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Making Vendor Management a Priority at T. Rowe Price: Interview with John Ingold - Head of Enterprise Vendor Management

 

Starting out his career, John Ingold never thought he’d be working in the profession of vendor management.  As a resident of the Washington DC/Metro area, and a recent graduate from The George Washington University Law School, John saw a career in policy as a natural fit. 

 

Fast forward 10 years later and you’ll now find John heading up the Enterprise Vendor Management department at a global asset management firm, T. Rowe Price.  John was kind enough to spend some time with me to share his insights and perspectives on vendor management, and how he got into the profession in the first place.

 

 

[Tom Rogers]

"How did you get your start in vendor management?"


[John Ingold]

“It’s interesting because I don’t know anyone who really sets out to go into vendor management as a profession.  My exposure started back in 2006 when I was working with a financial services trade association – The Financial Services Roundtable – on technology policy.  Due to a variety of government regulations that affected the association’s members, one of the issues I found myself spending a lot of time on was vendor management.  So much so that I eventually moved into the position of Director of Vendor Management for the association.”

 

 

[Tom Rogers]

"What were your duties in this role?"

 

[John Ingold]

“My role at the association was really focused on helping members deal with all of these new government regulations regarding third party oversight and management.


As background, in 2001 the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued risk management guidance for third party relationships. This guidance established a broader scope for third party risk management than had previously been common and began to draw together risk management and compliance activities that had often been isolated from one another.


When I joined the association in 2006, a lot of their members were still working their way through these regulations and maturing their vendor management activities.  At the same time, other financial regulators were catching up with and building on the OCC’s guidance. My job was to help our members stay abreast of changing regulatory expectations and work together toward some industry best practices that could be employed by firms with different regulatory authorities and different risk appetites."

 

 

[Tom Rogers]

"That’s really interesting because it mirrors the heightened procurement and vendor management regulations impacting other industries like health care and, more recently, nonprofit and other recipients of federal grant funding.  I’m curious, was compliance the only reason for this heightened focus on vendor management by the association’s members?"

 

[John Ingold]
"Regulations definitely got the conversations started, but risk management soon became part of it.  Companies were committed to meeting compliance requirements, but they also saw the value in managing risk to preserve value and protect reputation. Reputation, for both the individual institution and as an industry, is crucial to serving clients well."

 

 

[Tom Rogers]

"Fast forward to your current role as Head of Enterprise Vendor Management at T. Rowe Price. What are your primary responsibilities here?"


[John Ingold]

“As head of the department, I have three primary responsibilities: setting out standards by which the firm will manage its third parties, managing a shared service that performs vendor risk/performance management for some parts of the organization, and managing a governance team that ensures vendor management is being performed in accordance with our standards.”
 

 

[Tom Rogers]

"With so many different stakeholders involved in vendor management at T. Rowe Price, how does your team go about coordinating and collaborating with these folks?"

 

[John Ingold]
“The stakeholders within the individual business units maintain responsibility for operational, strategic, and relationship management of the vendors.  Our job is to support them in being successful, and those efforts are led by the shared service team which is committed to providing the business with actionable risk analysis and recommendations.


The governance team functions as our internal vendor management consultants. They are responsible for making sure those who are responsible for managing vendors are doing their job appropriately. They coordinate with risk and compliance subject matter experts and with stakeholders in business units, helping build capabilities and training those who are responsible, and then governing their work, providing feedback to improve future results.”
 

 

[Tom Rogers]

"In an organization of your size, I’m sure you have hundreds if not thousands of vendors.  How do you determine the level of oversight and management required for each of your vendors?"

 

[John Ingold]

“That’s a good question. The responsibilities for vendor management used to be determined by the business units at their discretion. We’ve shifted away from this approach and are now using a risk based approach that segments vendors into four tiers.  Tier 3 and 4 vendors (lowest risk) are managed in the business units.  Tier 1 and 2 vendors are managed by vendor management professionals in concert with the business units. Different levels of oversight are applied to vendors in each tier, with the riskier engagements and vendors requiring more oversight.”

 

 

[Tom Rogers]

"What are your team’s top priorities over the next 12-24 months?"

 

[John Ingold]
“There are three key priorities our team is working on right now.  They are:

  • Maturing our internal standards to reflect changes in the regulatory and threat environments;

  • Implementing technology to more efficiently and accurately analyze and document risk; and

  • Fully integrate our sourcing lifecycle, from planning through due diligence, vendor selection, contracting, and ongoing monitoring.”

 


[Tom Rogers]

"Would you have any advice for someone interested in vendor management as a profession?"

 

[John Ingold]
“Since vendor management as a profession is still relatively immature, I’d tell them to gain skills and training in complementary areas.  Those with a background in risk management are excellent candidates, as are those with other complementary skills like contract management and security.  With the increased scrutiny and regulations, there is no shortage of ways in for those that are interested in vendor management as a profession."

 


 

 

Tom is Founder & CEO of Vendor Centric, a consulting firm that helps organizations adopt a risk-based approach to vendor management.  Connect with Tom on LinkedIn or drop him a note at trogers@vendorcentric.com.

 

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