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Technologies for DevOps, Test Automation and AI: The QA Financial Forum Paris 2019

8 October, 2019
News and research on financial software quality assurance and risk management

The QA Financial Forum: Chicago 2018

25 April, 2018 8am-5pm The Metropolitan Club
233 South Wacker Drive
Willis Tower
66th Floor
IL, 60606

The first ever QA Financial Forum Chicago takes places on April 25th, 2018. Join us at the leading forum for professionals working in quality assurance and testing for software at banks, insurance and asset management companies

About the event

IT Risk Management and Quality Assurance for Continuous App Delivery

The first ever QA Financial Forum Chicago takes places on April 25th, 2018.

Join us at the leading forum for professionals working in quality assurance and testing for software at banks, insurance and asset management companies. Featuring in-depth coverage on technologies for automation and continuous app delivery, including artificial intelligence.

Presentations are made and discussed under the Chatham House Rule.

To find out more about sponsorship/delegate opportunities please contact
Lawrence  Bell — [email protected]

To find out more about speaking opportunities please contact
Olga Korzhova — [email protected]

To find out more about attending as a delegate please contact
Kirstine Kennedy — [email protected]


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Ian Gore Northern Trust

Senior Vice President, Enterprise Enablement

Ian is currently Senior Vice President at The Northern Trust Bank in the Enterprise Enablement space; heading up Release Management for Large, Transformational Programs.

Prior to joining Northern Trust Ian was the Head of IT Capability Management at Sears Holdings; focused on building out Centres of Excellence mapped strategically to the CIO Agenda.

Ian has enjoyed the other side of the equation too, joining Infosys as the North American Practice Engagement Manager in the Banking and Capital Markets Industry, providing Independent Validation Solutions (IVS) for his clients.
Before his time with Infosys Ian was the Director of Systems Quality and Release Management for U.S.Cellular, leading the Testing Services and Quality Assurance departments.

Ian also enjoyed his role with BankOne/JPMC as Managing Director of the Enterprise Release and Test Management group, heading up company-wide Quality Assurance and Testing Services departments.

Ian has held several other leadership positions in the quality assurance and testing field; three years as a senior consultant with Spherion and five years at The Northern Trust Company, primarily in Accounting Operations Management and Business Solution Consultancy

Ian also ran his own management consulting firm providing business and technology services for a variety of companies and investors.

Swati Shah U.S. BANK

Vice President and Head of Technology, Open Banking and API Strategy (Enterprise)

Results-driven software engineering leader with the ability to create and manage complex execution plans. Swati Shah is an experienced technology leader that has consistently delivered next generation application framework, implemented DevOps foundation and cloud delivery solutions, and streamlined organizations to implement agile-at-scale across portfolio, program, and team. Swati brings proven experience aligning business and IT organizations to deliver on value driven execution strategies

Raj Kanuparthi Vantiv, now WorldPay

Head of Enterprise QA, Tools and DevOps

Raj heads Enterprise Quality Assurance, SDLC Tools, DevOps and Program delivery for Pricing at Vantiv (now Worldpay). In his role, Raj is responsible for managing a large QA team, evolving QA and tooling strategy, transformation, Automation, and DevOps capabilities.

Prior to Vantiv, Raj held senior leadership roles within Liberty Mutual Insurance managing delivery of large programs and teams supporting modernization of legacy systems, high-revenue generating applications, development of new products and capabilities,  integrating acquired operations across functional domains.

Raj has 20+ years of experience in the technology space, predominantly in financial services and insurance industries. Raj has well-rounded experience and success in variety of senior leadership roles from software development, Planning, Strategy, Large Program Delivery and Portfolio management. Raj has an MBA from Kelley School of Business, Indiana University and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering.

Jason Jerina New York Life Insurance Company

Head of Quality Assurance, Application Support and Maintenance

Jason Jerina has been a technology leader for over 20 years. He's led Software Development, Release Management, Business Analyst, Application Support and Quality Assurance organizations in a few industries.

Jason grew up in technology as a hands on tester. Early in his career he progressed from a QA tester, to Quality Assurance Lead, to then a Quality Assurance Manager. After his career progression into management, he soon became a senior leader of development teams, production support, release management and business analyst teams.

His passion has always been for Quality Assurance, Technology Leadership, and Production Support. Most of his 20+ years have been spent in Financial Services firms, ranging from Banking, Capital Markets, and now Insurance.

His passion for Technology Leadership and Quality Assurance have enabled him to drive innovation with his teams in areas such as test automation, performance engineering, white box testing, and newer efficient approaches to Acceptance Testing. His approach is to encourage innovative ideas from his teams, encourage them to try them, and support them in their efforts to deliver.

Mehmet Yanilmaz Myra Trading


Mehmet Yanılmaz is partner at Myra Trading and president of Navus, a strategy and fintech company, and associate of the Institute for Financial Markets (IFM).

Mehmet advises exchanges, OTC platforms, finance software vendors and regulatory bodies on areas such as matching engines, risk management, market micro-structure, algorithmic execution and trading strategies.  He serves as expert witness on these topics, and on cases involving IP theft, violation of employment contracts, corporate valuations and determination of reasonable royalties.

Mehmet taught engineering and business at Northwestern University, and computer science at the University of Chicago.  He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University.

Tom Tiefenworth Legg Mason

Assistant Vice President, Chief Technologist Compliance Analytics

Tom currently sits as Chief Technologist on the Compliance Analytics
Team, working to expand the analytical capabilities of the firm by
leveraging additional technology for data driven outcomes and
insights. His team leverages a variety of business intelligence tools
and open source packages, such as R and Python, to shed light on
these insights. Tom also serves as Head of Technology Initiative for
Global Compliance and has overseen the deployment and management
of a global corporate compliance and oversight system to all of our
affiliates and locations worldwide. He is also a member of Legg’s AI
Task Force, where he works to deploy RPA and Machine Learning
solutions throughout the firm.

Yemi Akisanya OCC - Options Clearing Corp

Product Manager, Business Development, Product Development

Yemi Akisanya manages a team of business analyst that balances multiple responsibilities focused on new product and business development efforts in the liaison role between central party clearing and settlement services organization and external business customers such as exchanges, banks, and clearing members.

Previously at OCC, Yemi served as a Senior Business Analyst and also held the position of Senior/Lead Quality Assurance Analyst for the Application Services Department. Prior to joining OCC in 2011, Yemi held positions at CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) and JP Morgan Chase as a Sr. QA Analyst, where he specialized in large-scale initiatives for the financial services industry specifically in Clearing. 

Additionally, in the last 3 years Yemi has taught over hundreds of students in Software Testing and Quality Assurance at Forte Knowledge Academy. Yemi is currently an Executive MBA candidate ‘19 at Kellogg of Management and currently holds a Masters of Science in Communication degree from Northwestern University and a B.A. in Management Information Systems from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

Yakut Akman Citi

Chief Third Party Management Officer

Yakut Akman brings 35 years of diverse banking experience to her role of Chief Third Party Management Officer. She has responsibility, authority and accountability for the end-to-end Third Party Management Program, and leads global efforts to strengthen Citi’s organizational framework, as well as processes and tools to manage third party risk.

Prior to her current role, Yakut served as Global Head of Risk Management for Citi’s Enterprise Infrastructure.  Her responsibilities covered all operational risk disciplines including Information Security, Continuity of Business, and Third Party Management.

Yakut is known for her abilities to connect operational details to the strategic business vision and drive meaningful change – an approach sharpened by many years in Operation & Technology and her role as Program Director in in Citi’s Internal Audit, overseeing critical Investment and Consumer banking businesses, and also serving as Deputy Chief Auditor of Citi’s Student Loan Corporation.

Yakut is a member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) and is certified in CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor). She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Economics.

Sundeep Kumar JP Morgan Chase

Executive Director, Global Technology

Sundeep is a seasoned technologist and a strategic and delivery-focused development manager with immense experience in Financial Risk Management, Pricing, Analytics, Bond Valuations, Credit Products Risk Management (CDOs, credit default swaps, synthetic CDOs, etc.), Limits Management, Rules Based Risk Management, Credit Underwriting, Commercial Bank Operations (credit origination, credit analysis and approval, Early Warning, and Remedial), CCAR, Basel II and Basel III reporting, exotics, and OTC products. He is also experienced in designing, developing, and implementing trading systems for diverse financial products and services ranging from Equities, Equity Derivatives, Futures, Fixed Income, Algorithmic and Basket trading, and FX.

Sundeep has in-depth business knowledge of market protocols, trading rules, credit processes, regulatory requirements, Monte Carlo simulation, Mathcad, pricing, and analytics of financial products. He has an M.B.A. in Finance and International business from NYU Stern School of Business and is a C.F.A. Charterholder. Sundeepalso holds a BTech in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, and a Masters in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Polytechnic University of Brooklyn.

Myrtle Singson Capital One

Continuous Delivery Team Lead

Myrtle is an experienced technology leader in the financial services industry. She started her career in technology as Mainframe programmer focused on Test Data Management. Over the years in Capital One, she has transitioned from developer to a product owner and a leader in DevOps Transformation, Test Automation and Application Migration to cloud.

Karthik Loganathan Discover

Director, Business Technology, Enterprise Software Quality Management,

Bio coming soon.

Christopher Spera Millennium Trust

Assistant Vice President, Head of Quality Assurance and Testing

Chris has over 25 years of experience in Quality Assurance Management and specializes in engineering processes and systems and developing teams that test enterprise and end-user focused software solutions.  

With experience in State government, healthcare and financial industries, Chris has worked with all sized companies from start-ups to large, multi-state health plans, establishing and optimizing software development systems using a multitude of different methodologies.

As a published, technology journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering mobile, wearable, cellular and multi-platform desktop computing, Chris is an expert in communicating to technology and business users at all levels.

Brian Timmeny BBVA

Senior Vice President, Global Head of Advanced Engineering, DevOps and IT Processes

As a highly skilled IT professional with the ability to create and manage complex execution plans, Brian Timmeny is an experienced delivery executive that has consistently delivered next generation cloud solutions, implemented DevOps foundation and cloud delivery solutions, and streamlined organizations to implement agile-at-scale across portfolio, program, and team delivery. Brian brings proven experience aligning business and IT organizations to deliver upon value driven execution strategies.

Brian takes pride in having transformed multiple Fortune 100 organizations to delivery agility, and DevOps standards aligning them tangibly to business priorities. He has a proven track record of conceptualizing creative plans that effectively manage complex IT programs to deliver incremental, measurable business value.

With a focus on business outcomes, Brian utilizes appropriate delivery methodologies, cloud solutions, and DevOps engineering practices to significantly reduce operating costs and enhance segment productivity. A highly accomplished IT delivery executive, he expertly assesses delivery environments and builds innovative plans for sustainable improvements to drive faster delivery, while always maintaining focus on business value.

Mark Peterson Wells Fargo

Senior Vice President for Platform Services Architecture

Bio coming soon.

Iosif Itkin Exactpro

Co-Founder and Co-CEO

Iosif is co-founder and co-CEO of Exactpro, a specialist firm focused on functional and non-functional testing for market infrastructures. Founded in 2009 with ten core specialists on board, Exactpro now employs over 550 specialists. In May 2015 - January 2018, Exactpro was part of the Technology Services division of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG). In January 2018, the founders of Exactpro completed a management buyout from LSEG.

Iosif manages business development and research in the field of high-load trading systems reliability. He is actively involved in delivering strategic software testing initiatives. Iosif has organized several industry conferences, including EXTENT - Software Testing and Trading Technology Trends Conference. He frequently speaks at worldwide FinTech events.

Iosif started his professional career in 2000 as a software engineer in a US-based software development company. For seven years, he worked as a Team Lead and a Technology Architect on projects for a number of US companies. In 2006, Iosif joined a company providing QA services in the financial sector. His extensive software development experience helped him to establish a Performance Testing Department specialising in testing high load trading systems. As a Technical Lead, Iosif was responsible for developing testing tools and implementing technical solutions for a number of leading exchanges and global investment banks. Iosif also has experience managing a consulting practice with a focus on advanced execution systems. As VP of Technology, he was responsible for implementing testing solutions on a number of complex projects for customers worldwide.


Jonathan Morley CME Group

Lead Software Engineer - Digitization and Tech Labs

Jonathan Morley is a software engineer at CME Group working with blockchain technologies. He has also written a top-selling book on the topic called, “That Book on Blockchain: A One-Hour Intro.” Jonathan has a B.S. in computer science from Alma College, an M.S. in computer science from DePaul University, and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Varun Ebenezer BMO Financial Group

Vice President and Senior Audit Manager, Technology and Operations U.S

Varun is currently VP - Senior Audit Manager at
BMO Financial Group, and was previously an IT
Auditor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Varun has been researching, utilizing, and
providing presentations on blockchain
technology since 2013. He has his CISA, Masters
in Information Systems from DePaul University,
and Bachelors in Sociology and History from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison. Varun was
also the IIA Chicago Chapter’s Auditor of the
Year for 2015-2016.

Imir Arifi Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Imir Arifi is head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at Health Care Services Corporation, and Adjunct Professor of Credit Risk in the Financial Engineering Program at Illinois Institute of Technology, Stuart School of Business. He provides executive guidance for the company’s AI strategy, leads efforts for its development and execution, manages use case selection and execution to maximize long term value, reviews vendor and in-house development capabilities, and evangelizes AI & ML initiatives.   

Imir has 18 years of diverse banking expertise covering various risk functional areas and products at large financial institutions. In the past, he led the validation of mission critical models focusing primarily on Market Risk, Operational Risk, and Pre-Provision Net Revenue frameworks within the Model Risk Management and Validation Department of Regions Bank.

Imir holds a Doctorate in Management Science with a focus on Credit Risk management from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois.


Andrew Kumiega Illinois Institute of Technology

Ph.D. Assistant Professor

Dr. Andrew Kumiega is Assistant Professor of Analytics at the Stuart School of Business. He has over 30 years of experience in applying his Ph.D. research in artificial intelligence to a broad range of challenges in the financial industry.  Andrew is also currently serving as Director of Financial Engineering for Asset Management and has worked for firms such as Infinium Capital Management, Spectrum Global Fund Administrator, and TD Waterhouse.  Andrew holds the CISA, CRISC, CISM and CGEIT Certifications from ISACA.ORG.  He also holds the CQE and CSQE Certifications from ASQ.ORG.  His research area focus is the intersection of IT Governance/Risk, real time algorithm quality monitoring and algorithm design for unique industry applications.



Welcome Address and QA Vector Research Presentation

Matthew Crabbe, CEO and Founder – QA Financial

Keynote Presentation: From Deming to DevOps, a QA Transformation Journey

Speaker: Ian Gore, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Enablement, Northern Trust

Whilst the financial industry is embracing more agile ways of working, change is not always easy, as firms must integrate complex legacy systems that can slow down and complicate digital transformation. Ian will take you through his experience in the industry and the journey towards DevOps, and the importance of the role QA and Testing have in this transition. He will explain how embracing change is not an option but an imperative and give an insight into what the next 5 years hold.


Panel Discussion – Financial firms and the Road to Continuous Delivery: Overcoming the Key Challenges

Moderated by: Ian Gore - Senior Vice President, Enterprise Enablement - Northern Trust


Jason Jerina - Head of Quality Assurance, Application Support and Maintenance - New York Life Insurance Company

Swati Shah - Vice President and Head of Technology, Open Banking and API Strategy (Enterprise) - U.S. BANK

Raj Kanuparthi - Head of Enterprise QA, Tools and DevOps - Vantiv, now WorldPay

How do financial firms ensure faster delivery along with improved customer experience? How can firms maintain quality whilst accelerating development? Our panellists will explore these challenges and more whilst examining the journey towards DevOps and automated testing. One of the key challenges for many firms: how to manage the transition from legacy IT environments, and what does this mean from a QA perspective?


Panel Discussion – Embedding Regulatory Compliance into Software Development

Moderated by: Varun Ebenezer - Vice President and Senior Audit Manager, Technology and Operations U.S. - BMO Financial Group


Yemi Akisanya - Product Manager, Business Development, Product Development -  OCC - Options Clearing Corp

Tom Tiefenworth -Assistant Vice President, Chief Technologist Compliance Analytics - Legg Mason

Mehmet Yanilmaz - Partner - Myra Trading

In an environment of ever-increasing regulatory scrutiny, financial firms must ensure that compliance is embedded throughout the SDLC. Our panel of experts will explore how IT risk management is being supervised by regulators, and how to enhance communications between developers, IT Risk Managers and Internal Auditors to ensure a holistic approach to IT risk and compliance.


Coffee & Networking


Panel Discussion – Managing Software Risk: Vendor Risk Management and Benchmarking Quality

Moderated by: Rachel Williams, Editor, QA Financial


Sundeep Kumar - Executive Director, Global Technology - JP Morgan Chase

Yakut Akman - Chief Third Party Management Officer - Citi

Jason Jerina - Head of Quality Assurance, Application Support and Maintenance - New York Life Insurance Company

As firms increase their reliance on software-based digital capabilities, they have big decisions to make about how they manage software risk and compliance requirements. This is especially true of decisions around the out-sourcing of code development and testing and also the use of open-source and third-party components. Our panel of experts will discuss embedding regulatory compliance into outsourcing decisions, how to bench-mark code quality, security and risk, and consider new models for managing off-shoring.



Panel Discussion – Redefining Testing in the DevOps World

Moderated by: Brian Patrick Timmeny - Senior Vice President, Global Head of Advanced Engineering, DevOps and IT Processes - BBVA 


Chris Spera -  Assistant Vice President, Head of Quality Assurance and Testing - Millennium Trust

Karthik Loganathan - Director, Business Technology, ESQM (Enterprise Software Quality Management) - Discover

Myrtle Singson - Continuous Delivery Team Lead - Capital One

DevOps methodologies are widely viewed as the critical enabler of new QA processes. But what is the impact of DevOps on software testing? How can firms adapt their test teams for methodologies such as TDD and BDD? Another significant challenge is building the business case for investment in new technologies, such as test service virtualization, at a time when CTOs and CEOs are looking for substantial savings from automation and the re-assessment of outsourcing requirements. Our panellists will share their experiences in tackling these conundrums.


A DevOps Journey: Reducing Friction in the Enterprise

SpeakerMark Peterson - Senior Vice President for Platform Services Architecture - Wells Fargo 

Mark will discuss the journey currently underway at Wells Fargo to strategically transform software development and testing processes. Challenges covered will include: Mobilizing key subject matter experts and leaders in the effort to articulate and enhance the new vision; the necessity to have clear target state business goals; a holistic approach to enable people, process, and tool changes; and the difficulties encountered in a large organization when implementing change across teams.


Lunch & Networking


The Nature of Truth and How We Define Fake Testing

Speaker: Iosif Itkin - CEO and Co-Founder - Exactpro

We live in a world of complex and interconnected systems. The software development life cycle goes full steam ahead through agile transformations. Large technology infrastructures seek better ways of assuring quality, scalability and reliability for their platforms. The path is frequently obstructed by the spread of Fake Testing. Many project teams are vulnerable to this new danger. Iosif will share his thoughts on how to deal with the challenge in a post-truth world of eroding trust.


Panel Discussion -Testing for Blockchain, Smart Contracts and Distributed Ledgers

Moderated by: Andrew Kumiega - Ph.D. Assistant Professor-  Illinois Institute of Technology


Varun Ebenezer - Vice President and Senior Audit Manager, Technology and Operations U.S - BMO Financial Group 

Jonathan Morley - Senior Software Engineer, Digitization and Tech Labs - CME Group 

As blockchain technologies become more widely used by financial firms, questions remain over improving security and testing for distributed ledger platforms. How do firms test smart contracts? Our panel of experts will discuss the industry standards for such testing, as well as considering how to embed test automation into contract and platform construction.


Reinventing QA in the age of Agile, DevOps, Machine Learning and Big Data

Speaker: Sundeep Kumar - Executive Director, Global Technology - JP Morgan Chase

In recent years, the software development process has been revolutionized. In the age of Agile, DevOps, Machine Learning and Big Data, traditional QA processes must also adapt in order to add value to the Software Development Life Cycle. Modern QA must incorporate advances made in Machine Learning and Big Data Techniques, utilising tools such as Splunk, RPA and Big Data Analytics, with particular emphasis on automation and continuous integration. In this presentation, Sundeep will explore how firms can reinvent QA, to make sure it keeps pace with the overall Software Development Process.


Coffee & Networking


Software Security and Testing: A Holistic Approach to Risk Management in the SDLC

Speaker: Brian Timmeny - Senior Vice President, Global Head of Advanced Engineering, DevOps & IT Processes - BBVA 

Under increasing risk of cyber-attacks, as well as ever mounting regulatory scrutiny, firms must ensure that security is embedded throughout the software development life cycle. Brian will detail how BBVA are approaching security testing, whilst considering the industry response to ever more stringent regulatory requirements, such as the NYCRR 500. He will detail how to reduce risk through vendor management, and best practice surrounding the cloud and open-source tools.


Quality Assurance, Testing and Governance Stages for Machine learning Algorithms


Andrew Kumiega - Ph.D. Assistant Professor-  Illinois Institute of Technology

Imir Arifi - Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning - Blue Cross and Blue Shield

 Everyone is talking about AI and machine learning - but how will firms test machine learning systems as they increasingly become a reality? Andrew and Imir will discuss techniques for ensuring quality control on algorithms and data structures, and how these can help firms to meet business objectives. They will explain how algorithms can be tested, and how this ensures stability in production.


Cocktail Reception

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