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Ally Invest's President On Inclusivity, Democratized Investing: 'Share The Burden'

Ally Invest's President On Inclusivity, Democratized Investing: 'Share The Burden'

Alongside the spread of the coronavirus, markets experienced one of the worst liquidations in history, businesses shut down and millions were laid off. 

As the global economy emerges from the lockdown restrictions put in place during the virus, trade tensions and societal unrest have erupted, adding additional dynamics and complexity to the recovery.

In light of the recent developments, Lule Demmissie, president of Ally Financial Inc (NYSE: ALLY)-owned Ally Invest spoke with Benzinga regarding her organization’s approach to inclusivity and financial wellness in a tumultuous market.

Customer Accommodation

“It wasn’t enough that there was a pandemic, but then you follow with social unrest.”

The recent events were a shock to the entire financial industry, including Ally, she said.

“We figured out ways to ease the burden,” Demmissie said. “We, as a company, knew the things we were doing would hurt us financially, but felt it was important to share the burden with our customers.”

In response to the crisis, Ally extended forbearance agreements, added extensions on loans and eliminated barriers to accessing funds.

On the investing front, Demmissie said Ally worked feverishly on self-directed and automated innovations, education and investor awareness.

“Our value proposition, in general, is very attractive for people who are fee-sensitive and want to be able to access the marketplace,” she said. “We’re also teaching people that crisis can often be an opportunity to rebuild.”

Financial Guidance

“We amped up, from an investment perspective, our voice in the marketplace around what it means to invest, how to be opportunistic about investing even though we’re in hard times and how you think about risk,” Demmissie said.

A key driver behind Ally’s financial guidance initiatives is CIO Lindsey Bell, who establishes investment points of view and empowers users to better understand the market environment.

“Bell was really proactive in having our personalized voice in the marketplace,” Demmissie said. “We really wanted to make sure that the investor felt like Ally was talking to them and Ally was putting its name behind some of the insights it gave.”

The company also held a digital conference, expanding on Bell’s efforts to inform and calm investors during the volatility. The strategies worked, increasing engagement in investing, especially among millennials, said Demmissie.

Navigating Inequality, Democratizing Finance

“No one institution will be able to fix systemic economic inequality,” said Demmissie. “What’s top of mind for Ally as an institution is product design, how we hire, who we mentor, and what communities we invest in.”

Ally’s work in the space of financial engagement and low-cost wealth management has empowered all demographics, especially younger, underrepresented communities, she said.

The company is working on engaging users in new concepts, such as the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement, as well as fractional and automated investing.

“FIRE is a fantastic platform, a radical idea of drastically reducing our footprint.”

Ally Invest President Lule Demmissie. Courtesy photo.


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