Tag Archives

2 Articles

Women in Fintech Series: Deanna Oppenheimer

Posted by Editor on
Women in Fintech Series: Deanna Oppenheimer


Breaking Banks and Finextra continue their series of Women in FinTech with the illustrious Deanna Oppenheimer.

Very few have made as big a splash in the financial industry as Deanna Oppenheimer,  Known for having a customer centric vision of banking, and welcoming the new players and innovation in the financial services field, Deanna founded Cameoworks LLC, a retail and financial services advisory firm that helps startups in FinTech find their footing and meet up with the global players that can help make their ideas a reality.   She is uniquely qualified as someone  with an unusual combination of banking, retail, innovation, brand, and communication skills.

From 2005 to 2012, Deanna worked at Barclays PLC, where she transformed the Global Retail and Business Banking divisions.  Initially, her position was chief executive of U.K. Retail and Business Banking, with 30,000 employees serving 15 million customers through contact centers, online and mobile banking and 1700 branches.  In 2009, she became vice chair of Global Retail Banking, sharing best practices across Europe and Africa. In 2010, she added the role of chief executive of Europe Retail and Business Banking, helping to stabilize the business lines during the Euro crisis. Customer satisfaction improved from last-place among U.K. banks to first-place under her leadership.

Previous to Barclays, Deanna was employed, from 1985 to 2005, at Washington Mutual, Inc., the largest savings and loan institution in the U.S.  She was marketing director and, later, president of Consumer Banking, where she helped transform the lender from a regional to a national player. During her tenure, Washington Mutual, Inc. was named Best Retail Bank in the Americas by Lafferty International and Top 40 Store Concepts in the World by Retail Industry Leaders Association.

In 2007, Deanna was named Britain’s Business Communicator of the Year and in October 2010 was voted American Banker magazine’s Second Most Powerful Woman in Banking. Her previous corporate board experiences include non-executive director roles at Catellus, a leading U.S. development company, and Plum Creek Timber, the largest private landowner in the U.S.  In November 2014, Deanna was voted one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s Women of Influence, an annual award given to women leaders who have an enormous impact on the community.

Her non-executive director board roles include Tesco PLC, where she chairs the remuneration committee,  Tesco Bank, AXA Group, NCR Corporation, and The Joshua Green Corporation.  Additionally,  she is a senior advisor to Bain Consulting, Brooks Running,  Anthemis Group and Finsphere.

Deanna lives in Seattle with her husband and they have two adult children. She graduated with honors from the University of Puget Sound in Washington State; she is past chair of trustees for Puget Sound and a recipient of the Ernest T. Stewart National Award for university volunteers.  She also has attended the Executive Education program of the Kellogg School of Management.

Catch Deanna’s interview with Liz Lumley of Finextra on Breaking Banks– Customer Relations: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Women in FinTech: Clare Flynn Levy, founder and CEO of Essentia Analytics

Posted by Editor on
Women in FinTech: Clare Flynn Levy, founder and CEO of Essentia Analytics


If you go to as many conferences as I do in the financial services and technology space (or FinTech for the hashtag friendly) you are used to bumping into the same people over and over again. You are also familiar with looking out into the sea the exhibition hall, and rows of the plenary sessions to be met with a recurring sight. Waves of dark suits worn by middle aged men. It’s financial services, with a tech edge – the alpha males of the alpha male dominated industries – what are ya going to do, right?

But my thoughts have always been, although women as indeed outnumbered in the industry (I just need to look at Finextra’s audience demographics to see that) that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a huge number of smart, hardworking, innovative thinkers in this space – who happen to be female – and aren’t getting the exposure they deserve. Their voices are being drowned out by the waves upon on waves of ‘men in dark suits’. (Who by the way, are wonderful people when you get to know them on an individual basis 😉

I had been chatting with a few people in the industry about doing some sort of ‘Women in FinTech’ series over at Finextra, either as videos or blogs. As luck would have it, Brett King gave me a call a few weeks ago offering a chance to run such a series on his VoiceAmerica Radio Show, Breaking Banks profiling interesting women making waves of their own in the FinTech space. Bring it on, I thought.

Many in this industry harp on about ‘disruption’. Well, in financial services and tech – there is nothing more disruptive than a female voice. So every month in my blog pages, we will be profiling an awesome ‘Woman in FinTech’.

To kick off our first Breaking Banks/Finextra Women in FinTech series, I sat down with Essentia Analytics founder and CEO Clare Fynn Levy. You can listen to the series on Breaking Banks now.

You can read a transcript of the highlights of my interview below or you can listen to the full interview now.

Clare Flynn Levey, CEO and Founder of Essentia Analytics ‘A Fitbit for Fund Managers’

Finextra: For the sake of our audience, what does Essentia Analytics do?

Clare: We make software that helps investment professionals understand their own behaviour patterns so they can see where their strengths and where their weaknesses lie. So they can focus on more of what they are good at and less of what they are not.

The end game is to make more money.

Finextra: What was your lightbulb moment?

Clare: The seeds were planted when I was a fund manager myself. I was a long only tech manager during the internet bubble and then I was long short tech hedge fund manager during the burst of that bubble. It was really fun on the way up, less so on the way down. I went from, everything I touch turns to gold to nothing I do seems to be making a difference and it was really confusing.

I had a strong view on where my competitive advantage lay and yet it wasn’t showing up in the data on my performance. Really what I needed was more date, rather than just a measure of the outcome. I needed to be able to dig deeper into where I was adding value and how I was adding value and whether my investment process was working.

Finextra: How is Essentia Analytics different from other decision support tools?

Clare: Traditional decision support tools monitor data from outside – what other people are doing. We look inward. If your bad habits or lack of self-awareness are causing you to not maximise your own skills or engage in investment decisions that are inefficient, than no amount of outside data will help you.

We look at what aspect of the decision process are adding or destroying value. Why did you make this decision or why did you decide to not buy this particular stock?

A bit like a Fitbit for fund managers.

Finextra: Is fund management behind the curve?

Clare: Yes, I think the enterprise in general has been behind the curve. There hasn’t been a demand from fund management, who work to long term mandates where there hasn’t been a treat. Only recently have we seen a tipping point. For example, there have been some press concerning hedge funds not performing, especially in regards to fees.

Finextra: When will there be a tipping point for behavioural analytics to go mainstream in enterprise environments?

Clare: When actual individuals are being empowered by the data and it is not used as stick to beat them with or to sell advertising. We all have a huge amount of data collected about us and we are not getting the benefit of that data.

This industry is very concerned with compliance. People are frightened about having data collected about then. But they see how it would benefit them, things will change.

Finextra: What surprised you most about becoming an entrepreneur?

Clare: Running a tech start up is an emotional roller-coaster. I was aware of that, but knowing it and loving it are two different things. But there are a lot of high highs, so I am having a lot of fun with it.

People are approaching us, to work with us. It is not just about money. And in the fund management industry that is a change. Money is part of it, but it is about the intellectual challenge. To change the world for the better.

Finextra: What have been your biggest challenges?

Clare: Funding the biz model is harder than we thought it would be – as provider of a software as a service enterprise offering. That early stage fund raising is so different from the investment world I come from. What we are doing that not something that the average generalist will understand. They get the concept, but they can’t related to it.

Finextra: What advice would you give a FinTech start-up?

Clare: The best thing we did was that we started the company with a client on day one. We were ready to go to clients who has an interest in behavioural analytics. They provided us with a certain level of legitimacy from day one.

Upcoming interviews will include Innovate Finance CEO Claire Cockerton and Kitty Parry, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Social Media Charter.

View the official article at Finextra.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email