What Is FinTech? with Dani Fava, Episode #21

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Today’s guest on Mitlin Money Mindset™ is Dani Fava. As the Head of Strategic Development, Dani works closely with Envestnet, Inc.’s business, product, and client-facing teams to advance and accelerate the firm’s strategic vision. Dani draws on more than 15 years of wealth management and technology experience to identify and prioritize transformative opportunities for enabling financial advisors to provide essential advice in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Dani was also responsible for launching TD Ameritrade’s voice-first capabilities, which deploy conversational AI for communicating with advisors. She was named to the 2020 IA25 by ThinkAdvisor, which also honored her as one of the Top Women in WealthTech for 2019.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • A career move and what Dani is set to accomplish. [2:46]
  • What are some of the biggest changes coming down the pike? [5:28]
  • How do you see changes in technology changing the overall client experience? [8:52]
  • How expectations have changed and why we can never go back [12:48]
  • Is there any way to forecast what technologies will and won’t stick around? [15:36]
  • Is there a place to stay up to date on tech advancements? [18:36]
  • Being a woman in TWO male-dominated fields [20:52]
  • What Dani did today that put him/her in the right mindset for success? [24:56]

The democratization of investing is headed for mainstream investing.

I asked Dani what are some of the biggest changes coming in the next few years that clients may look forward to and expect to see coming down the pike for them? She said if I asked her this question once a month, she will probably have a different answer every time I ask. Today, she’s enthusiastic about democratization or de-centralization of investing. It is kind of like the democratization of ownership.

One of the things she’s following is these types of new asset classes that are on the rise, where individuals can invest in things that they otherwise, or beforehand, could not have invested in. Apps like Rally Rd are democratizing ownership of rare, valuable assets. You can go onto Rally and buy a piece of a rare asset such as a car or even a piece of the Staple Center floor where Kobe Bryant played his last game. That is something that taps into your individuality and personal tastes. Dani said she likes being able to democratize or decentralize investments like that. These sort of new and cool ways to invest in differentiated asset classes is something that she’s ecstatic about and thinks we’ll start to see become more mainstream in the future.

How our expectations have changed and why we can never go back.

I feel that the pandemic pushed technology to the forefront because we needed to have a method to work with clients during those times that we could not meet. There has to be something that keeps them connected to us. Podcasts, emails, zoom calls, webinars… there are so many different methods of staying connected. It’s not going to be enough to only have that annual review meeting with a client anymore. It’s just not going to work.

Dani says the expectations have changed so much she believes that we’re never going back to the way things used to be. Now that clients know they don’t have to come to the office where they have the commuting time and have to find a parking spot, that they can have that same interaction from the comfort of their own home. They’re not going back to the way things used to be. Especially with this type of relationship, once the mind expands, it can never go back. We now know that we can sort of co-create, we can screen share, we can work together over video. It would have to be a very interesting kind of twist to get me to come back into someone’s office.

What about you? Have you walked through a one-way tech door or are you longing to go back to the way things were?

What’s it like being a woman in two male-dominated fields

Dani is a woman working in a typically male-dominated field. When I asked her how she’s felt and her experience this is what she said “I have a double whammy in the industries of technology and financial services. AND I’m a woman. I’m a Hispanic woman. I’m a member of the LGBTQ community. I have a lot of things kind of stirring around there and I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s been difficult. There’s been a lot to overcome and there are always challenges and it really never goes away. There’s a lot to learn and I’m very appreciative of advocates like yourself who have been fantastic pillars for me inside of the industry. But I’ll tell you, it’s so prevalent it’s hard to even go a day without hearing or experiencing something that just makes me feel like an outsider.”

Dani did say there is a difference between now and 15 years ago where she had to hide certain parts of herself and her life. Whether it be her Hispanic origin or sexual orientation, she had to hide a lot of that in the past. She no longer feels that at all. She does feel now that the adversaries who make you feel out of place are quickly becoming the minority

Please note that returns from some alternative investments involve a high degree of risk and you may lose all or a portion of your investment. Rally Rd and Fund Rise are not endorsed by CWM, LLC

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Dani Fava

As Head of Strategic Development, Dani works closely with Envestnet, Inc.’s business, product, and client-facing teams to advance and accelerate the firm’s strategic vision. Dani is part of Envestnet’s newly created Strategy Office, which manages strategic development, engagement, and planning across the Envestnet organization to help advisors make financial wellness a reality for more people.

Dani draws on more than 15 years of wealth management and technology experience to identify and prioritize transformative opportunities for enabling financial advisors to provide essential advice in a rapidly evolving marketplace. She most recently served as Director of Institutional Innovation at TD Ameritrade Institutional, where she managed the launch of the iRebal portfolio rebalancing solution on the Veo platform, as well as the rollout of the Model Market Center, an innovative approach to bringing outsourced investment management capabilities to RIAs.

Dani was also responsible for launching TD Ameritrade’s voice-first capabilities, which deploy conversational AI for communicating with advisors. Prior to joining TD Ameritrade in 2012, Dani was a Senior Product Manager and Strategist at Fiserv.

Dani was named to the 2020 IA25 by ThinkAdvisor, which also honored her as one of the Top Women in WealthTech for 2019. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Wagner College and has a wide variety of interests, ranging from big data and fintech startups to basketball and CrossFit.

Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest’s content linked on this site.

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