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QA Financial Forum: Milano 2019

23 January, 2019
News and research on financial software quality assurance and risk management

The QA Financial Forum: Chicago 2019

2 April, 2019 8am-5pm 233 South Wacker Drive,
67th Floor,

We return to the Metropolitan Club in the Willis Tower for our conference for software quality assurance and software risk management working in finance. Cutting-edge technologies for better apps, delivered faster.

About the event

Quality for the Entire Software Development Life-cycle

- Technologies for Automation & AI

- DevOps & CI/CD

- Value Stream Management

- Test Data Management

- Regulatory Compliance

- App Security & DevSecOps


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 opportunities please contact
Lawrence  Bell — [email protected]

To find out more about speaking opportunities please contact
Alex Dickins - [email protected]

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



Barb Koren CME Group

Director of Quality Assurance

Barb is a Director for Quality Assurance at CME Group acting as last line of defense before software is released to the world’s leading derivatives exchange. Previously teaching 3rd graders how to code, writing user’s guides, finding problems with e911 system, ensuring accurate concrete recipes Barb made a career of making sure software is ready for customer use.  Catch her on LinkedIn or in person but be wary she’s a racewalker and can walk faster than most people can run.

Julie Hansen Chicago Trading Company

Quality Assurance Manager

Julie is the Quality Assurance Manager at Chicago Trading Company, a derivatives trading firm that is a leading provider of liquidity and pricing on derivatives exchanges globally.  Julie is responsible for ensuring CTC’s new ideas are delivered with quality in continually reduced cycle times, empowering CTC to make software changes with confidence.  Julie has spent the last 20 years in technology focusing on quality assurance, program management, and consulting.  Prior to CTC, Julie was a Vice President at YJT Solutions delivering complex, business critical projects for trading clients and an Infrastructure Engineering Manager and Consultant with Accenture.

Rizwan Hafeez Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Managing Director, Performance Engineering and Software Quality Assurance

Rizwan is a Managing Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, responsible for strategic planning, leadership, management and oversight of the Performance Engineering and Software Quality Assurance with focus on Metrics, Automation, Agile and DevOps. Rizwan has over 20 years of diverse background with extensive experience in all SDLC phases improving processes, reorganizing teams for efficiency and implementing large system initiatives. With an extensive Automation and Systems Engineering background, Rizwan have implemented DevOps organically while working at NYSE in 2004 when DevOps was not mainstream.

Gabriella Szasz Wells Fargo

Senior Vice President, Global Head Enterprise Quality Engineering

Gabby Szasz is a Senior Vice President with Global QA Responsibilities at Wells Fargo Bank. She
joined the bank in July 2017. Prior to this she was a Managing Director with Global QA
responsibilities at BNY Mellon and the Chief Quality and Development Officer for the Corporate
and Investment Bank (CIB) at J.P. Morgan Chase.
Over the last 28 years she has held various global positions in Telecom, Consulting and
Financial Services organizations. She is a specialist in off-shore management with specific
experience in India, China, Brazil, Europe and the Philippines.
Gabby holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) Degree from Carleton University in Canada.
She is active with Anita Borg Institute both locally and nationally. She continually presents at
national conferences on both technology and diversity topics.
Gabby resides in Manhattan with her husband and 15-year- old daughter.

Bala Mukund Charles Schwab

Director of Technology

Bala Mukund is a Director of Technology for Charles Schwab with over 15 years of
experience in managing, designing, and building enterprise level applications ranging
from finance, sales, marketing, and banking systems. In the current role, Bala is the
Technology Director and Solutions Architect for the Intelligent Portfolios platform – which
provides automated investment advice. Bala worked closely with the IP technology
teams to establish best development and quality automation practices leading to
improved quality and delivery. Prior to joining Charles Schwab in 2015, Bala was a
Technology Director at Morningstar and VP at Nationwide, in Chicago.

Mike Schober Charles Schwab

Managing Director, Technology

Mike Schober is a Managing Director in Technology at Charles Schwab leading the
software development and delivery of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios an innovative
automated investing platform. Prior to Schwab he worked at large companies and
startups with a personal driving force to deliver new and emerging technology solutions,
including one of the first internet payment systems, an early one-click shopping
experience, a first of its kind internet payment chip enabled credit card, and more. Mike
has a passion for leading edge industry changing technology innovations and takes
pride in delivering solutions that improve individual’s experiences and lives.

Maged Ebeid BMO Financial Group

Senior Technology Officer

Bio coming soon.

Jennifer Henderson Capital One

Senior Software Engineering Manager

Bio coming soon.

Andrew Alaniz BBVA Compass

TISO and Head of US Security Architecture

With over a decade of enterprise IT and security consulting experience, Mr. Alaniz leads the US security architecture team for BBVA. His responsibilities include establishing the enterprise security architecture framework as well as designing and developing processes to ensure that proper security architecture is implemented within projects in the US and abroad. This includes working with many teams to develop security and governance baselines and reviewing and documenting the security architecture of each project.. Additionally, his teams are responsible for the governance and security architecture of cloud services and technologies.

Carlos Pero Zurich Insurance Company

AVP, Head of Application Security

Bio coming soon.



Arrival, refreshments, and networking


Welcome Address

Matthew Crabbe, CEO and Founder – QA Media


Automation at the CME: Keynote Presentation by Barb Koren, Director of Quality Assurance

Speaker: Barb Koren, Director of Quality Assurance - CME Group

It takes a lot of software to run the world's leading and most diverse marketplace known as CME Group. Barb will walk through how CME creates software detailing how QA is involved in the journey from requirements review through production deployment. She will provide insight on how automation is used and cover challenges such as short timelines, competing priorities, incomplete requirements, global teams and how they are addressed.


Key Technologies in Test Automation for Continuous Delivery and Continuous Integration

Most financial firms have targets for increasing rates of test automation. But many are only at the start of that transformation, and even among the leaders there is no agreed best practice or the toolset. Our panel will discuss the relationship between automation, DevOps and Agile and the business case for technologies such as test service virtualisation and the potential that lies in AI, machine learning and robotic process automation.

Panel Discussion

Gabriella Szasz, Senior Vice President, Global Head Enterprise Quality Engineering - Wells Fargo

Rizwan Hafeez, Managing Director, Performance Engineering and Software Quality Assurance - Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Julia Hansen, Quality Assurance Manager - Chicago Trading Company 


Accelerating Innovation at Charles Schwab with Continuous Testing

Speakers: Michael Schober, Managing Director and Bala Mukund, Director of Technology - Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab transformed the quality assurance process for its Intelligent Portfolios robo-advisory platform product team by adopting a “shift left” continuous testing approach and validating quality through automation. In this presentation, Michael Schober and Bala Mukund will detail how they led this transformation of Schwab’s Wealth Management Technology team with the help of automated continuous testing. Delegates will learn how to streamline the software development process, practical processes for implementing continuous testing and how to reshape DevOps culture to better meet customer needs and expectations.


Coffee & Networking


Session Reserved for BMO Financial Group

Speaker: Maged Ebeid, Senior Technology Officer, BMO Financial Group 



Presentation Reserved for Gold Sponsor


Integrating DevOps and Agile: Quality Assurance at Scale

DevOps and Agile are widely recognised as keys to better quality assurance and testing, but one size does not fit all. This session will explain how other firms can scale Agile methodologies to different programmes, and how Agile can enhance technical test frameworks to ensure quality execution. Additionally, by examining definitions of best practice to create Agile and DevOps test frameworks, delegates will gain a better understanding of robust working practices to drive the maturity of their firms.


Lunch & Networking


The right foundations for a Quality Process Architecture

Speaker: Justyn Trenner, Director - QA Media 

Financial institutions face the challenge of embedding quality in the SDLC even as they transition from waterfall to agile. This presentation, based on QA Vector original research among industry practitioners, will explore how to lay the right foundations in terms of people, processes, infrastructure and data, to facilitate measurable success.


Session Reserved for Capital One

Speaker: Jennifer Henderson, Senior Software Engineering Manager - Capital One 


Presentation Reserved for Gold Sponsor


Augment your App Security Framework by Developing a DevSecOps Approach

Our expert panel will consider two questions facing every major financial firm. What is best practice in embedding security and penetration testing in the SDLC? And, as the move to the Cloud continues, how can firms create and enterprise view of data management that incorporates their investment in test environments? In particular, the panel will discuss the potential and limitations of a DevSecOps framework, and identify which controls firms should be putting into place to position themselves to develop a mature and robust security framework.

Panel Discussion

Carlos Pero, AVP, Head of Application Security - Zurich Insurance Company 

Andrew Alaniz, TISO and Head of US Security Architecture - BBVA Compass 


Coffee & Networking


Optimise your end-to-end test data management practices to develop a robust SDLC

With greater volumes of data to manage than ever before, financial institutions need to ensure effective test data management strategies are implemented into their software testing frameworks. This session will explore the potential capabilities of automation, examining the applications of this technology to the management and synthesis of test data to ensure that time to market is minimised. Additionally, firms will also enhance their validation strategies for test data; both synthesised and masked, ensuring quality performance in their software tests.


Embedding Regulatory Compliance in the SDLC

Panel Discussion

Financial firms are under growing pressure to document testing infrastructures, and to test their software development architecture to ensure acceptable risk management procedures are in place. Additionally, as firms increasingly automate software development, how do they identify the critical trading and risk apps that will be scrutinised by regulators? What lessons have financial institutions learned from compliance with past regulations and how are regulators reshaping their view of IT risk?


Cocktail Reception

Gold sponsors

Bronze sponsors

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