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Women in WealthTech: Sunayna Tuteja of TD Ameritrade

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With TD Ameritrade since 2014 (after 10 years with TD Bank), Sunayna Tuteja has focused on building new ventures from scratch and “leading change that is critical to shaping the future of business,” according to the firm. She leads a team building next-generation products, experiences and business models that can “break down barriers to investing and engage more people in their financial futures.”

The technology executive also is head of strategy and commercialization for disruptive technologies like AI, blockchain, smart interfaces and virtual reality. Her team has delivered industry-first partnerships and products with Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Apple.

A designated Certified Financial Planner, Tuteja is pursuing a law degree at Stanford and works with the school’s Innovation Lab to support technology advancement.

“My team is driven … by the question: How do we continuously break down the barriers that persist in financial services? By removing points of friction, we strive to make the markets more accessible,” she explained.

“Ultimately, our goal is for consumers to invest with more confidence and feel empowered to take charge of their financial success — whether they are retail investors or RIAs and their clients. When technology is deployed in the right way, it can accelerate meaningful education and engagement in the capital markets,” Tuteja said.

What tech areas do you most focus on in your job? Cybersecurity is always top of mind, as is our emphasis on making investors’ lives easier by making their experience more seamless.

Much of my focus is on giving clients access to education and experts through different platforms such as Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa and WeChat.

What technology are you most bullish on in the short term? I’m excited about the possibilities that can result from harnessing the collective power of AI, machine learning, automation and messaging platforms in order to make accessing the markets better, faster and smarter.

And longer term? Frictionless and untethered experiences powered by speech and audio, which we’re now starting to see thanks to recent breakthroughs in machine learning.

What keeps you up at night? The velocity and variety of new technology is both exhilarating and dizzying, so what keeps me up at night is the question: Are we staying on top of what’s new and problem solving to make sure we have the most positive and productive impact?

Which woman do you most admire in the field? Today’s women in finance truly stand on the shoulders of the giants that came before us in our industry.

I’m inspired to see women taking more substantial roles in the areas of blockchain and crypto, such as Elizabeth Stark and Linda Xie. (Stark is a co-founder of Lightning Labs and a fellow at Coin Center; Xie is a co-founder and managing director of Scalar Capital.)

Go-to tech info sources? My staples are Techmeme as a ride-home podcast and the blog Stratechery to keep me both informed and engaged. Curated lists on Twitter help fill in the gaps between the blogs and podcasts I follow.

Favorite app or tech tool for your job? Slack is a valuable tool for my team to remain in touch, share information, and collaborate on our projects.

Off the clock? Currently I am spending more time than I should on Discord, the messaging app for gaming, and on CryptoKitties, one of the first blockchain games.