As a key partner in delivering the future of Macquarie Asset Management, Kim’s remit goes significantly beyond simply providing technology infrastructure. His team works together to problem solve across a range of different roles which include workshopping, consulting, identifying efficiencies in processes and communications, boosting high-value impact, and simplifying processes and information exchanges.
“One of our essential roles is to provide the information and tools needed to enable our business to create insights that support a better outcome,” Kim said. “We guide our stakeholders on how technology can create value, looking at digital transformation rather than electronification of existing or legacy ways of delivering on the demands of the day.”
Breadth and depth of experience
Kim’s career in financial services technology has spanned over 20 years, and both the sector and his role within it have changed dramatically over that time.
“I graduated with a computer science degree from Columbia University and, by virtue of wanting to stay in New York, most of the jobs I interviewed for were for financial services companies,” he said. “I loved programming, but I was also driven to engage with people. I discovered that working in financial services technology meant I was able to sit alongside my business partners and see firsthand how we could collaborate to create better outcomes for all.”
Kim worked for several big-name organizations and ended up at a US bank where he spent 19 years growing his career. He was happy and not actively looking for a different role when he learned about the opportunity with Macquarie in 2019, he said.
“The opportunity with Macquarie would be another professional challenge to explore,” Kim said. “After not interviewing for 19 years, it was an opportunity to figure out what my story was and what drives me. To double down on those things that I am good at as well as passionate about, rather than just the broader range of ‘things I am good at’!”
His interest was subsequently piqued, and so he decided his next challenge would be to join Macquarie as the global head of Macquarie Asset Management’s Investment, Trading & Risk Technology.
“The people I interviewed with were very talented and asked thought-provoking questions,” he said. “One of the common themes that my interviewers impressed on me was that ideas were developed from the bottom up, and I wanted to explore how entrepreneurial Macquarie really was.”
“We also discussed new ideas through the interview process that I actually got to work on just six months in,” David says. “Macquarie makes it easy to get things done.”
The best of Philadelphia and New York
Philadelphia is the global headquarters for Macquarie Asset Management’s Public Investments business. During the pandemic, the business moved to a bespoke new office that has been designed with the latest technology and with its employees at the heart of every design choice.
During his first year with Macquarie, he decided to live in Philadelphia and forge new connections, but post-pandemic he’s been commuting from his home in New York City which he shares with his wife, a Broadway violinist and two children.
“With Macquarie embracing hybrid working, I go into a Macquarie office at least three days a week — it could be Philly or Manhattan,” he said. “Both offices have open floor plans, so it is really easy to collaborate with my colleagues and business partners. A new Manhattan office at 660 Fifth Avenue is in the works, so I’m excited to be able to work in a collaborative, sustainable and technology-led office regardless of which city I’m in.”
Turning data into insights and knowledge
David’s team is also empowering Macquarie Asset Management’s asset managers to derive data-driven outcomes.
One of the current initiatives being worked on by his team is an analytical data platform, which facilitates the ability to ingest, cleanse and analyze external data. This then enables the ability to create rich, data-driven insights that empower Macquarie Asset Management colleagues around the globe to make objective decisions and explore innovative opportunities within their own divisions and teams.
“This is absolutely what drives me,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons I came to Macquarie.”
Over his career, Kim has observed the application of technology become ever more nimble, visible and efficient: “We’ve already seen financial services embrace the cloud and move to more agile ways of working; Macquarie included.”
Encouraging the right questions
Kim believes Macquarie is exceptional at providing its staff with autonomy.
“Macquarie empowers people to learn on their own,” he said. “My manager gives me the space to give it a go and learn something along the way. Failure is simply an opportunity to learn and figure out a better way to do things.
He sees this extend to Macquarie’s collegial, entrepreneurial and disruptive approach to technology, where leaders are likely to say “yes” and engineers are encouraged to upskill or try new things.
Before technology or business knowledge, a growth mindset is crucial to success.
“Macquarie has taught me that having a growth mindset and being open to different perspectives is probably the most important skill to have,” Kim said. “In technology, where it’s constantly evolving, if you have the right learning orientation and a natural curiosity to learn the ‘why,’ before getting to the ‘what’ and the ‘how,’ you will be successful.”
Knowledge is power!
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