Since 1967, successfully educating and connecting financial services IT professionals
In May 1967, eight telecommunications managers who were a part of another organization that had disbanded, gathered and formed the Wall Street Communications Association (WSCA). Since all were from Wall Street firms, their discussion soon turned to the unique informational needs of the financial community. Many of the critical issues facing financial telecommunications managers were not specifically addressed by other associations. That night, those eight individuals vowed to correct that deficiency. As the association grew and expanded its areas of focus, the WSCA was renamed the Wall Street Telecommunications Association (WSTA).
In 2000, Wall Street “Telecommunications” was changed to Wall Street “Technology” and the WSTA was incorporated. The name change to Technology reflected the WSTA’s strategy to address all aspects of technology impacting the financial community. Because the WSTA has remained focused on its core business, and remains flexible to the changing needs of its members, it has been able to sustain and grow, while many of its competitors have closed their doors due to the economic and market challenges faced by the industry over the last 17 years.
“Keeping up with emerging technology can be a full-time job. The WSTA serves a vital purpose by bringing its members advance warning of important technologies and trends that will affect them–along with blueprints and roadmaps advising how to respond. Year after year, the WSTA has remained on the forefront of technology, giving its members a crucial advantage in the market,” says Johna Till Johnson, CEO, Nemertes Research and a WSTA Content Advisory Committee member.
Today, the WSTA continues to provide financial industry technology professionals, vendors, service providers, and consultants with forums to learn from, and connect with, each other. As a not-for-profit organization, it facilitates seminars, panel discussions, roundtables, and networking events where members meet and exchange ideas and best practices that assist them in effectively capitalizing on technology advances and dealing with financial industry business challenges.
Initially New York Tri-State Area focused, the WSTA also hosts educational events in Boston. The Association is comprised of financial firm members, vendor affiliates, and sponsors. WSTA financial firm members are employed at banks, brokerages, hedge funds, insurance companies, and other financial firms. The WSTA currently has about 2,400 members from over 50 different firms; 81 percent of the members hold senior titles such as CIOs, CTOs, Vice President, Director, and Manager. The remaining 19 percent hold other titles such as analysts, engineers, architects, etc. The WSTA also reaches over 2,200 prospective, financial firm technology professionals with information about educational and networking opportunities.
“In recent times business challenges and technical solutions have both grown with unprecedented acceleration. Time is a more critical commodity than ever before. Keeping this in mind, we design the WSTA educational programs and social events based on one fundamental principle – maximization of value,” says Shyamal Sen, Partner: Industry Financial Services Consulting, CSC and WSTA Content Advisory Committee Chair. “Based on the enthusiasm we see at the seminars, meet-ups, gala events and the encouragement we receive from our board we witness the manifestation and success of our value-based system. At the WSTA seminars and in our publications we engage participating industry leaders in topics of highest relevance. Our social events provide forums where the interactions are dynamic, engaging, relaxing, and enjoyable.”
Affiliates and sponsors are an integral component of the WSTA. As a not-for-profit organization, they contribute significantly by providing the resources needed to run the educational and networking programs for WSTA financial firm members. These programs strengthen the bond between members and companies that serve the technology needs of the financial community.
The WSTA currently has over 200 technology firms that participate in the WSTA as an affiliate or sponsor. Companies that provide cloud, big data, mobility, security, software, infrastructure, networking, social, telecom, and other industry-related solutions find the WSTA an invaluable forum to create awareness, educate, and develop relationships with financial industry professionals.
The WSTA is run by a volunteer Board who provide their time and expertise. The Board is responsible for developing the vision and strategic direction for the organization as well as overseeing the current and future viability of the WSTA and its programs. It is supported by several volunteer committees including:
• Content Advisory Committee is comprised of visionary industry leaders who are intimately familiar with the business and technology trends of the financial services industry. This Committee develops the content and topics that are addressed in seminars, panels, roundtables and e-publications.
• Seminar Content Review Committee reviews presentation abstracts and presentations for the seminars to provide constructive direction so that the material covered is beneficial to WSTA members.
• Ticker Committee provides feedback and direction to article contributors so their articles are timely and relevant.
• Boston Expansion Committee helps to identify new member and vendor prospects to participate in local seminars and networking events. They provide input on content, panels, and end-user discussions.
• Membership Committee focuses on increasing membership based on the content identified by the Content Advisory Committee.
“WSTA board membership facilitates an opportunity for collaboration and knowledge-sharing with my peers pertaining to common issues and problems that are central to our unique and constantly evolving industry. The WSTA organization creates an ecosystem of vendor partners, Wall Street Leaders, and Service providers focused on solving key real world business problems through technology solutions,” says James Kostulias CIO of TD Ameritrade and WSTA Board Member.
The WSTA is managed by PML Consulting, which handles the day-to-day operations of the Association including: marketing, sales, event planning and management, website design and maintenance, etc.
Each year, the WSTA hosts educational seminars, panel discussions and roundtables in New York City and Boston addressing topics such as mobility, cybersecurity, data analytics, compliance, governance, tech trends, cloud, Internet, data center, and telecom. It also provides ongoing industry-related content via its Ticker e-Zine, LimeLight e-Newsletter, and dynamic website (www.wsta.org). The WSTA hosts two Premiere Social Events, Summer Social and Holiday Gala, where hundreds of IT professionals get together to network in an informal atmosphere.
In order to attract new members, vendor sponsors, and share information with the industry, the WSTA is active in Social Media including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook in addition to traditional marketing and promotional activities. It also relies heavily on its current relationships to help promote the benefits of the organization.
The WSTA plans to continue its success by coming up with new ideas and enhancements to its existing programs to meet the ever-changing needs of the financial IT community.