One Month Down: A Discussion With New Ally Invest President Lule Demmissie


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In this episode of Fintech Focus, we spoke with Lule Demmissie, the new president of Ally Invest, Ally Bank’s online trading platform.

Demmissie previously served as Managing Director of Investment at TD Ameritrade before joining Ally Invest in April. Among the topics we discuss are what financial services products need to do to add value to today’s clients, how the business model is evolving, and how she gained the confidence to make a major career change.

Listen to the full interview below to hear more on Demmissie’s ideas.

Here are some highlights:

What Is The Biggest Difference Between Coming From A TD Ameritrade to an Ally?

You know it's interesting, I was joking with my wife, like I've gone from being the major to being a part of a broader picture, right? The reality is that...what Ally understands is, regardless of what's on it's shelf, is that in order to be relevant to an individual's financial picture, that it needs to have a well-rounded base of capabilities and offerings for the client.

From a strategic commitment perspective it's been fabulous being here. So even though, you know Invest and the other sort of advisory products that we have are not necessarily the starring act right now, from a strategic perspective the company appreciates that they have to have a much bigger role in their suite of offerings.

Who is the ideal Ally customer or client?

Who is the ideal Ally customer? That's a trick question because I think it depends. If you're looking at it through the bank's lens, obviously it's an individual that's looking to get a very attractive rate, but also who's nimble in the way that they don't necessarily need to have a physical brick and mortar to engage with their finances. One of the things that I researched before I came is they have Ally lifehack people, these individuals that have figured out banking doesn't need brick and mortar. For the banking side, that's what it is. When Ally bought TradeKing, it had also other types of investors. TradeKing, obviously, was also an active investor shop, an active trader shop.

I think that as invest finds its footprint that, who is the Ally client, we'll become more nuanced. It could still be the person that is looking for ease of use, no footprint necessary, all digitally. But it could very well be also, it's an investor that likes to dabble in the market. That's not necessarily true in the Ally client today.

What advice would you have to anybody who has a chance to make a big leap in their career but maybe, you know, is a little bit scared? You made a big leap in your career.

Yeah. You know, it's kind of unfair for me to measure myself because, you know, I don't know if you know my background but by the time I was 18 I think I grew up on four different continents, right. So disruption of my ... is like ingrained in my upbringing, right. So for me it was more about making sure my family was okay with it. My children were okay with it. My wife was okay with it and less because I was scared. But I think part of this thing I tell people when I'm coaching them is the more leaps of faith you make, the easier it becomes to make the next time. That's kind of what I have an advantage of.

And so I think if you don't make the leap, the way to look at it is, you're forfeiting your ability to grow your skills, your mental framework expansion, your network. I mean there's nothing that expand your network like getting a new job, right. And so it is an expansive act to make the leap of faith. Both in your career as well as in your learning ability.

Posted In: FintechMovers & ShakersSuccess StoriesExclusivesInterviewGeneralAllyAlly InvestFintech FocusFintech Focus PodcastLule Demmissie
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