The real story of Stuart Browne, Chief Corporate Development Officer of CellTrust
The best companies have people who aren’t afraid to be authentic. Stuart Browne is just that. Being educated across two continents, having travelled to 29 countries, and an avid player of squash, he brings dynamic business and life experience to his new role at CellTrust. I sat down with Stuart to find out more.
1. Based on the recent announcement of your latest position with CellTrust as their Chief Corporate Development Officer, how do you think your career so far has prepared you?
My career has been diverse. While in college, I entered the mortgage business when it operated on fax machines and closing mortgages took 45-60 days. I automated that business resulting in closed mortgages of 14-21 days. I sold that company and moved to Six Sigma in San Francisco. There we helped companies raise funds from public and private markets. Doing due diligence gave me great exposure to the technology of that time and specifically telecommunications. Later, I become a field consultant for Decision Analytics who was an institutional investment advisor working with plan sponsors, large corporations and nuclear decommissioning trust for utility companies. I worked for asset managers and hedge funds. My career has been focused in highly regulated businesses where you learn compliance “do and dont’s.” Seeing all sides of these businesses has exposed me to business strategy, business development and fundraising – all areas which are needed in my role at CellTrust.
2. It seems like you’ve had a wide range of experience with the financial services industry and also as one of the Board of Directors of CellTrust, so why join the team now?
According to FINRA reports, the number of securities firms is declining, yet branch office locations are growing. Increased compliance requirements at a lower hierarchy level have caused overhead and compliance burden on smaller broker dealers and advisors. Technology is the only way to efficiently solve the compliance burdens, and I think CellTrust’s approach to compliance and cybersecurity will prevail in the marketplace. In April 2017, FINRA took the stance that text messages and social media need to be archived, which makes sense considering the evaluation of communications. That encouraged broker dealers and RIAs to seek out technology solutions like CellTrust. Because I have been on CellTrust’s board for a number of years, I know the management team, and I was very comfortable with the team and the prospects for the business.
3. The work that CellTrust is doing in creating secure, compliant and seamless communication with clients and internal teams is fascinating. What excites you about what CellTrust is working on?
The founders of CellTrust come from a cybersecurity background and have built and sold enterprise technology companies. What distinguishes CellTrust is the vast business logic that has been designed into the platform. We have been methodical and meticulous in developing a platform for tomorrow – that grows as technology grows – yet solves the needs of today. In the future we will release new technology paradigms, not just features, to allow companies to work not only more compliantly but more efficiently. [CellTrust does not comment on feature buildouts in progress].
4. As you’ve been on both sides of the regulations facing the financial services industry, how do you think that experience will help CellTrust?
Understanding both sides of any market is always a benefit. Compliance regulations are for the most part common sense and logical and apply to all advisors no matter what side of the business you find yourself. Having compliance ingrained as part of my everyday work and understanding the workflow of advisors helps CellTrust as we think about our designs. We are also advised by compliance experts, experienced advisors and take customer feedback seriously as we navigate our platform progression.
5. Looking forward, how do you think CellTrust will change the way business is done between advisors and their clients?
The communications industry has evolved significantly over the last 20 years and will continue to evolve over the next decade. Unconceived businesses will flourish and advisors will experience more freedom in communication. CellTrust is positioning itself to utilize new technologies that enrich the relationship between advisors and their clients, as well as other relationships. We want to make advisors’ lives easier, more mobile, but secure and compliant.
6. If readers – who I assume are leaders in the financial services industry – need to know one thing about CellTrust and the future of compliant communications, what would you like to leave them with?
I was raised to value integrity. Compliant communications might be thought of as integral communications and is now becoming a staple of the finance industry. Compliant communication, be it text, voice, chat or social media, will benefit those with integrity. CellTrust is developing technology that enriches relationships and puts advisors back into the business of personal finance. We want to be a communication partner, working in conjunction with advisors and focusing on solving important communication issues, not just be a flash-in-the-pan technology tool.
To learn about CellTrust and their technology solutions, visit www.celltrust.com