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People Spotlight: Meet Neil Foley, powering through product implementation projects for 14+ years

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Posted in: Wealth Management Administration
Published: 19/01/2023

Neil is a Senior Product Consultant with GBST. Originally based in Sydney, he took the opportunity to transfer to our London office, and now leads major client technology implementations. In this edition of our People Spotlight, Neil talks to us about successful implementation trends, shares his positive experiences around organisational diversity and the secret ingredient to the best Christmas potato roasties you’ve ever tasted! 

 

What is your role at GBST and what do you enjoy most about it? 

I am a Senior Product Consultant and work across client implementation projects for GBST’s UK product offerings. Over the past couple of years, I have assumed responsibility as the Team Leader for the Business Analysts (BA’s) in the Solutions Team. I really enjoy how varied and interesting my role is as I can go from a management call one minute to talking with a client about functionality, to prepping for a pre-sales workshops – each day is different and has its own learning curve.  

What has kept you at GBST for so long? 

Firstly, I enjoy the work. I started my career with Infocomp Australia (which in turn, became GBST). Since moving to the UK, I’ve been fortunate to work on exceptionally large and complex projects in varying capacities which has provided me with the opportunity to learn about new products, design methods, and implementation requirements. It has also opened the door to working with a variety of talented BA’s, developers, testers, managers, and clients. 

Secondly, the people and culture at GBST is a perfect fit for me personally. Diversity, particularly in the past few years has really been celebrated within the organisation, and as a gay man, that is very meaningful to me. Representation and visibility of my community in mainstream industries is crucial, and here, when I am leading a project, I am one of the many faces representing GBST. I have never felt the need or pressure to hide my sexuality from colleagues or clients. My husband is also friends with many of my work colleagues, we have never experienced exclusion and I truly feel safe and secure to be my authentic self at GBST. This is so important not just for me, but for anyone within an organisation.  

What has been your favourite project so far? 

My most recent project – implementing Onshore and Offshore bond functionality into Composer for a client. We started the project pre-pandemic and kept working throughout. Not only were we implementing new products and new functionality (which was exciting), but we also had to learn new ways of working together when apart. Despite all the changes and adjustments, we fostered an excellent relationship with the client team, and it really was a joint effort, with both companies working to achieve a successful result. Bringing requirements to life when delivering new functionality is always extremely satisfying. 

How do you help support clients who are transitioning to a new product/release? 

Training is key. The client is the expert on their proposition, and the GBST Solutions Team are the experts in determining how the client’s proposition will work best using GBST’s wealth management technology. Bridging any gaps that may arise, so the client is not only comfortable but also confident with what is being delivered and meets their needs is fundamental. 

Are there any key trends that you are seeing amongst the UK client base in terms of expectations during technology implementations? 

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a key trend these days. Clients are understandably looking to reduce their operating costs, so having the ability to implement a cloud-based solution to reduce operational management costs and new release upgrade costs is important. This is a module we’ve offered for quite some time. 

Digital transformation is also increasingly important, and particularly more recently, the use of micro services to enhance real-time processing has been growing significantly, another area that GBST has invested a lot of time and resources into. 

Do you have any hidden talents or skills that people might not know about you? 

Not unless you consider being a dog wrangler a talent or skill! I have two Staffordshire Bull Terriers Staffs at home (Freddie and Pamela) that I am slightly obsessed with. Staffys have a bad reputation amongst some, but they are the kindest and softest breed of dog – and extremely clever! Fred has learnt how to play dead, and they both ring a bell to be let out of the house! Pam’s also an expert licker, she can be quite aggressive with it but incredibly determined. They are very demanding and take up a lot of my time, but I would not have it any other way. 

It was just Christmas time… what is your favourite Christmas tradition? 

Since I have been back in the UK, we spend each Christmas and Boxing Day with my parents at their house. The whole family gets together in Cardiff, and we squash around the dining table for Christmas lunch. I am the roast potato controller, mainly because they are my favourite. This year they will be made with Vegemite, the recipe says Marmite, but I just can’t bring myself to use it! 

What are you looking forward to in 2023? 

In February/March, World Pride is being hosted in Sydney, so I have planned a three-week trip to celebrate with my Australian friends who I haven’t seen since pre-pandemic. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get away from the British winter and reacquaint myself with the best burger on the planet – the one and only Oporto Big Bondi Burger! 

Read more about GBST’s wealth management administration platform, Composer

 

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