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Inside J.P. Morgan's Payments Strategy: Q&A With Managing Director Christine Doria

Globalization, regulation and efficiency are among the top challenges corporate customers face today, according to Christine Doria, managing director, global product executive, USD clearing, J.P. Morgan Treasury Services (New York). BS&T editorial director Katherine Burger caught up with Doria to find out how the bank is helping its corporate and financial institution clients address these challenges.

For more on banks' payments strategies, download our special November digital issue.

What do your responsibilities encompass?

Doria: My key responsibility is to set the strategy and vision for the business, and to develop and communicate actionable execution plans to achieve that strategy. … I partner very closely with our sales, technology, operations and client service partners to align strategic agendas and agree on coordinated action plans and metrics. ... Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of my role is creating our product development agenda and seeing the evolution of a concept into a tangible, differentiating service.

What are the biggest issues your clients face, and how do they expect J.P. Morgan Treasury Services to help them address these challenges?

Doria: Clients face challenges -- and opportunities -- in three critical areas:

Globalization: Firms need to grow internationally to leverage scale and tap into new growth markets. Financial services companies are seeking to expand their global capabilities in response to their clients' international expansion.

Regulations: Understanding and addressing the direct and indirect impacts of regulatory reforms is critical. Banks are concerned about the additional costs imposed by regulatory requirements and need greater visibility and control into their liquidity and transaction flows. Managing risk and compliance complexities is high on banks' strategic agenda.

Operational Efficiency: Cost reduction and operational efficiency are crucial, especially when operating in a global and more complex regulatory environment. Banks must confront the challenge of balancing organic growth with strategic partnerships as they seek to develop efficient and cost-effective solutions for clients.

Our clients' expectations are that we actively engage them to understand their business drivers as well as their challenges and opportunities. The conversation with financial institution clients has expanded to include their heads of FI as well as corporate relationships. Finance, tax and legal experts may also be involved. The expectation is that J.P. Morgan will "bring the firm" in terms of providing end-to-end solutions.

Is the bank pursuing initiatives around operational efficiency?

Doria: Clients gain efficiency and quality benefits with a reduced risk profile when they can rationalize disparate providers and leverage one or two strategic partners with scale and global footprint. We start with the basics in working with clients, reviewing their payment and receivable flows across currencies, account structures, liquidity and working capital requirements. We then brainstorm solutions, optimizing the number and purpose of accounts. The client gains efficiency benefits from this rationalization and optimization strategy by maximizing its purchasing power, simplifying internal operations and reconciliations, and reducing errors and losses. New services can be introduced quickly and effectively across its entire client base, without concerns for fragmented solutions.

The bank's recent "voice of the industry" study showed that payments collaboration is high on the agenda of banking clients. What does this involve and what role does J.P. Morgan Treasury Services play in this effort?

Doria: The importance of a collaborative approach amongst banks is ever growing. FI clients see their corporate clients expanding rapidly into new geographies to gain access to new, high-growth markets, as well as diversified supply chains and labor pools. Laying down bricks and mortar in markets is expensive and time consuming. Strategic partnerships offer an FI quick access to services in these markets, so that they can satisfy and retain their corporate clients.

We have developed reference account solutions, where our FI clients can leverage our platforms in local markets or through our Multicurrency Account Solution to provide their corporate clients with access to local payment and receivables capabilities. These reference accounts are accounts that will be opened at JPMorgan in the name of the FI client. Advantages for these types of accounts include reduced fees and charges and simpler standing settlement instructions.

What is mobile's potential in treasury services, particularly in the area of payments?

Doria: Mobile solutions for payments has been a hot topic for many years and will continue to get attention as the world becomes more and more tied to their smartphones and now tablets. Notifications, advising and reporting are the first steps and make the most sense as they allow for instant updates in a world where information is power. Low-value and consumer payments also make a nice fit as users like the convenience of being able to make these transactions on a device they use for so many other activities.

The high-value payment space will be the last to converge due to the sensitivity and security required. But as this technology continues to improve and treasurers want ease of execution, you will see more and more development in the mobile payment space across all payment types.

Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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