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Women in WealthTech: Danielle ‘Dani’ Fava of TD Ameritrade Institutional

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Danielle “Dani” 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.

What makes your job special? 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.

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.

What tech area do you most focus on in your job? Wealth management platforms, AI and #VoiceFirst.

What tech are you most bullish on in the short term? I’m the most bullish on AI in the short term. 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.

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How about in the long 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.

What keeps you up at night? Our reliance on social media keeps me up at night. I worry about what society may overlook in our rush to adopt technology, such as the unintended dystopian consequences of social media. I remain optimistic, though; we can manage our way to mitigate the downside.

Which woman do you most admire in the field? I really admire Adena Friedman, the CEO of Nasdaq, for her willingness to experiment and continue learning. I think 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.

What is your go-to source for tech info? I think advisors should follow @Wired on Twitter. They should also follow my new TD Ameritrade handle @DaniFava_TDA!

What is your favorite tech tool on the job? My favorite app at work is Slack. The tools for collaboration are bar none.

And off the clock? Alexa at home. She’s becoming my own personal assistant. I can’t wait to see where Voice-First technology is in five years.