Bradley Peterson currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology and Chief Information Officer (CTO/CIO) for Nasdaq. Before Nasdaq, he served as CIO and EVP for Schwab Technology Services (STS), responsible for Schwab’s technology innovation, development, infrastructure and operations. He also has held senior executive positions at companies including Epoch Partners, Schwab, Pacific Bell Wireless and Pacific Telesis (now part of AT&T). He earned his master’s degree in management at MIT Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in systems science and economics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Tell us a bit about your background, and your interest in financial technology.
I’ve spent the bulk of my career working in technology and product engineering across telecom, e-commerce and financial service industries. I’ve been fascinated by how payments and transactions have developed over the years and seeing innovation happen in this space. I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in many of these new developments.
How well are financial companies adapting to the rapid pace of FinTech development? What fields are furthest ahead of the game, and what sectors are being left behind?
The financial industry has been very bullish on embracing fintech development, particularly companies that work on the B2C side – companies that developed the original ATM networks, debit card services, 24/7 access to our money and buying power. The adoption of the Internet and web services brought new innovations like PayPal and Amazon’s 1-Click in payments and online investing for many others, while mobile has given us another wave of innovation with services like Venmo and the ability to make transactions with smartphones and other devices. More broadly, I think the leading financial services innovators have done a relatively good job of incorporating the latest wave of communications innovations into new services for their customers.
What challenges do you see for FinTech development and disruption, both from a user's perspective and from a regulatory standpoint?
The biggest challenge remains the need for more innovations in security protections and security enhancements. From the point of view of smaller fintech start-ups, there is the extra consideration in their business model to adhere to the current regulatory framework in their respective industry. For financial services start-ups, there’s a lot to consider in how you innovate, including how you assess and develop new technology.
What is your overall take on the present and future of blockchain?
We’ve seen blockchain being initially embraced by the B2C financial services world. There is a growing need for modernization in all corners of the financial services sector in terms of infrastructure and how operational systems work. And blockchain has been the biggest catalyst for studying and innovating our collective approach to modernizing essential record keeping functions of our industry. This is a multi-year, massive project. And I see blockchain technology having a key part in this new, exciting development.