How Macquarie’s David Kim creates partnerships between technology and business

As chief technologist and department head based in Macquarie’s Philadelphia office, David Kim has the enviable privilege of looking out over Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell as he goes about his day.

As a key partner in securing Macquarie Asset Management’s future, Kim’s remit goes well beyond simply providing technology infrastructure. His team works together to solve problems in a variety of roles, including workshopping, consulting, identifying efficiencies in processes and communications, driving high-value impact, and streamlining processes and information sharing.

“One of our critical roles is to provide the data and tools we need to enable our business to generate insights that support better outcomes,” Kim said. “We are guiding our stakeholders on how technology can create value by looking at digital transformation rather than the electrification of existing or legacy ways to deliver today’s demands.”

Breadth and depth of experience

Kim’s career in financial services technology spans more than 20 years, during which time both the sector and his role within it have changed dramatically.

“I graduated from Columbia University with a degree in computer science, and because I wanted to stay in New York, most of the jobs I interviewed for were for financial services companies,” he said. “I loved programming, but I was also passionate about interacting with people. I’ve discovered that working in financial services technology means being able to sit alongside my business partners and see first-hand how we can collaborate to create better outcomes for all.”

Kim worked at several large organizations and ended up at a US bank where he spent 19 years developing his career. When he learned of the opportunity with Macquarie in 2019, he said he was happy and not actively looking for a different role.

“The opportunity with Macquarie would be another professional challenge to explore,” Kim said. “After 19 years of not doing an interview, this was an opportunity to find out what my story is and what drives me. Doubling what I’m both good at and passionate about rather than a wider range of ‘things I’m good at’!”

His interest was subsequently piqued and he decided to join Macquarie as the global head of Investment, Trading and Risk Technologies for Macquarie Asset Management for his next challenge.

“The people I interviewed were very talented and asked thought-provoking questions,” he said. “One of the common themes that struck me from my interviewees was that ideas are developed from the bottom up, and I wanted to explore how entrepreneurial Macquarie really is.”

“We also discussed new ideas through the interview process, which I actually had to work on for six months,” says David. “Macquarie makes things easy.”

The best of Philadelphia and New York

Philadelphia is the global headquarters of Macquarie Asset Management’s Public Investments business. During the pandemic, the company moved into a bespoke new office designed with the latest technology and with its employees at the heart of every design choice.

During his first year with Macquarie, he decided to live in Philadelphia and make new connections, but after the pandemic, he commuted from the New York home he shares with his wife, a Broadway violinist, and their two children.

“With Macquarie embracing hybrid work, I go to the Macquarie office at least three days a week — it could be Philly or Manhattan,” he said. “Both offices have open floor plans, so it’s really easy to collaborate with my colleagues and business partners. A new Manhattan office at 660 Fifth Avenue is in the works, so I’m excited to be able to work in a collaborative, sustainable and technology-driven office no matter what city I’m in.”

Transforming data into understanding and knowledge

David’s team also empowers Macquarie Asset Management’s asset managers to drive data-driven results.

One of the current initiatives his team is working on is an analytics data platform that facilitates the ability to ingest, clean and analyze external data. This enables Macquarie Asset Management colleagues around the world to generate rich, data-driven insights that empower them to make objective decisions and explore innovative opportunities within their divisions and teams.

“That’s what totally drives me,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I came to Macquarie.”

Throughout his career, Kim has observed that the application of technology is increasingly agile, visible and efficient: “We’ve already seen financial services embrace the cloud and move to more agile ways of working; Macquarie included.”

Encouraging the right questions

Kim believes Macquarie is exceptional in giving autonomy to its employees.

“Macquarie allows people to learn on their own,” he said. “My manager gives me the space to do it and learn something along the way. Failure is just an opportunity to learn and find a better way to do things.

He sees this as embracing Macquarie’s collegial, proactive and disruptive approach to technology, where leaders will say yes and engineers are encouraged to improve their skills or try new things.

Before technology or business knowledge, a growth mindset is critical to success.

“Macquarie taught me that having a growth mindset and being open to different perspectives is probably the most important skill to have,” Kim said. “In ever-evolving technology, if you have the right learning orientation and natural curiosity, you’ll learn the ‘why’ before moving on to the ‘what’ and ‘how’.”

Learn more about Macquarie

Companies: Macquarie Group


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