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Technology > Investment Platforms

Women in WealthTech: Tricia Rothschild of Morningstar

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Tricia Rothschild is responsible for the product strategy, development and business success of the firm’s global research, software, data, and index solutions, serving asset managers, advisors and wealth managers and individual investors. She previously served as head of global advisor solutions, which serves wealth management and online brokerage clients.

In her 25 years at Morningstar, Rothschild has led aspects of the firm’s business serving individuals, advisors and institutions. She began her career as a closed-end fund analyst and later became the international editor of Morningstar Mutual Funds.

The Certified Financial Analyst was the e-commerce manager of and led the content management for that site for several years. She developed Morningstar’s retirement plan portfolio analytics and reporting services and, from 2003 to 2012, she led the firm’s institutional and retail equity research business.

She is on the board of directors of YCharts, a financial terminal provider, and leads a reverse-mentorship program at Morningstar.

What makes your job special? I oversee an organization that combines the talents of nearly 2,000 developers, designers, product managers, client service teams, marketers and others who deliver software, research and data solutions to investors who count on Morningstar.

What keeps you motivated day in and day out? Morningstar’s commitment to doing the right thing by the end investor, bringing transparency to the marketplace, and continually investing in new data sets and more innovative ways to help investors and the investment community that serves them.

What’s her top job focus? In my role as chief product officer, I focus on leveraging Morningstar’s differentiated and independent data and research views in technology solutions that help asset managers and advisors deliver high-quality investment solutions and financial advice in an efficient manner.

Furthermore, at Morningstar, we serve every part of the value chain in investing with technology from the end investor, to financial advisors to asset managers who are manufacturing financial products. Privacy and security are also top of mind in my role, especially as Morningstar focuses on building more in the cloud.

What are you bullish on in the short term? I see an increasingly important need for data aggregation, specifically as it relates to the multiple functions and use cases for high-quality aggregated data. It’s difficult for most aggregation providers to meet the data-quality levels required to run investment performance.

Morningstar ByAllAccounts uses AI to gather and transform financial account data to meet sophisticated data requirements, including hitting the high-quality standards required for performance reporting, as well as the breadth required to meet the growing demand for advisor and investor personal financial management tools.

Secondly, we’re seeing the benefits of moving our solutions to the cloud, which provides better flexibility, stronger integrations across technology platforms, faster and omni-channel delivery options, etc. This transition is complex but well worthwhile.

What matters longer term? It’s not necessarily just technology that we’re watching, but also data. We really need to focus on how we can use data to ensure our tech-engine is running smoothly.

Investor data, portfolio data, and investment data are three integral types of data that you’ll need to succeed here. By having the right data — and ability to use it well — advisors and asset managers can provide the “Holy Grail” of more personalized advice in an efficient manner.

On the technology front, I’m really interested in voice recognition and the ability to build an interactive financial plan. So true, conversational AI, where I (as an investor) and perhaps my advisor, if I’ve retained one, can talk to each other about my goals and situation, and then an investment plan is automatically generated based on that conversation.

Another trend that I’m excited about are advancements in bringing behavioral finance into practice. The academic research is compelling, and the anecdotes are clear, but the tools are not yet fully developed in a way that incorporates the power of a well-placed and personalized “nudge” into the investment process at the right moment in order to have impact. We will know we have succeeded on this front when the gap between investment returns and investor returns narrows.

What keeps you up at night?  Issues related to the use of investor data.

Great financial advice requires a combination of good investment data, good portfolio analytics, and high-quality (relevant, personalized, intuitive and efficient) investor data. Investor data is a relatively new data set, and we need to hold ourselves to high standards in the industry for how to collect and use this data.

There is a lot of potential for better investment outcomes if we harness the power of the investor’s data (including behavioral triggers and tendencies) so that both financial advisors and self-directed investors can ensure that they are making the best possible decisions for any given situation.

Who do you admire? Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman. Her personal story is compelling and inspirational, and the role of the exchanges in our industry — particularly as we think about the intersection of public and private markets, fee pressures and data access issues — makes Adena’s role a particularly important and influential one.

Go-to info source on tech? I enjoy following Michael Kitces. He is a prolific contributor to industry debates, focuses on what’s best for investors, and provides insight into both investment-specific issues and industry trends.

Favorite on-the-job tech tool? Hands down, it’s Zoom, which is a video communications platform that Morningstar adopted firm-wide about three months ago. It has changed the way we communicate with our colleagues and allows us to better leverage our globally distributed development teams.

The personal relationship that comes from just a quick video conference (versus an audio one) is so valuable. And it helps people focus more in group meetings when you know that everyone can see you!

Off-the-job favorite app? I love, love, love my Starbucks app. I only wish it also picked up airport locations, so I could grab a cup of joe more quickly en route to my flight!


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