relationship, from delivering personalization at scale in user
experiences to core investing and ongoing oversight,” Burns said.
And longer term? Blockchain.
What tech issue keeps her up at night? “Cybersecurity for
sure, along with keeping up with consumer expectations in
today’s rapidly changing technology landscape,” she explained.
“How do we continue to keep pace with the developments that
are happening across the ecosystem?”
Who does she most admire? Fidelity Investment Chairman
& CEO Abby Johnson. “Not only is she one of the most influential women in business, she’s also instrumental in driving the
pace of innovation,” Burns said.
Great source of information? “The Innovator’s Dilemma”
by Clayton Christensen and “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos
and the Age of Amazon” by Jeff Stone.
Favorite technology? Alexa. “I use it for everything,” she said,
“from turning on my lights to checking the traffic in the morning.”
Pamela R. Ellis
Investment & Banking Solutions Technology
Executive, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch
Ellis’ current work includes the design,
development and strategic fit of technologies that support the Consumer, Small
Business & Wealth Management; Merrill Lynch Wealth
Management; and U.S. Trust businesses. This encompasses
development work on all products, services and solutions for
investments, credit cards, deposits, consumer vehicle lending,
client underwriting, retirement, lending and mortgages.
Prior to joining BofA four years ago, she was the chief information officer for Nationstar Mortgage, as well as Technology
Director at JPMorgan Chase, CIO and COO of Vantium
Capital, and SVP Technology at Lehman Brothers.
“The advisory space is a competitive, dynamic land-
scape…,” said Ellis. “Our platforms aim to enable execution of
business strategy by providing our advisors with the relevant
information and insights that inform richer, more meaningful
According to the BofA executive, “A leading focus area for
us continues to be to increasing advisor productivity by con-
tinuing to enhance our industry leading wealth management
advisory workstation. … Advisors have at their fingertips all
the information needed to serve clients.”
Ellis says she is bullish on tapping the mass-affluent investor
via technology: “The increase in digital and online capabilities
has created an opportunity to leverage the technology of conver-
sational commerce and voice-driven cognitive help and search.”
What long-term trends is she watching? Artificial intelli-
gence and machine-learning automation. “As we explore this,
we have to be continually mindful of our regulatory environ-
ment and our responsibility to protect against bias and unin-
tended consequences to ensure that any utility is conducted in
a responsible way,” the tech exec explained.
Top concern? Information security. “We face an array of threats
and we face new risks every day,” Ellis said, “so it is imperative
that we stay alert, take appropriate actions, and act responsibly.”
Who she most admires? Catherine Bessant, Bank of America
Chief Operations and Technology Officer.
Danielle “Dani” Fava
Director of Innovation, TD Ameritrade
Fava manages technology initiatives that
aim to help simplify the lives of independent RIAs and make them more competitive in a digital age. She led the launch of portfolio rebalancing
technology iRebal and the Model Market Center, which brings
outsourced investment management to RIAs.
The head of innovation joined the firm in 2012 after working for FiServ and Citi. She loves to talk about Big Data, fintech
innovation, artificial intelligence, CrossFit and basketball.
“I’m keeping an eye on emerging technology every day, so
that I can understand how to use it and how it may play a role
in financial services. I want to help RIAs better understand
these technologies and the potential areas of change and disruption, so that they don’t get left behind,” she said.
“I absolutely love what I do: I’m passionate about technology
and its ability to disrupt the status quo, and I believe deeply in
the longevity of the independent advisor model,” Fava added.
What technology is she bullish on in the short term? AI.
“I think we’re still in the implementation phase of AI, with
innovators introducing new use cases. But soon enough, we’ll
move to the adoption phase, and I expect we’ll see AI become
ubiquitous,” she explained.
And longer term? Augmented reality. “As the hardware for
AR gets closer to becoming an everyday wearable, we’re going
to see use cases implemented for things like education, entertainment and personal finance,” Fava said.
What keeps her up at night? “Our reliance on social media.
I worry about what society may overlook in our rush to adopt
technology, such as the unintended dystopian consequences of
social media,” according to the tech expert. “I remain optimistic, though; we can manage our way to mitigate the downside.”
Who does she most admire? Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman
“for her willingness to experiment and continue learning,”
Fava explained. “She’s got great instincts on how technology is
transforming financial services and the markets. People who
are instinctually driven to explore and take risks are inevitably
the most successful.”
Go-to info source? @Wired.
Favorite job app? Slack.
Favorite non-job app? Alexa. “She’s becoming my own personal assistant,” according to Fava. “I can’t wait to see where
Voice-First technology is in five years.”