The private equity and venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners acquired financial services technology company D+H and merged it with its portfolio company Misys earlier this month. It claims that the combined entity – rebranded as Finastra – is now the third-largest ‘fintech’ company in the world.
With around 10,000 employees across offices in 42 countries, surely there will be redundancies – there always seem to be opportunities to cut costs by trimming headcount after a merger or acquisition. Despite the fact that it will take some time to figure out the exact structure of the combined firm, Finastra is currently hiring in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and across Europe and Asia-Pacific.
The company says it wants to hire people in sales, ideally with banking experience, finance, legal, IT support and human resources.
Above all, Finastra is recruiting software developers to work on its open Fusion software architecture and cloud ecosystems.
Finastra partners with a number of universities and attends on-campus events across the globe and has a number of internship and graduate programs in place – in fact, the firm’s goal is for 60% of new hires each year to be at the graduate level. A high proportion of its graduate hires work in software development.
Each year, Finastra gets around 114,000 applications and the firm has hired around 2,400 people over the last year, not counting internal moves – meaning just 2% of applicants got a job offer.
Historically, the core recruiting focus of both Misys and D+H was on attracting candidates with expertise in programming languages such as C++ and Java. However, Finastra wants to evolve its technology stack and move towards a more dynamic, cloud-ready IT environment, so it increasingly wants to hire Maven, Sonar and Jenkins developers. Finastra says that those platforms allow higher architectural flexibility compared to C++ and the right balance between adding features in-house and enabling a customizable “Platform as a Service” model. The firm is sill hiring Java programmers as well.
Banks deciding between buy vs. build
Martin Häring began his career at Sun Microsystems, which sold computers, software and IT services and that created the Java programming language. After working there for more than a decade, Oracle acquired the company and Häring jumped to Akamai Technologies, a cloud services provider. In 2013, he became the chief marketing officer of Misys, and he was promoted to the CMO of Finastra earlier this month.
Häring says that Misys and D+H are complementary, with only 10% to 15% overlap from a product standpoint. The reason is that Misys clients are mostly tier-one, two and three banks – it claims to work with 48 of the 50 biggest banks worldwide – whereas D+H mainly serves tier-four and five institutions, primarily community banks and credit unions.
While his department hires demand generation, field marketing, corporate marketing and communications professionals without financial services experience, Finastra requires solutions and product marketing professionals to have experience working in the financial sector, preferably for a bank.
“You can’t create good marketing if you don’t know the personas you are marketing to, so we look to hire people coming from banks or other financial services companies, or who have been analysts covering the financial services sector and are deep experts,” Häring says.
He believes that the current competition between fintech firms and traditional banks is unnecessary.
“If you’re smart, open a platform and let fintechs integrate seamlessly with your apps to create new innovation,” Häring says. “Banks that believe in closed proprietary software will fall behind – innovation happens outside of the banks and they need to leverage this.”
Moving to a more open software development model would also mean that banks would employ fewer in-house developers and data analytics professionals.
“In the past, banks had a huge tendency to build it themselves over past 10 or 15 years – banks have huge development departments, some with more than 10,000 developers, but since the breakdown in 2008, now cost is something they need to dial down on,” Häring said. “They’re feeling huge cost and margin pressures, and many can’t afford to have so many in-house developers and vendors, so they’re consolidating vendors and their own development efforts.
“In every industry, 95% of innovation is happening outside of your company, and if you don’t leverage that, you’re missing the trick,” he said. “Do you really want to trust that your 5% is what you really need, or would you like to look outside at fintechs and [independent] developers to create innovation on your behalf?
“The demand for faster time to market and cost cutting drives banks toward buy and away from build.”
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