Dani Fava, the former head of innovation for TD Ameritrade Institutional, is now head of strategic development for Envestnet. Her departure comes about seven weeks after the Department of Justice and shareholders approved Charles Schwab’s merger with TD Ameritrade.
The popular speaker and technology expert said she left her prior role a week ago and started at Envestnet on Monday. The conversations that led to the move, though, began during the T3 Advisor Conference, which took place in February in San Diego.
“I presented at that conference and spoke informally with [Envestnet CEO] Bill Crager and Edmond Walters, [CEO of partner firm Apprise Labs],” she said in an interview. “I was getting to know them, and they were getting to know my style and getting to know me as a ‘trend spotter.’”
This in-person contact and subsequent conversations by phone and online led to Wednesday’s announcement of Fava’s hiring.
“Since our establishment 20 years ago, Envestnet has helped advisors stay one step ahead of the ever-evolving wealth management industry,” said Crager, in a statement.
“Dani and the other members of our Strategy Office will work closely with teams across our organization to respond proactively to industry trends, and ensure the needs of advisors and their clients continue to drive the financial wellness network we are building,” he explained.
Envestnet’s headquarters are in Chicago, but the firm has other offices on the East and West coasts. The recently formed strategy group, led by Rich Aneser, is based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.
Aneser — who’s worked at Fidelity, Merrill Lynch, UBS and Lincoln Financial — joined Envestnet in the first quarter and is tasked with building the group. The strategy team is focused on managing innovation across the company, including external partnerships and M&A.
Envestnet’s turnkey asset management platform, technology and other tools are used by some 103,000 advisors and 4,900 companies, including more than 500 of the largest RIAs, U.S. banks, wealth managers and brokerage firms.
Fava’s former employer created the role she had as director of innovation “because they recognized the need to have an open-ended innovation engine within the company,” Fava explained. The job included following trends and creating new products for RIAs.
“Similarly, Envestnet has created this position for me as the head of strategic development,” she said. “But what they’ve also done is create a whole strategy office.”
According to Fava, Envestnet — as it has grown vertically and horizontally over the past two decades — has built an “ecosystem of wealth management.” The firm “has all these pieces and now it’s working to build a strategy office to kind of be the visionary [agent] of transformative change for the future. That’s just music to my ears. … It’s really an exciting position for me.”
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