Shifting approaches to asset servicing: BNY Mellon – Best ETF Custodian

Jeff McCarthy, BNY Mellon

By Philippa Aylmer – “At BNY Mellon we touch all aspects of the ETF value chain, both buy-side and sell-side,” says Jeffrey McCarthy, Global ETF Segment Head Asset Servicing. The firm currently services over USD800 billion in ETF assets across over 50 different issuers globally. 

“The way we approach the conversations with our partners is holistically across the ETF ecosystem to help them find solutions. They may be related to custody or other aspects of asset servicing, but might also be related to liquidity solutions, distribution insights and portfolio management.”

McCarthy, whose role is to ensure we are managing and delivering client solutions across the ETF ecosystem, believes the firm has a unique approach in how they support ETFs. “Who we are as an enterprise allows us to deliver unique values. We have a strong ETF discipline including a team of ETF specialists who is responsible for making sure we are engaged with not just clients but participants throughout the ecosystem.” 

McCarthy describes their strategy as offering open, modular network & integrated [OMNI] solutions that transcend across all the firm’s product capabilities. “OMNI helps deliver the agility and flexibility which is particularly important and relevant to asset managers today” he says. 

“In the early days, managers outsourced everything to a back office. Now, ETF servicing is more akin to middle office; in effect you are dealing with aspects of portfolio construction, trade capture and instruction to collateral management which is why we are working to make sure that our technology is flexible and open.” He adds that delivering efficient and digital solutions enables our partners to respond to the changing needs of the market.

As a result, BNY Mellon has made a number of enhancements in the last year. Within the custody role, it has integrated with various third parties to give clients an open architecture solution and in early 2020, they released a front to back offering around the Precidian Active Shares model. 

In terms of workflow, the team has re-engineered the ETF order process which includes order capture and data delivery to the market. They have also expanded the way they directly connect to liquidity providers, increasing the speed of processing across Authorised Participants, Portfolio Managers and third-parties. 

McCarthy explains that the firm has restructured the way they look at data as well as how they deliver that data. “When you look at ETFs and the other actively managed structures such as proxy portfolios, having quicker access to data relative to the ETFs that we are servicing is very important.”

He explains that market makers, issuers, portfolio managers and investment operations all want to consume data in a quick and flexible manner, whether it be for their order management systems (OMS), middle office platforms or to facilitate liquidity pricing. Ultimately, they are looking to connect the front to back office across the ETF value chain. 

“As our industry continues to grow, we need to make sure that our platforms can handle scale, and velocity, and we are constantly working behind the scenes so that we can support our clients.” 


Jeff McCarthy
Global ETF Segment Head, Asset Servicing, BNY Mellon

Jeff McCarthy, the Global ETF Segment Head for BNY Mellon is responsible for leading and executing the long-term strategy to drive growth in BNY Mellon’s ETF business. As part of this mandate, he plays a critical role in the successful enterprise-wide delivery of comprehensive ETF solutions to the marketplace, and works to further develop long-lasting partnerships for BNY Mellon in the ETF industry.

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