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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 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]


Chicago brochure front cover screen shot

Download our event guide

Send us your details and download our handy guide.


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.

Sean Ghassemi JP Morgan Chase

Executive Director, Global Head of Quality Architecture

Bio coming soon.

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.

Ingo Philipp Tricentis

Agile Evangelist, Product Manager

Ingo Philipp is an award-winning Exploratory Testing and Agile thought leader, with a resume of speaking engagements that span the globe. In his role as a Product Manager at Tricentis, his responsibilities range from product development and product marketing to test management, test conception, test design, and test automation. His experiences with software testing embrace the application of agile testing as well as classical testing methodologies in various sectors including financial services, consumer goods, commercial services, healthcare, materials, telecommunications, and energy.

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

Maged Ebeid is a Senior Technology Officer at BMO Harris Bank, leading the development, delivery and support of all solutions for US Private Bank, BHFA (BMO Harris Financial Advisors) and Stoker Ostler. He has demonstrated experience in managing global diverse technology teams in the Banking and Financial industries. More than 20 years of experience in a variety of technology roles, including senior management, architecture, design and development. Innovative architect, technology visionary and business leader with extensive experience in delivering reliable, scalable, and cost-sensitive business solutions with high quality.

Elena Treshcheva Exactpro

Business Development Manager and Researcher

Elena initially joined Exactpro as a QA analyst. Working in this position, she got first-hand experience in software testing, the focus of her work being post-trade systems, market data processing and storage. In parallel with her work on the project, Elena was involved in speaking on behalf of Exactpro at a number of IT and Fintech conferences, including EXTENT-2018 in London (June 2018). Most recently, having joined Business Development, Elena has represented Exactpro at the QA Financial Forum in Chicago (April 2019) and AI Test 2019 in San Francisco (April 2019).

As part of the Exactpro Global Business Development team, Elena gets to leverage her experience of presenting at the conferences and continues to be actively engaged in the company’s Research & Development Strategy. Prior to joining Exactpro, Elena held a position of Associate Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Applied Linguistics for several years after obtaining her postgraduate degree. Her responsibilities included project management of scientific work aimed at computer resource design and development.

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.


Sebastiaan Gybels NextCapital

Chief Information Security Officer

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

Head of Application Security

Carlos' professional career has been entirely focused on the Web, starting in 1994 with Argonne National Laboratory and discovering NCSA Mosaic, and connecting things to the Internet such as their Advanced Photon Source electron accelerator before it was even possible to center text on a page. Other notable employers have been Chicago Tribune, PacifiCare Health Systems, Barbeques Galore,, and Rand McNally, addressing the nascent topics of Web development, content management, online marketing, and e-commerce. After 20 years, Carlos joined Zurich Insurance and pivoted into Cybersecurity to protect Web sites instead of develop Web sites, because port 80 and 443 are the biggest vulnerabilities ever. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an M.B.A. from Concordia University. After having co-located his own email, Web, and database servers for many years, Carlos still enjoys crafting code in Python and Google App Engine in his spare time.

Bernd Bornhausen TD Insurance

Senior Manager QA

Since his first computer, the famous Sinclair 1000, Bernd has been interested in information technology. His path lead from developer over system administrator to QA specialist. Combining his passion for technology and Quality Assurance with his passion for people led him to people management.  During his career Bernd has been involved in transforming multiple organizations through standardization, process evolution and capability enhancement.

Bernd lives and breathes Quality Assurance.

Jennifer Henderson Capital One

Senior Software Engineering Manager

Jennifer Henderson attended Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, is a certified agile scrum master and Certified SAFe® 4 Program Consultant. Jen is currently a Senior Manager of retail and direct technology at Capital One. Jen formerly held the position of Director of Technology for POSSIBLE/WPP, one of the world's largest digital marketing agencies, and was the Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Rovion, Inc. and Valley InfoSystems. Jen is proud to have supported world class organizations such as P&G, the J.M. Smucker Company, Universal Pictures and Toyota with creative technology solutions and consultation.

Avik Ganguly London Stock Exchange Group

Director of Quality Engineering

Avik Ganguly, currently serving as the Director of Quality Engineering at LSEG’s Information Services Division which includes The Yield Book and FTSE Russell. The Yield Book is a market leader in the fixed income analytics and FTSE Russell is a global leader in indexes. Avik’s team is responsible for the Quality Engineering infrastructure of the Yield Book technology products. Prior to joining LSEG; Avik was an Engineering Director at WeWork where he co-founded their Quality Engineering team from ground up. Avik has a proven track record of building world class engineering teams in hyper growth mode and attracting and retaining top talent. Avik’s passion for quality stems from his graduate research work in the field of operations research and stochastic systems leading him to a career in driving operational excellence in the industry. Prior to WeWork, Avik lived and worked in San Francisco for nearly a decade. Avik enjoys traveling and has traveled to 15 countries over last 5 years.

Brian Pohl SWBC

Vice President, Release and Delivery Management

Brian Pohl is the Vice President of Software Release and Delivery Management at SWBC a privately held
Financial Services company in San Antonio Texas. Brian is responsible for all Software Quality
Assurance, User Acceptance Testing and Business Systems Analysts. Brian has over 25 years of
experience leading Global Software Quality Assurance and Development teams across Financial Services,
IT, Broadcast Television and Healthcare Domains. He is an advocate for Continuous Testing, DevOps,
Test Automation, Robotic Process Automation and Accessibility Testing. He has spoken on Test
Automation, Mobile Test Automation and contributed to Forrester and Gartner research on Test
Automation and Testing Tools.

Sejal Patel OppLoans

Director of Compliance

Sejal is Director of Regulatory Compliance at Opportunity Financial and holds professional
scrum master PSM I and in Six Sigma certificates. She considers herself a lifelong learner with
B.S in Decision Science, M.S in Management Information System and most recently M.S in Law
from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Sejal has over a decade of experience working
within FinTech and Regulatory Compliance; specifically bringing clarity to complex product
workflows for State and Federal regulators within the lending space. She began her career as a
front-end Java developer and proudly held various roles as Technical Writer, Process
Reengineer, Product Owner, and QA Manager. Although, her most proud accomplishment is
completing South Island Te Araroa trail in New Zealand.

Peter Tessin Discover Financial Services

Senior Manager, Business Technology Risk and Compliance

At Discover Financial Services, Tessin leads the governance group within Business Technology (BT) Risk.
In that role, he is responsible for ensuring policy, standards and procedures align with corporate
objectives. He serves as the internal party responsible for regulatory exam management, and is the
internal liaison to Corporate Risk Management.
In his role at ISACA, Tessin was the project manager for COBIT 5 and led the development of other COBIT
5-related publications, white papers and articles. Tessin also played a central role in the design of COBIT
online, ISACA’s latest web site that offers convenient access to the COBIT 5 product family and includes
interactive digital tools to assist in the use of COBIT.
Prior to joining IASCA, Tessin was a senior manager at an internal audit firm, where he led client
engagements and was responsible for IT and financial audit teams. Previously, he worked in various
industry roles including staff accountant, application developer, accounting systems consultant and
trainer, business analyst, project manager, and auditor. He has worked in many countries outside of his
native US including Canada, Mexico, Germany, Italy, France, UK and Australia.
With more than 20 years of global business and IT experience, Tessin is able to address topical issues in
business leadership.



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

Moderator: Ingo Philipp,  Agile Evangelist, Product Manager - Tricentis 

Sean Ghassemi, Executive Director, Global Head of Quality Assurance - JP Morgan Chase

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

Julie 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


Integrating DevOps and Agile: Quality Assurance at Scale

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

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.


Complex Post-Trade Systems, Requirements Traceability and the Illusion of Control


Iosif Itkin, CEO and Co-Founder - Exactpro 

Elena Treshcheva, Business Development Manager and Researcher - Exactpro 

Exactpro provides software testing services for mission-critical technology that underpins global financial markets. Exactpro clients are regulated by FCA, Bank of England and their counterparts from other countries. During this session, Elena and Iosif will talk about end-to-end software testing for post-trade systems in financial market infrastructures. What are the key challenges in quality assurance at this scale?  What kind of cognitive biases affect SDLC? How precise is the knowledge about the systems under test? What constitutes good test evidence? How to deal with complexity in regulated environments?


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, Head of Application Security - Zurich Insurance Company 

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

Sebastiaan Gybels, Chief Information Security Officer - NextCapital 


An Epic Journey: From QA Analyst to QA Engineer at TD

Speaker: Bernd Bornhausen, Senior Manager QA - TD Insurance 

Destination: Agile Software Delivery. During this journey the organization as a whole has to transform in order to reach the set destination. Quality assurance plays a crucial role in this endeavour.  Traditional quality assurance and testing took place after the development had been completed, but it is now changing so that quality assurance can happen earlier in the process; we are shifting left.  Let's have a look on how Quality Assurance Analysts are setting out to attain Agile Software Delivery, and explore how they transform into Quality Engineers during this journey by embracing early quality assurance and test automation practices.


Lunch & Networking


Laying the Foundations for Quality Process Architecture

Speakers: Sean Ghassemi, Executive Director, Global Head of Quality Assurance, JP Morgan Chase, in conversation with Matthew Crabbe, CEO of QA Media.

JP Morgan Chase is revolutionising the way it measures and reports the quality of its software with its AppFit platform. Sean Ghassemi will describe how AppFit is used to guide the enterprise on their journey to mature. Sean will also discuss how best to transition teams to Agile and DeVops, and how to assess quality-related technologies and integrate them into the toolchain.

To open this  session, Matthew Crabbe will introduce research from QA Financial on how financial firms in general are - or are not - embracing the concept and practice of Quality Process Architecture.


“You Build It You Own It”: Embedding QA throughout the CI/CD Pipeline at Capital One

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

Jen will walk through the process of Pre-Approved Releases via Continuous Integration & Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. She will also address the DevOps requirements and KPIs for "You Build It You Own It" (YBYO) with a focus on automated unit, integration, regression, and security testing.


Driving Operational Excellence with QE as a Product Delivery Unit at LSEG

Speaker: Avik Ganguly, Director of Quality Engineering - London Stock Exchange Group

During this session, Avik Ganguly will detail how QE has been established as a product delivery unit within the Yield Book technology products at LSEG. In this session, Avik will guide you through a journey of how his team developed a product that has been quickly adopted by several product units within the business as their data and analytics quality platform. Delegates will learn about how to create a synergy within the organization and empower their developers to maximize innovation through collaboration, shifting quality from an individual team’s responsibility to a broader group responsibility. This session will also highlight and address  some of the operational challenges faced with ever increasing demand for ultra-reliability and faster delivery of products in the industry


Coffee & Networking


Developing Metrics for Value Stream Management at SWBC

Speaker: Brian Pohl, Vice President, Release and Delivery Management - Southwest Business Corporation

In the age of waterfall development Quality Metrics were easily identified; Test Planning, Test Execution, Defect Arrival Rates, Defect Closure Rates and Defect Density come to mind. These are all meaningful metrics but do not carry the same importance in Agile. So, what metrics do you look forward to in Agile or DevOps practices?  We still need to understand quality and automation.  Let’s explore what metrics we should use.


Embedding Regulatory Compliance in the SDLC

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?

Panel Discussion

Peter Tessin, Senior Manager, Business Technology Risk and Compliance - Discover Financial Services

Sejal Patel, Director of Compliance - OppLoans 



Cocktail Reception

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