The DI Wire sat down with Kevin Brennan, executive vice president of sales and marketing for global transfer agent Computershare’s U.S. investor services, corporate actions, and employee equity plans, to discuss his history in the financial services space, the development of Computershare’s direct investment business, and the firm’s acquisition of BNY Mellon’s shareowner services business.
Can you share a bit about your professional background?
I’ve been in the shareholder services and employee equity plans businesses for more than 30 years. During this time, I have been responsible for overseeing employee equity plans, transfer agency and direct investment businesses, as well as the client management, marketing and sales operations supporting those businesses.
What have been some of your major opportunities and challenges as head of marketing and sales for Computershare’s U.S. investor services, corporate actions and employee equity plans?
A major opportunity for me has been to develop our alternative investment business to help serve the unique needs of direct investment issuers. I have worked very closely over the past few years to help develop our advisor portal and refine our services for direct investment clients. We’re a relative newcomer to the space, but I believe we are in a position to disrupt the status quo – which is a very exciting opportunity for us.
A challenge we continually face is ensuring our clients understand the full scope of what we can offer them. Computershare has a wide range of businesses that can help clients in areas they may not have considered. For example, we offer corporate compliance solutions – such as our board portal, registered agent services, and entity management tools – that make it easier for boards to get work done and for issuers to stay on top of complex regional regulations.
I noticed that Computershare offers services related to listed and non-listed REITs and BDCs. Is there anything unique about your approach to these structures?
We have a unique ability to provide end-to-end services to issuers of both publicly and privately traded vehicles. Computershare has been working with all the markets and broker-dealers so we can properly serve the issuer, as well as the broker-dealers and investors. The feedback we’ve received from clients and the market highlights our flexibility to arrive at solutions that can help issuers meet their goals.
You were part of the 2012 acquisition team that helped transition BNY Mellon’s shareowner services business to Computershare. How did the transition go and how did it help shape Computershare’s U.S. business?
I joined Computershare as part of the acquisition of BNY Mellon’s shareowner services business. Computershare has made a number of acquisitions in the U.S. and this was their largest acquisition to date.
During my time at BNY Mellon, we provided transfer agent services to direct investment issuers but, over time, the decision was made to exit the space. After the acquisition, we were keen to get back into the direct investment TA business since Computershare had the infrastructure, recordkeeping system, and client service resources to address the needs of both clients and broker-dealers. We were able to integrate knowledgeable staff with direct investment experience to get this business up and running during the acquisition. Our recent success with direct investment clients is a result of bringing the right people together with the right technology.
Does Computershare’s regulatory expertise in international jurisdictions have any direct benefit to U.S. corporate issuers and shareholders?
Our unmatched global presence allows us to guide our U.S. clients through international merger and acquisition activity, re-domestications, as well as delivering locally compliant employee equity plan solutions in multiple jurisdictions. Computershare has personnel in 90 offices located in 20 countries around the globe.
What do you consider to be your biggest professional accomplishment?
As in every other business, every now and then we’ll lose a client. There is nothing I find more challenging and exciting than to win the client back to Computershare. This has always been achieved as a result of the efforts of the great teams I’ve worked with at Computershare.
What might our readers find you doing in your spare time?
Since I spend so much time sitting throughout the business day, I really like to keep moving during my personal time. This includes playing golf, getting beat by my wife in tennis, and chasing after my four toddler-aged grandchildren. I have been fortunate to travel a lot over the years and I’ve seen some exciting places and met some very interesting people. In the future, I look forward to traveling with my grandkids, so they can experience different cultures – but only when they are a bit more self-sufficient.
Computershare is a sponsor of The DI Wire, and the Q&A was conducted as part of their standard directory sponsorship package.