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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Top Women in WealthTech 2020: Rachel Wilson of Morgan Stanley

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Accomplishment(s): Over the past few years, we have built out a great Wealth Management Cybersecurity team at Morgan Stanley, whose focus is the protection of our financial advisors and our clients from cyber threats.

The team includes cybersecurity experts who worked with me and for me at the National Security Agency. We are also responsible for Financial Advisor and Client cybersecurity education.

How to get more women into WealthTech: There are so many great opportunities for women to be part of Wealth Tech innovation right now, especially in the cybersecurity and fraud prevention space.

With so many new identity and access management and authentication technologies really coming to fruition, the opportunity to build in stronger security while minimizing client friction is huge.

Our view is that we want our clients to be strongly authenticated with us at all times in ways that are seamless and transparent to them, but then we also want to meet them at their level of concern and give them optionality to adopt even stronger security.

Advice for those starting out: The advice that I would give to people starting out in their careers would be to not let fear get in the way of doing the things that scare them most. I received this advice in July 2008 from a woman that I deeply respected.

I was considering taking a new position at the time but I was afraid that I was underqualified and that I would fail. Despite my fear, I followed her advice, took the position that scared me, and it ended up changing the course of my career.

Since then, I’ve passed this advice on to many others and encouraged them to do the thing that scares them whether that’s learning something new, speaking in public, asking for more responsibility, etc. Doing the thing that scares you means keeping an open mind and saying yes to people and to experiences.

I’d also recommend that young technologists invest in their relationships with their peers. We all invest in our relationships with our bosses and with our team members, but those peer relationships are critical and often ignored.

Don’t wait until you need your peers to do something to build a rapport with them.

Sources of insights and inspiration: I find our Wealth Management clients to be a great source of inspiration. When we survey our clients about what they care most about, they tell us that cybersecurity is a top priority.

They have high expectations of us and our ability to reliably protect their assets and their data. This inspires us to constantly advance the state of the art around authentication, data protection and cyber-enabled fraud detection.


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