Q&A: Eric Frank, President, Investment & Advisory, Thomson Reuters

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Describe your career path.

I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 and wasn't sure what I wanted to do. After sending out some resumes and literally going to companies door to door, I landed a position at JPMorgan. I spent ten years working in its American Depositary Receipt division. During my time there, I spent a few years in Europe and saw an opportunity to leverage the Internet to help JP Morgan assist foreign companies with ADR issues. I left JP Morgan early in the dotcom era to pursue this passion, partnering with the Carson Group. In 2001, we sold the company to Thomson Financial. After a few years at Thomson the company was reorganized and I became head of investment management, the division that provides products and services to the buy-side, including portfolio managers and analysts. A little over two years ago, Thomson acquired Reuters and I became president of the combined company's investment and advisory division.

Describe your role at Thomson Reuters.

As president of investment & advisory, I lead the division of the company that encompasses our off-trading floor products and services. This includes analytics, content and workflow tools for customers in corporate services, investment management, investment banking and wealth management around the world. In January, I relocated to Hong Kong to drive global growth for the business locally from the Asia Pacific region.

What is a typical day like for you?

On any given day, my duties are very 'mayor-like'. As there are roughly 4,000 people in the division, a big part of my day involves communication and getting a handle on the pulse of the organization. This entails engaging with my management team to ensure we're on the same page regarding our global strategic priorities. Additionally, now that I am based in Asia, I spend a lot of time learning what the opportunities are in the region and how we can grow the business around our customers' needs in the market. I do this by spending time with customers, intermediaries, and regulators, amongst others. There are also the elements of being based in Asia as part of a global organization. A typical day in Hong Kong is I come in and get a handle on overnight developments by taking the pulse of New York-related events and then go into local mode. At the local market close, London comes online while New York is waking up. Working across three time zones is part of the joy of working for a global organization.

What advice do you have for undergraduate students or someone wanting a job working for an information providers?

The successful people in our organization bring solid work habits and a breadth of experience that aren't necessarily taught in a classroom and apply it to their job. They ask questions that revolve around customer needs and what the bigger organization at Thomson Reuters is about. People who work here must recognize that what they do on the outside is directly linked to what our customers do. We are a product company and driving innovation helps our clients manage their workflow by allowing them to make sense of the vast amount of information out there. It's an exciting place to work. We are like a well-funded start-up. Many of the products we've built came about through the rapid pace of change happening around us. There is an entrepreneurial culture here as we power a lot of the world's markets through innovative technologies.

What skills are most important to be successful working for an information provider?

We're looking for people with a passion for understanding our customers: what they need, what they're doing on a daily basis, and what opportunities they have. They must be able to build relationships and think in terms of both the short- and long-term. It's important to be able to help customers by providing an idea for something that they may not have thought of before. Many people think to have a career in financial services they need to go to the customer side rather than an information provider. I began at J.P. Morgan and learned a lot there, but you touch so many more aspects of the financial services industry from our side of the business. If you look at the breadth of products and solutions we offer, you'd be hard pressed to find a better place to learn about financial services. Particularly for an undergraduate starting their career, the ability to see many different things and to move to different groups and geographic regions represents a tremendous opportunity, one that is often lost on people. Information providers represent a competitive, challenging place to build a career.

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