Meet…Fred Schpero

fred_squareEagle Investment Systems’ Chief Financial Officer discusses his role in the organization and how he balances the needs of the clients, the shareholder (BNY Mellon) and the rest of the Eagle organization. 

Q: Without cutting you in half and counting the rings, can you just tell us how long you’ve been at Eagle and elaborate on some of the biggest changes you’ve seen over those years?

A: First of all, thank you for not cutting me in half. And if you did, you would see that some circles are bigger than others, as some years seemed to fly by, while others felt like an eternity. That’s another way of saying that I’ve seen the ups and downs of the technology expenditure cycles in my 16 years here at Eagle.

I think the biggest change I’ve witnessed over that time is Eagle’s reaction to those cycles. Early on, we had a tendency to build software for a user base that was pre-determined in our minds. But that seems like a lifetime ago and I don’t even recognize this past iteration in the 2015 version of the Eagle application.

Today’s Eagle is in tune to the trends in the marketplace, and specifically the significant movement over the last five years to Eagle ACCESSSM, our secure private cloud. We are also focused on being solutions-oriented and really understanding the needs of our clients. We work with third parties to expand what we refer to as the Eagle Ecosystem, and recognize that partnering is a good thing, especially with our parent company. This is becoming even more obvious as Eagle has become an integral part of BNY Mellon Technology Solutions, which leverages BNY Mellon’s existing technology assets to offer integrated, digital, platform solutions across the financial services landscape. It also doesn’t hurt that BNY Mellon Technology Solutions is led by Eagle’s current chairman, and former CEO, John Lehner.

Q. What is the most challenging as well as the most rewarding part of being CFO?

A. I would say the most rewarding part is when I’m able to take my years of experience and turn it into valuable contributions to the business. This manifests itself most often during the contract negotiation process where I have to coordinate and interact with many parts of the organization to bring it all together. Also, my background is in M&A and that skillset was instrumental when I arrived at Eagle, where technologists were selling into very sophisticated financial services companies. That has morphed into me working very closely with the sales and the relationship management teams to ensure that we’re achieving the best outcome for both the client and our firm. This speaks to the philosophy of Eagle in general, which has always been, and continues to be, a client-centric organization.

Q. Thanks for sharing your views on the rewarding part; but what about the challenging part?

A. The most challenging part is not unique to my position, but I am probably exposed to it more than most—and that is balancing the needs of all our constituents, namely our clients, employees, and our shareholder, BNY Mellon. There are often times that the objectives of each seem to run counter to each other, yet it’s really only a different viewpoint.

Risk tolerance is a perfect example, as all three of those constituents may have differing views depending on the situation—and it’s not a matter of who’s wrong or right, since they each have a legitimate concern from their viewpoint. I am often at the forefront of those conversations and my role is to strike the right balance for all concerned.

Q. What do you like to do to unwind? Any hobbies or activities you’d like to share with us?

A. Hand me a glass of red wine and put me in front of a mindless television show and I’m a happy guy.

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