Helen Van Ness
Managing Director
Quick facts
18 years Chief Financial Officer experience in the financial services industry
Financially managed cost base of $5.3 billion with cost reduction of 10 percent over three years
Expertise in finance for technology and operations of large complex financial institutions
Merger, integration and divestiture experience
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Today’s finance leaders have an opportunity and a responsibility to move beyond “rearview reporting,” to provide timely insights that help business leaders “see around the corner” to make better, more strategic business decisions.
Helen Van Ness, a Managing Director at A&M, is an accomplished and results-driven financial executive with 18 years of experience as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in the financial services industry. She has extensive experience in developing and executing strategic growth initiatives and cost efficiency, deal and vendor negotiations, financial planning and analysis, reporting and control, and Technology, Operations and Real Estate cost transparency.

Watch: Moving Beyond "Rearview Reporting"

Ms. Van Ness’s recent experience includes:

She was the leader of a complex Operations and Finance remediation project amidst an enterprise-wide transformation to e-commerce, bringing the organization to metrics-based stability and improved operational structure.

As the interim CFO for a newly separated lending company, she focused on ensuring that the separated entity was self-sustaining at the end of the allocated transition period. Under her leadership, the entity selected and implemented a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and put forth a new management team.

For a major financial and market data provider, she advised the executive management team, including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and CFO, by facilitating budget understanding and reviews and rolling out a structured measurement, funding and reporting methodology.   

Her proven execution-focused leadership delivered results on two notable assignments, one for the improvement of a manufacturer’s working capital and another for the optimization and efficiency of a bank’s technology infrastructure.

Prior to joining A&M, Ms. Van Ness served as a Managing Director and CFO of Global Operations, Technology and Data organizations at Morgan Stanley. She was responsible for managing a $5.3 billion cost base across all business divisions. Under her leadership, they reduced costs by 10 percent over three years and total annual cost for the first time. She was integral in understanding and measuring the complex separation and investment costs for the Morgan Stanley–Smith Barney Wealth Management multiyear integration for Technology and Operations.

Ms. Van Ness also served at Credit Suisse as CFO and Director of Technology Infrastructure Services. In this role, she was responsible for global financial management of over $1 billion in annual expenses. This included monthly analysis of direct expenses and business allocations, actual and budget variance analysis, measuring achievement to savings targets, cost / benefit analysis for synergy and convergence business cases, and selective offshoring and outsourcing of infrastructure functions.

In addition, she has served in executive and finance roles at Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Chase Manhattan Bank. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Boston College and is on the board and executive committee for a nonprofit college preparatory high school.