Bishop helped build a state-of-the-art SOA architecture for Wachovia's corporate investment arm before departing. That's the kind of proprietary intellectual property that pays off in good and bad times. "We built a pretty good sustainable model," says Bishop, "I think [Wachovia's] integration with Wells Fargo is going to be a lot easier on the investment banking side than it would have been."
After Bishop left Wachovia, he surveyed the state of tech in finance. Bonuses for tech execs had been cut, resulting in a 40 percent reduction in total compensation. Three out of 10 tech workers were let go, including folks in strategic functions like design, architecture, change management, transformation, and optimization. Many basic operations were being outsourced for the first time.
"Companies aren't looking toward the future, they're looking at survival," Bishop says. "I also see a lot of senior [tech] people leaving the sales side like the Merrill Lynches, Morgan Stanleys, and Goldman Sachs, and heading to the buy side like the Fidelities and Vanguards" that were less exposed to toxic assets. He believes finance firms that cut strategic functions are going to be behind the competition when the economy returns 18 months from now.
Amid the chaos, Bishop saw an opportunity to provide services to companies that no longer have programs in place to create this intellectual property. "There's going to more opportunity in helping companies institute governance and create new products and services to help drive liquidity, transfer risk, and capture more market share," Bishop says. "Companies may not be able to invest in technology the same way, but they still need it -- that world is not stopping."