1-2 of the most important lessons or insights from your successful treasury and finance career that spans BNY Mellon, Caruso, J.P. Morgan, and ANZ Bank, which could help treasury professionals become better at treasury strategy and execution?
My background as a buyer and seller of treasury and financial services has given me a unique perspective of the approaches of both sides – and I have found there is often a disconnect between what bankers offer and what treasurers want. Banks tend to focus on selling a suite of products and services that they have developed for their clients. Yet treasurers do not necessarily want these one-size-fits-all treasury solutions. Instead, they want their banks to consider their specific situation and bring new, tailored ideas, solutions, and innovation to the table. Combining these approaches together is, however, easier said than done.
What I have focused on is embedding myself within the wider industry and delving into the specific needs of our clients: their focus and strategy, what they value and what drives their business forward. Only then can you bring the right combination of ideas and solutions to the table that are realistic and will have a tangible impact once rolled out.
The other insight I would share is to stay focused and be well informed about the direction treasury is headed in. No matter what industry or region you are in, change is a constant. And it is important to stay ahead of change so that we can continue to consistently provide the right insights and value to our clients.
BNY Mellon’s Treasury Services specializes in payments, trade finance, and liquidity. What makes the bank’s Treasury Services in these three areas different from its competitors in terms of meeting the needs of its clients?
We focus on our strength and delivering the solutions that our clients need today and in the future. Rather than focusing on specific products, we instead look at the challenges our clients face to deliver value to them. This is achieved through a consultative and solution-based approach, whereby a combination of our products/services can be deployed to deliver the value our clients seek.
Using Data & Analytics, we can also identify opportunities not just for BNY Mellon, but for our clients as well. Treasury services has been a highly commoditized business for many years and BNY Mellon’s products and services – combined with our unique approach – enables us to support the daily needs of our clients the same, if not better than, our competitors.
Technology, innovation, big data, and analytics are transforming treasury services. How is BNY Mellon’s Treasury Services leveraging the power of innovation, big data, and state-of-the-art technologies to help clients manage their liquidity more efficiently, improve trade finance, reinvent payments, or positively influence any other area of treasury services?
BNY Mellon is laser focused on using data to deliver benefits to our clients. Coupled with the improvements in technology and innovation, our clients are increasingly looking to us to bring new ideas and innovation to their treasury organization. This is no longer confined to what we ourselves can solve, but also what technologies or third parties we can provide access to.
While technology, innovation and data analytics have always driven BNY Mellon, this has been accelerated over recent years as we have looked to work much more closely with our clients to enable real change within their treasury functions. We are, for example, focused on not just providing raw data to our clients, but giving them actionable and outcome-inspired analytics across liquidity, trade, and payments. In addition, ongoing technology advancements within our clients are enabling them to initiate treasury transformations and we are continuously looking at how we can help drive change through their organization.
Are payments (real-time payments, cross-border payments, CBDCs, embedded payments, digital wallets and super apps, BNPL, and open banking) expected to become the centerpiece of corporate treasury services in the near future? If so, which type of payments do you think will exert the most significant impact on the US domestic payments system in the years ahead?
It’s too early to predict which payment type will exert the most impact on the payments landscape in the US, but one thing is certain – the power still lies with the consumer. As such, it is critical that treasury ensures the right payments channels are available and viable options – not just today but into the future. Consumers embrace convenience and ease of use and we have seen that across digital wallets on cell phones and the advent of buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) options – with competition and availability of these services increasing. Regulation is yet to fully catch up with the innovation in this space and that is something we are looking at very closely.
Meanwhile business-to-business (B2B) transactions continue to lag, with check and traditional automated clearing house (ACH) payments accounting for most payments in the United States. That said, BNY Mellon has certainly seen an increase in real-time payments (RTP) domestically as it continues to gain traction within specific industries. And as the market continues to build its understanding around these use cases, we anticipate continued growth.
What are the biggest challenges facing bank treasury services today, and how is BNY Mellon Treasury Services addressing them?
The biggest challenge is being nimble, ensuring fast time to market and fostering continued innovation. Our clients are looking to us as a source of trust and with that comes a desire for us to also move quickly and deliver the products, services, and innovations our clients demand.
Fabian Khoshbakht, thank you for sharing your time and perspectives with us.
Like this item? Get our Weekly Update newsletter. Subscribe today