Expert Q&A with Cindy Lee, Director of Product Management at Black Mountain

There is a reason why finance professionals have increasingly been pursuing jobs in the technology sector. Many who traditionally sought employment at investment banks and hedge funds are finding that financial software companies offer them the opportunity to put their experience and knowledge to good use, all while working in service of solving the pressing challenges that face the financial services industry.

As a provider of innovative, tailored solutions for data aggregation, process management and business reporting, Black Mountain is one such company that has attracted the best and the brightest since its nascent stages. We recently sat down with Cindy Lee, Black Mountain’s Director of Product Management and one of its most experienced team members, to get a better understanding of what the path from finance to FinTech can look like. As someone who has been with the company for six years now, Cindy has witnessed Black Mountain’s rapid growth and has been instrumental in its evolution both as a solutions provider and as an organization.

Cindy Lee, Director of Product Development, is one of the most experienced members of Black Mountain’s team. She specializes in CLOs and loans, as well as technology.

“What BMS clients appreciate most about our company is the partnership we cultivate with them.”

Cindy Lee, Director of Product Management
Lee joined Black Mountain Systems in June 2009 after working at The Carlyle Group in its Structured Products group as a risk management associate. She came into contact with Black Mountain Systems in May of 2007, when she was asked by Carlyle to oversee the implementation of the Everest platform – still in beta mode at the time. With a B.S.E. in Computer Science from Princeton University and a Certificate in Finance, Lee was uniquely qualified to manage the project. She joined Black Mountain Systems a few years later. We asked her eight questions about her experience and here is what she had to say:

Q: How has your background helped you succeed at Black Mountain?
A: Having come from the client side, I have the unique perspective of understanding our clients’ needs and processes. I had the opportunity in my position to work with a variety of different groups within the Structured Products team including credit analysts, traders, PM’s, operations, compliance, accounting and investor relations. This has helped tremendously when speaking to individuals who are in similar roles at our clients’ firms but also in my capacity as a product manager to develop a collection of best practices across our clients for our implementation teams to use.

Q: How is BMS different from other companies you have worked for?
A: What I have always appreciated most about working for BMS is the opportunity to work with such a talented group of individuals that are focused on teamwork and the collective success of the company. It is rare to work at a company where you are excited to spend time with colleagues during business hours and after as well. I also love the work I do. Every day I face new and interesting challenges. I have the opportunity to dabble in many facets of the company, such as product management, implementations, sales, relationship management, even marketing.

Q: What is your domain expertise here at Black Mountain? How has this expertise evolved during your time at the company?
A: My particular domain expertise is in CLOs and loans due to my background with Carlyle, but I also have general knowledge and oversight of all the various modules that BMS offers. Having worked with BMS – nearly from the start – I am one of the few individuals that has the perspective of where we started and how the system has since evolved.

Q: How do you cultivate the knowledge you need to do your job well?
A: 
I’ve always taken each conversation or task – no matter how trivial or unrelated to my current job it may seem – as an opportunity to learn something new. Invariably, I have found that even the most unrelated topics will become relevant three to four years down the road. It also helps that I have a strong memory.

Q: What is the most exciting project you are currently working on?
A: 
One of the most exciting things we are working on now is tailoring our product for strategy-based trading, particularly for the equity asset class. This will push our system to evolve quickly and become one of the most effective off-the-shelf offerings we have ever had.

Q: In your opinion, what makes Black Mountain’s product so special?
A:
How adaptable it has been – making major advancements in functionality every year – and how flexible it is, allowing us to address many different client needs. A great example of that is we use the same code base for our internal system, which handles all of our operational needs – from project management to time tracking, from invoicing to recruiting.

Q: If you could tell your clients one thing, what would it be?
A: 
There is generally very little that our system cannot address when it comes to processes and data. I encourage our clients to reach out to their relationship managers if they have any pain points that could potentially be addressed with software. Also, we are always looking for partners to help push our product forward, so if you have any interest in being involved in a new initiative for our product, please let us know.

Q: What do you think Black Mountain clients appreciate most about the company?
A: 
I think what BMS clients appreciate most about our company is the partnership that we cultivate with them and the collaborative approach we take to addressing their technological challenges.

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