A remarkable test case for the concept of “Business Must Lead.”
The theme of this year’s Shift Forum is “Business must lead.” The phrase is simple, but the ideas behind it are complicated: How might business actually take a larger, more positive role in the public sphere? Just in time for next week’s event comes a perfect example of “business leading” thinking — in the form of a column from Andrew Ross Sorkin.
In the piece, Sorkin acknowledges that our policymakers and politicians have utterly failed to execute their duties when it comes to gun control. A strong majority of Americans believe that sale of assault weaponry should be limited or banned, but the brute force of NRA money has stopped sensible legislation from moving forward. So how could business step in and lead? Sorkin argues that banks could ban the processing of transactions related to assault weapons — just as they already have with cryptocurrencies. In the case of bitcoin and its peers, banks claim they are protecting their customers from potential harm. And what could be more harmful to customers than, well…death?
The largest public investment platform decided to build its technology in house. It actually worked out.
Neesha Hathi is EVP, Investor Services Strategy, Segments and Platforms, at Charles Schwab. That’s a long title for a short job description: Haathi runs Schwab’s platform, the technology millions use to manage their investing experience. In this talk from earlier this year at Shift Forum, Haathi explains how Schwab thinks about innovation. The answers may surprise you.
Neesha Hathi: I’m really excited to come and share a little bit about what we’ve been doing at Schwab. I’ve been in the Bay area since 2000 or so.
A conversation with Adena Friedman, the new CEO of Nasdaq
Just one month into her tenure as the new CEO of Nasdaq, Adena Friedman stopped by NewCo Shift Forum to talk about politics, regulation, fintech competition, and the prospects for technology-related IPOs.
The first woman to ever run a major stock exchange, Friedman demonstrated a nuanced and politic touch, traits that will serve her well in the uncertain times of an early Trump administration. Watch the entire interview below, or read the transcript below, which has been edited for clarity.
Mike Cagney, founder and CEO of SoFi, on his ambitions to get bigger (and better) than the Too Big To Fail Banks
Mike Cagney, the CEO of financial services startup SoFi, does not lack for confidence. But then again, confidence is what you need to raise billions of dollars and take on some of the largest and most powerful companies in the world — global financial giants like Chase, Citi, and Bank of America. To get there, Cagney’s got a pretty clever playbook: He’s partnering with those same banks, who buy the loans he originates and profit from SoFi’s unique skill at acquiring new customers.
CMO Jonathan Craig on Schwab culture, philosophy, and staying ahead of fintech competitors
Charles Schwab may be forty years old, but its founding ethos of industry disruption remains central to its mission, according to Jonathan Craig, Schwab’s CMO. In a wide ranging interview, Craig covers how the company continues to focus on cutting cost from the financial services industry, how it competes with nimble “fintech” competitors, and how to bring trust back to a sector badly damaged by its own failings during the Great Recession of 2008–2009.
Mid-2014 was a time of transformational change for Charles Schwab, the brokerage giant. The financial services industry was changing under their feet, and a batch of robo-advisor startups like Betterment and Wealthfront were starting to crop up. They set out to disrupt established firms by using technology to automate investment decisions, and provide a user experience that was as frictionlesss as ordering an Uber.
The writing was on the wall. According to Neesha Hathi, who at the time was COO of Performance Technologies, Schwab needed “a modern approach to financial planning and wealth management that mirrors what today’s consumers have come to expect in other aspects of their lives. How they invest should be no exception.”
Just over a week ago, on January 1st 2017, Adena Friedman officially became the CEO of Nasdaq after climbing the ranks through the company for over 20 years. Most know Nasdaq as one of the largest stock exchanges in the world, but it’s also a diversified communications and information services company (check out this interview with Vice Chair Bruce Aust for more).
Friedman started as an intern with the company, and rose quickly to a number of different responsibilities, including serving as the head of the data products division, head of corporate strategy, and Chief Financial Officer. In 2011, she took a three year stint as CFO and Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, before returning to Nasdaq as its President and COO in 2014.
In 2015, I wrote a blog post about how I thought that Bitcoin was similar in many ways to the Internet. The metaphor that I used was that Bitcoin was like email — the first killer app — and that the Bitcoin Blockchain was like The Internet — the infrastructure that was deployed to support it but that could be used for so many other things. I suggested that The Blockchain was to finance and law what the Internet was to media and advertising.