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Brenda Bol (BNY Mellon Luxembourg): From Service Provider to Collaborator of Choice

 

Born in Buenos Aires, Brenda Bol was part of a small team that helped set up BNY Mellon’s office in Luxembourg in 1999. After later working in various roles at RBC, Clearstream and BBH, she returned to BNY Mellon last year to oversee the growth of the Luxembourg office in her new role as branch manager.

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Tell us about your company in a few words.

BNY Mellon’s history traces back to 1784, when Alexander Hamilton founded its predecessor, the Bank of New York. For nearly 240 years, we have become known for our resilience and history of innovation. We have weathered times of crisis and calm by adapting, refining, and consistently improving our offering to the market and our clients.

In the Grand-Duchy, The Bank of New York Mellon SA/NV, Luxembourg Branch (BNY Mellon Luxembourg) offers fund administration services including Fund Accounting and Transfer Agency, and Depository Bank services as well as Corporate Trust services in Luxembourg. We provide services to investment funds with various different investment strategies, from UCITS mutual funds to alternative investment funds, the latter becoming an increasingly important segment for us.

Today, we have more than 300 employees in our offices located in Cloche d’Or. I am especially proud of our multilingual and international team in Luxembourg, with colleagues that hail from more than 30 countries. We attract high-quality experts from the fund industry, both on the traditional and alternative side, and we help them develop their skills further. Furthermore, we include diversity, equity and inclusion in every step of our recruitment process as well as in our day to day life. BNY Mellon Luxembourg was one of the first institutions to adhere to the Luxembourg Woman charter.

 

How are your clients’ needs evolving?

The Luxembourg market and our client needs never stay static. The advantage of our position is that we are typically at the forefront of the evolution in developing new strategies and services to meet client needs. Within this, there are three main areas of focus:

Firstly, our clients require our expertise to keep up with the fast-changing regulatory framework. [From the introduction of ELTIF 2.0, the forthcoming AIFMD 2 through to regulatory guidance,] our clients really value our expertise and thoughts as they consider their operational and growth strategies.

Secondly, clients rely on us to support their operating model in a more automated and digitalized way. This context is very positive for our firm, as we have always been on the forefront of digitization: automation is already helping to optimize our tax reports, and we already offer solutions to help clients harness the power of their data. On that subject, CSSF has recently issued guidance to depositary banks to enhance their controls in the digital space. I believe that this will lead to new opportunities in the future as the market embraces the asset class. Finally, and by no means last, the demand and growth we have experienced in alternative investments continue to be very strong.  Our range of services, focus on the segment and investment in both technology and people allow us to really highlight BNY Mellon as a trusted collaborator. This is evident in the way clients are turning to us to help them as they launch more retail orientated SICAV Part II or ELTIF funds. In addition to adapting our operating model and our range of services to meet our clients’ needs, we are also evolving our internal governance to reflect our growth and be fully equipped for more future changes. Over the last 6 months, we have expanded our branch management team. I’m supported by three deputy branch managers and a strong team of managers including a newly appointed dedicated outsourcing manager.

 

Which opportunities and risks do you identify for your company in general and for Luxembourg in particular in the current context?

There are plenty of new opportunities in the market thanks to regulations and market evolution, including the alternative fund space. Luxembourg is quickly becoming the home for alternatives in Europe, if it hasn’t already, and we are contributing to this expertise. We are part of a large organization; we have access to resources and talent across the globe allowing us to be very responsive to new opportunities. We feel it is also our role to create those opportunities by contributing and influencing the finance community. In Luxembourg, we are part of several associations working towards that objective. As an example, I will be chairing the Association of North American Banks in Luxembourg, “ANABL” for the next two years. The purpose of the association is to provide a forum where the CEO / seniors of the subsidiaries and branches of North American banks can meet informally to discuss issues of common interest, as well as to promote the mutual interests of its members and act as official representative in Lux for the ABBL and other official bodies. On the risk side, attractivity of the Lux market compared to other fund centres (offshore and domestic), cost pressure, regulatory barriers and talent pipeline are some key topics on our radar.  Overall, we have an important role to play in the Luxembourg ecosystem. Although we are going through some turbulences, I am very excited for the future ahead of us.

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