Interview with Financial Services Tech Leader, Duncan Stuart-Reid

Duncan is a passionate technologist with 25 years of experience as an operational and IT leader within financial services. His career has taken him from London to New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and back again.

During his time at some of the largest financial institutions across the globe, Duncan has been responsible for building and implementing efficient, scalable, and robust operational processes, systems, and services. Duncan, who joined our company nine months ago, is now bringing his learnings from these invaluable experiences to SteelEye.

Recently appointed as our Chief Operating Officer, Duncan is a vital addition to the SteelEye team and is instrumental in ensuring that we efficiently and successfully scale our business.

Duncan has a wealth of knowledge and experience that we want to share, so I recently sat down with him to discuss his background, career, passion for technology, and more. We hope you enjoy the interview.

Matt Smith
CEO, SteelEye


Matt: Tell us about yourself and where your passion for technology stems from

Duncan: Having lived abroad for the last 12 years, I recently moved back to my hometown of Leicester with my husband.

I have been interested in technology since a young age. When I was growing up, I was lucky to have parents that encouraged me to engage with technology. For example, they gave me and my brother the opportunity to work with computers before they were widely available to the mainstream – which was the catalyst for my deep-rooted love of all things tech.

This subsequently led me to study computer science and mathematics at university which resulted in me pursuing a career in technology and operations.

"When I was growing up, I was lucky to have parents that encouraged me to engage with technology."

 

Matt: What do you love so much about technology?

Duncan: In today’s highly digitalized world, no organization, let alone a financial firm, would be able to operate without technology. Technology is the foundation that keeps financial companies and the industry going, which I find incredibly empowering.

"Technology is the foundation that keeps financial companies and the industry going, which I find incredibly empowering."

Without email or chat systems there would be no communications, without access to a Bloomberg terminal, EMS, or OMS systems trading would look very different, and without computers to work on, well who knows how people would work. Technology teams enable all of this.

It is an incredibly diverse and broad function which means that if you work in technology you get to collaborate with virtually all departments within an organization. This, coupled with the fact that tech teams need to carry a huge depth of organizational knowledge to fully understand all business processes – is what I love about technology and operations.

 

Matt: Can you tell us about your career in finance?

Duncan: My first job in finance was at Merrill Lynch as a Software Development Engineer within the derivatives trading business which was a fantastic experience. I got to work with some incredibly talented people who had PHDs from Cambridge or degrees from the École Polytechnique in Paris. This was a great way of learning from some of the smartest people in the business.

I then joined Citigroup. While I was based out of London, I traveled back and forth to New York on a weekly basis for several years and gained a wealth of experience liaising between the UK and US teams.

This then led me to Daiwa Capital Markets which brought me to Tokyo. My experience in bridging the gap between different offices at Citi gave me the foundation I needed as the role required me to liaise between the Japanese teams and internationally based functions.

I was then incredibly lucky to be made an offer to join Noble Group in Hong Kong where I progressed to their Group Chief Information Officer, a move that saw me stationed in Hong Kong for 11 years. At Noble, I got to know and work alongside Matt Smith who several years later asked me to join SteelEye.

Interview with SteelEye's Duncan Stuart-Reid

 

Matt: What has living and working in different countries taught you?

Duncan: Learning about and experiencing different cultures has shaped how I approach almost everything I do. It has taught me to recognize how different people, teams, offices, and companies have different perspectives and therefore choose to do things for different reasons.

For example, working for a Japanese company after working for an American one, I quickly learned that the profit-driven – minimum input for maximum output – approach that we see in the West is very different from how Japanese companies operate. In Japan, the success of a project is measured more by achieving the highest quality outcome, rather than time to market or minimum cost, therefore projects are generally given much more time, budget, and resource.

Understanding how different cultures operate is something that I believe will be crucial to SteelEye’s success as we continue to expand into the US and start exploring opportunities in APAC.

"I have found that the more diverse a team or company is, with multiple points of view, the better at problem-solving they become, leading to better outcomes overall."

Another key lesson traveling has taught me is that there isn’t a single solution to any one problem but there can be multiple ways to get to a positive outcome. In fact, I have found that the more diverse a team or company is, with multiple points of view, the better at problem-solving they become, leading to better outcomes overall.

 

Matt: Can you describe your role and what you hope to achieve?

Duncan: My goal is to ensure that every single person at SteelEye has the tools, processes, and procedures they need to meet their objectives. We have aggressive growth targets like any scale-up.

My job is to help everyone at SteelEye achieve efficient success. I look up to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and how he when he joined as COO, took a successful organization that was already well organized and increased its efficiency and thereby success by many times over.

"My job is to help everyone at SteelEye achieve efficient success."

If I can help to improve our operational processes and procedures at SteelEye anywhere nearly as good as Tim Cook, I will be very proud.

 

Matt: What attracted you to RegTech and SteelEye?

Duncan: Having worked within traditional finance for most of my career, I knew I wanted a new experience.

While I didn’t really know what RegTech entailed before I started talking to Matt about SteelEye, I got excited about the prospect of learning about a new facet of the industry.

The more I uncovered about SteelEye’s compelling proposition and growth potential, the more excited I became about joining the company and supporting its growth journey.

We have ambitious objectives which I am confident we can meet, but that means we have lots to do, and this really excites me. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this journey?!

"The more I uncovered about SteelEye’s compelling proposition and growth potential, the more excited I became."

 


Interview with Duncan Stuart-Reid - SteelEye COO

About Duncan Stuart-Reid:

Specializing in building and implementing technical operational processes, systems, and services, Duncan Stuart-Reid has held various senior positions during his 25 years in financial services.

Duncan’s career has taken him from London to Tokyo to Hong Kong, where he most recently served as the Group CIO for Commodity Trading Company, Noble Group. He has also spent time at Daiwa Capital Markets, CitiGroup, and Merrill Lynch in several leadership roles with increasing scope and responsibility.

At Citi, Duncan looked after the global interest rate derivatives technology team, with a staff of one hundred. At Daiwa, he built a new derivatives technology group and implemented systems and processes for Daiwa’s cross-asset-class derivatives business.

At University, Duncan obtained a first-class degree in Mathematics and Computer Science and thereafter began working as a Software Engineer for a multimedia technology start-up.

Aside from Technology, Duncan has a keen interest in sports and tries to follow the Foxes and the Tigers from his hometown of Leicester.