Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why State Street Canada was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- Along with helping employees save for the future, State Street Canada provides retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options to help retiring employees transition
- State Street Canada supports employees who are new mothers or fathers (including adoptive parents) with maternity and parental leave top-up payments, to 100% of salary for up to 8 weeks -- and provides an offsite daycare subsidy of $1,600 per child
- In addition to the company's regular health benefits plan, State Street Canada offers a generous health spending account of up to $2,400 per year, allowing employees to top up coverage to suit their personal needs
State Street Canada's biggest assets are its people
Not long after Matthew Cichy arrived at State Street Canada to start his first post-university job, he began looking for ways to help make things run better for the securities valuation group in which he worked. A finance and economics graduate who had taught himself Excel and VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), Cichy wanted to introduce efficiencies and automate manual processes.
"Although I was new on the job, there were people always willing to listen to a better way of doing things," he says.
While he later did a stint away from State Street, Cichy stayed in touch with colleagues within the global organization and in 2010 he returned in a managerial role. He is now a vice president within Global Operations, Securities Valuation, and leading the team where he got his start.
As one of the world's largest custodians of financial assets for institutional investors, State Street has more than a trillion dollars under its care in Canada for clients who include some of the country's biggest pension funds. Custodial services offered range from holding, valuing and transferring securities (Cichy's area of expertise) to receiving interest and dividends to giving notice of corporate actions.
Globally, State Street's assets under custody and administration add up to more than $32 trillion. "We are the largest provider in the world in the business that we're in," says Rob Baillie, Head of State Street Canada, which has almost 1,200 employees, more than 1,000 of whom are in the GTA.
He explains that the world of custodian banking is "very much a scale business" requiring huge investment in the necessary technology.
Operations in Canada are currently growing. "Whether you're just starting out or re-entering the workforce, whether you're from financial services or from another industry, there are opportunities for people to join this team," says Baillie.
Cichy's team, which updated workflows and introduced efficiencies, went from servicing the Canadian operations to being responsible for 12 different operations across multiple time zones.
Cichy recently completed a six-month-long "expat assignment" in Poland, where State Street has two offices. He helped the Krakow office build a new securities valuation department and develop best practices.
From his perspective, he says went from being "a guy holding a flashlight in the dark" to having a light come on and really being able to see the operations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa clearly. Cichy has also spent time at State Street's London and Quincy, Massachusetts offices.
"I firmly believe in empowering my staff to make decisions. I invest myself in my staff and their careers," says Cichy, who now heads up State Street's Canada Awards Committee which recognizes employees for their contributions.
Baillie emphasizes that the professional development opportunities at State Street are plentiful. The company spends an average of $700 per fulltime employee on training each year and runs a competitive advanced leadership program.
Baillie makes it a priority to interact with employees one-on-one at breakfast and lunches arranged for small groups. The sessions are designed to increase understanding of what the organization is trying to achieve and give employees an opportunity to ask questions.
While he recognizes that employees have busy lives balancing work with families, Baillie encourages them "to get involved beyond day to day." State Street has 11 "global inclusion networks" in Canada, including a working parents group, which arranges everything from speaker series and take-your-kids-to-work day to back-to-school fashion shows and holiday presentations on must-have toys.
Cichy is active in different philanthropic initiatives and giving back to communities. "If somebody's willing to dedicate themselves to an idea there's always a place for them at State Street," he says. "It's a place where you can really build a career."