Editor's Note: In our “3 Questions” column, we chat with a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer three questions about their company. We recently spoke with Coleen Donohue, vice president, Capital Institutional Services Inc. (CAPIS). Donohue is an institutional sales person at CAPIS, and she has extensive experience as an institutional sales trader. Prior to CAPIS, she was a director in equity sales and trading at Cowen and Company, and a senior vice president in equity sales and trading at ConvergEx, where she worked for over a decade. CAPIS, founded in 1977, is a women-owned independent agency broker that specializes in commission management and outsourced trading, and trades global equities, fixed income, and derivatives for institutional clients.

Name: Coleen Donohue

Title: Vice President

Company: CAPIS

Web Address: www.capis.com  

1. What are the biggest problems facing the fintech industry?

In my discussions with clients about problems that they are facing in today’s marketplace, one area that consistently comes up is how companies need to improve their diversity and sustainability efforts. This need is in respect to both their workplace environment and their execution vendors. Corporations and public funds are trying to fulfill more diversity goals and mandates, and minority-owned investment managers continue to grow their businesses. Yet, there’s a shortage of options for diverse trading partners. This is a hot topic and one that requires a thoughtful approach, as diverse execution partners are few and far between on Wall Street.

Here is an area where CAPIS truly stands out. We’ve been WBENC-certified (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) since 2015. This certification helps open the door to fellow minority-owned businesses, as well as corporations and public pension plans with diversity mandates. Our first and foremost priority is best execution for clients, and we’ve created extremely thorough reporting processes to support our efforts. Our unconflicted, agency model provides us with an optimal environment for seeking best execution for our clients in today’s fragmented marketplace. The fact that we can also help fulfill diversity mandates at the same time is just another reason clients choose us.

2. What has been the biggest success in your firm to date?

CAPIS as a firm is really working to take it up a notch in terms of how we are leveraging our women-owned status to make a positive impact. We not only want to encourage our clients to take a thoughtful approach to diversity, but we expect the same of our firm. Our goal is to use our women-owned status to give back in a meaningful way and really cement ourselves as a firm that doesn’t just have the “women-owned” title, but as one that is actively involved in empowering women. With this goal in mind, we recently launched a new internal initiative to donate a portion of our “women-owned business” revenue to a handful of select charities whose mission is to help women and girls. When a corporation with a diversity mandate chooses us as an execution partner via our treasury desk, corporate buy backs, or commission management, we will donate to one of the three charities with which we have chosen to work. So far, we are partnering with charities in New York City, Chicago, and Dallas, all whose missions are dedicated to the education and advancement of women and girls in all facets of life.

While we are in the beginning stages of this initiative, the sky is the limit in terms of how successful we hope this will be. The fact that we can provide best execution while helping satisfy customer diversity requirements, all while making a meaningful impact on the lives of women and girls is what we would call a major success!

3. What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?
CAPIS is an agency brokerage firm specializing in global execution services and commission management. Our execution offering includes global equities, fixed income, ADRs, ETFs, options and derivatives. We have built an in-house, fully customizable technology offering for our clients to support this business. Our expertise in Transition Management and TCA reporting have also enabled us to act as a commission management partner to some of the largest pension plans and 40 Act Funds in the business. What really sets us apart is our agency execution model with no proprietary interests. In addition to our comprehensive execution capabilities, CAPIS is a women-owned brokerage working to leave a positive footprint in our local communities and the financial sector.