WealthConductor CEO Sheryl O’Connor was recently interviewed by Nicole Casperson of InvestmentNews to talk about the genesis of IncomeConductor and the value it brings to advisors. Sheryl also spoke about her personal experiences as a female founder in the fintech industry, and how the industry can make improvements in supporting female-led start-ups.
Some highlights from the discussion are below:
InvestmentNews: Why did you develop IncomeConductor and how does the platform work?
Sheryl O’Connor: When it comes to distributing a clients’ savings and retirement, advisers have been using a strategy that is decades old. Think about everything else in technology and even throughout society: Do we still use the tactics that we used back in the 1970s in 2020?
That’s what’s happening in financial services. That strategy is basically called systematic withdrawal, which is like the 4% rule supported by Monte Carlo testing. What that gives the retiree is a probability of success. To understand how crazy that is, imagine getting on a plane and having the captain come over the loudspeaker and say: ‘Settle in, buckle up, we have a 78% probability of reaching our destination today.’ That’s what financial advisers have told retirees going into retirement.
IN: How is the diversity landscape, from your view, of female CEOs in fintech? Where can the industry make improvements?
SO: I’ve had experience working in the financial services for more than 20 years, it’s been a very male-dominated industry, sort of like engineering. For example, my daughter’s an engineer — and she’s been told that she only got the job because she was a woman, that she only got a National Science Foundation grant, which is really hard to get, because she was a woman.
Technology firms need to ensure that they have really fair and gender-blind hiring practices. Too often you hear, when people talk about technology, it’s just assumed that there are going to be men developing software and not women. Moreover, I think firms have to be very transparent about their diversity stats and their policies around equal pay.
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