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A CFO who knows what investors want (maybe even yours)

November 11, 2021, 11:35 AM UTC

Good morning,

Ever wonder what your investors really want from you?

To gain some insight, I recently spoke to Broadridge CFO Edmund Reese. He spent his career at companies including American Express, Merrill Lynch, and Smith Barney before he joined Broadridge (NYSE: BR) in November 2020. The fintech offers investor communications and technology platforms for governance, capital markets, and wealth management. Broadridge has a total shareholder return (TSR) of over 20% “with a long runway for growth in a $52 billion market space,” Reese told me. I spoke with him about trends, digital transformation, and being in the CFO chair.

CFO Daily-Broadridge CFO Edmund Reese
Broadridge CFO Edmund Reese
Courtesy of Broadridge

Broadridge, based in Lake Success, N.Y., is led by CEO Tim Gokey. The company’s stock price closed at $178.83 on Wednesday, compared to its 52-week high of $185.00 which it hit in October. “Our growth in the quarter was 16% recurring revenue growth [$751 million from $650 million],” Reese said of the company’s financial results, released on Nov. 3, for the first quarter of its fiscal year 2022 ending Sept. 30.

“About nine points of that was from acquisitions, primarily Itiviti, a large acquisition [which closed in May 2021], but five points of that was from our own effort—bringing in revenue from net new business and close sales,” he explains. “Two points of that growth is something that we call internal growth. And I would say, that is where you see the strong underlying market trends impacting our overall growth.” I asked Reese about the trends he’s seeing. 

One trend is digitization, Reese says. “The pandemic acted as a catalyst for tech transformation,” he says. The company has a virtual shareholder meetings product. “In fiscal 2019, we did 300 virtual shareholder meetings,” Reese says. “Last year, our fiscal year 2021, we did close to 2,400 virtual shareholder meetings, covering 80% of the S&P 100, and over 50% of the S&P 500.” Also in regard to transformation, UBS is the anchor client on Broadridge’s wealth management industry platform that digitizes enterprise-wide operations, he says. It was announced this past summer that RBC Wealth Management-U.S. will use the platform, Reese says.

Another trend is the “democratization of investing.” More people were at home during the onset of the pandemic, so “the zero-commission trading that we have, and the modern user interfaces through Robo-advisors, I think helped accelerate this long-term trend,” he says. In the last 10 years, Broadridge had 7% to 8%, mid-single-digit growth in the number of stock record positions, but that increased this past quarter up to 39%, Reese says.

The third trend is environmental, social, corporate governance (ESG). For example, “BlackRock, a partner of ours, is opening up voting choice to their institutional investors,” Reese says. “Whether it’s climate change or ESG, I think more broadly, investors want to participate and have a voice and have some transparency on the actions that the companies they own are taking. They want to be able to vote.”

Digital transformation in the finance function is “something that’s near and dear to my heart,” Reese says. “We have these digital products that I think are well-positioned for external clients,” he says. “But I think there’s great opportunity for us to point some of that internally.” To do so, he’s created a team consisting of finance and tech professionals at Broadridge that work together to identify opportunities for transformation and solicit input from multiple departments, he says. “We’re working with the strategy team and the product team as we think about using this data to give us more insight,” Reese explains. There’s coordination across marketing as well, he says. “I expect it to be an ongoing, evergreen transformation of internal digital technology,” Reese says.

I asked the Wharton grad if he always knew he would become a CFO. Earlier on, Reese considered the COO path, he told me. “But I think this new age of the CFO is the perfect thing for me, allowing me to use this passion that I have for finance in driving shareholder value, but being an integral part of the business moving forward.”


See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada
sheryl.estrada@fortune.com

Big deal

Companies need to modernize their tax functions for strategic business planning, as shifts in tax policy are on the horizon, according to KPMG's new report, Tax Reimagined 2021: Perspectives from the C-Suite. About (89%) of C-Suite leaders surveyed said their company’s tax function has a seat at the leadership table​. And 76% recognize the impact tax data can have on the financial direction of their company. But just 36% said they are investing “a lot” in technology to advance tax function​, the report found. The role of the tax professional is evolving, requiring skills for capturing and interpreting data, according to KPMG. In addition to knowing the tax code and related regulations, tax professionals must decipher insights from tax data. Leaders surveyed agreed that they valued strategic thinking in hires above all other attributes (46%). KPMG surveyed 300 C-suite executives from companies with at least $1 billion in revenue.

Courtesy of KPMG

Going deeper

Randstad Sourceright's new report, Global future in-demand skills, highlights the IT and emerging technology specialties that are urgently sought by employers, according to the human resources consulting firm. The top skills desired are in the following areas: artificial intelligence and machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science, internet of things (IoT), robotic process automation, and user interface/experience design. The U.S. leads in most categories, with the U.K., India, and China also among leading economies with these in-demand skills, according to the report. However, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and IoT are the three job categories seeing the highest levels of market competition globally. "How your business responds to the widening talent gap and shortages will be critical to your growth in the months and years ahead," according to the report. The insight is based on data from 26 markets around the world.

Leaderboard

Hope Dmuchowski was named senior executive vice president and CFO at First Horizon Corporation (NYSE: FHN), effective Nov. 29, 2021. Dmuchowski will succeed interim CFO Anthony Restel. She joins the company from Truist Financial Corporation where she most recently served as EVP, head of financial planning and analysis and management reporting. Prior to that role, Dmuchowski served as CFO of corporate banking, commercial banking and corporate groups with leadership responsibilities for the business line CFOs throughout the organization.

Karine Pinto-Flomenboim was named CFO at Arbe Robotics Ltd. (Nasdaq: ARBE), effective Nov. 8, 2021. Pinto-Flomenboim will succeed Danny Klein, who will assume a senior management position in Arbe. In her most recent role, Pinto-Flomenboim served as CFO at TIBA Parking Systems. Prior to this, Pinto-Flomenboim held the positions of head of corporate finance planning and analysis, and director of business controlling at Caesarstone Ltd., and served at various financial positions at Intel.

Overheard

"Concealing bank accounts overseas and inflating losses on a tax return is a recipe for criminal tax prosecution."

—Bryant Jackson, special agent in charge of criminal investigation in the IRS Cincinnati field office, on the case of an Ohio man who won $1 million in the Powerball lottery now in hot water with the IRS after trying to hide his winnings, as reported by Fortune.

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