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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vanguard IT Gains Attention

News summary by MFWire's editors

Vanguard and Paul Heller, its CIO, win the praise of Computerworld magazine for their work on the mutual fund firm's technology. Remember, this is a magazine where the "I" in CIO stands for Information and not Investment.

One thing that sets Vanguard apart, according to the magazine, is the willingness of its leadership to put people through both technology and business roles as a part of their grooming. Heller, for example, swapped roles with Tim Buckley (now the head of Vanguard's retail investor group) in 2006.

That culture shows from the start: Vanguard starts all of its new hires in customer service, according to the magazine. The goal is to ensure that all of the crew members are familier with Vanguard's clients and that they know its business.

"We're really not all that complicated of a firm. We're not trying to do 100 different things, so there's not that classic tension between different businesses, and there aren't stovepipe systems. That is so not who we are," Heller told the magazine. "It's really all about running the firm, and it's about doing the right thing for the client. We all move between jobs, so it's not about your job; it's about wearing that bigger hat -- the Vanguard hat."

Heller adds that "everything about Vanguard is long-term, and we think of business technology the same way." Buckley points to the fund firm's 1995 decision to make a big bet on the Web. He also notes that Vanguard was the first fund firm with an iPhone app. 

Edited by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief


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