The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) was formed out of the London Stock Exchange in 1992 and originally called the ‘Securities Institute’. Today, CISI provides individual and corporate members with a host of professional development services, opportunities, and qualifications to support the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and ethics in their work.
The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) is the largest and most widely respected professional body for the securities and investment profession in the UK and in a growing number of financial centres globally. The institute was founded in 1992, registered as an educational charity in 1994, and endorsed by Royal Charter in 2009. Today, CISI serves the professional development needs of 45,000 members in more than 100 countries, as well as developing and delivering professional exam qualifications in more than 80 countries.
CISI’s trustees and leadership collectively recognise technology’s pivotal role in shaping the institute’s future. Diligent financial stewardship has positioned CISI to re-invest revenue into IT transformation, with a focus on harnessing technology, innovation, and service to provide an outstanding, ‘anytime, anywhere’ experience for members. Mason Advisory’s Professional Services Sector consultants have been working alongside CISI’s Chief Operating Officer, John Preston, as he leads the ongoing programme to upgrade and future-proof the technology estate.
“Our leadership team had ambitious plans to take CISI to the next level of performance,” John explains. “But we knew that we first needed to embrace a step change across people, process, and technology to establish the right foundations to support those plans. Initially, we wanted an independent, specialist view to help us review our current capability and prioritise our IT change activities. When we talked to Mason Advisory, we appreciated their customer-focused approach, their understanding of the challenges we faced, and their level of professional services experience.”
Led by Mason Advisory’s Director for Professional Services, Richard Wilson, our team of consultants began by conducting an end-to-end IT maturity review. This spanned CISI’s operating model, process and governance, technology, IT strategy, commercial environment, and data and business intelligence. We examined the ‘as-is’ state and provided a detailed report, with specific recommendations supported by tangible measurements and KPIs. This ensured that CISI could implement targeted improvements with an initial focus on becoming ‘excellent in the basics’.
Key activities included: restructuring and optimising in-house IT operations across CISI’s UK and Sri Lanka teams, upgrading IT governance guardrails, documentation, and forums, strengthening business continuity and disaster recovery frameworks, and streamlining IT Service Management (ITSM) processes within the ITIL® framework. “I was impressed with Mason Advisory’s consultants, who worked hand-in -hand with our own people, supporting our capacity to implement these tangible improvements,” says John. “They helped us to prioritise our focus to achieve that early traction. The maturity assessment also identified key strategic areas for transformation. Mason Advisory are now helping us to build those areas into a three-year forward IT strategy supported by an ambitious – but achievable – roadmap for delivery.”
To inform that strategy design, our team conducted an extensive stakeholder engagement exercise, which, according to John, was particularly useful. “Because the process was independent and anonymous, we benefitted from a well-rounded picture of what our stakeholders need from us, so that we can ensure our strategic plans will deliver,” he says.
We also deployed a Mason Advisory consultant (Tom Poundall) with extensive data and business intelligence (BI) expertise to work alongside CISI’s own people as a semi-permanent member of the team. “Tom’s input has bridged a senior capacity gap for us while Mason Advisory supported us to identify, and recruit for, the right internal roles to drive our forward plans,” John explains. “He has also shared his data analytics skills and experience with us, highlighting data as one of our key strategic and commercial priorities. Developing deep data insights will enable us to optimise our services for our members, exam candidates and business partners. It is one of a number of major transformation initiatives that we are starting to implement. We need to be sure that are focusing on the right investment areas, and that we have the right skills, capacity, and bandwidth to deliver. Mason Advisory are helping us to put the building blocks in place to prioritise, assure and move through that journey with purpose and confidence.”
As of August 2023, CISI has built comprehensive foundations from which to launch its longer-term technology transformation initiatives. “As a technology function, we are now stronger and more resilient, with a clear structure, better processes, and a defined roadmap to guide the journey ahead,” says John. “Our stakeholders have confidence in IT’s ability to deliver as a trusted partner, and we have support for our initiatives throughout the organisation. Mason Advisory’s approach struck the right balance for us. They added their skills and capacity to our own to drive the right priorities at the right time, while also helping us to restructure our own resources and introduce new key roles so that we can maintain momentum. They have genuine expertise in the professional membership sector, which complements their extensive IT and technology experience. They have added real value in equipping us to launch the transformational programmes that will define the next few years of the institute.”
“Mason Advisory have genuine expertise in the professional membership sector, which complements their extensive IT and technology experience. They have added real value in equipping us to launch the transformational programmes that will define the next few years of the institute.”
John Preston, Chief Operating Officer, CISI