Meet The 6 Experts Judging The Future Of Financial Technology
Benzinga is hosting its first annual fintech awards competition to discover the most innovative and forward-thinking companies in the financial, technology and media industries.
With more than $1 million available in prizes for companies that enter, the Benzinga Fintech Awards will pick winners for categories like "best financial app" and "best stock research tools."
Think you know about or are a part of a company that's changing the future of fintech? Enter the competition here!
Benzinga has brought together six experts in the areas of finance, markets, entrepreneurship and startups. Here’s a look at who will be picking the competition’s winners:
Ron Insana (@rinsana)
Senior Analyst, CNBC
Financial Industry Expert
Ron Insana has been a respected financial industry pundit for almost three decades. He’s worked as a business journalist for CNBC and MSNBC, and his high-profile interviews include former President Bill Clinton, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.
He’s also the author of four books about Wall Street. He told Benzinga he’s interested to see how financial technology affects investment advisory services.
“I think it’s going to have a rather substantial impact from the big investment businesses down to the single investment advisor,” he said.
He’s also excited to see what fintech companies are doing and how they’re doing it.
Steve Ehrlich (@Ehrls15)
Chief Financial Officer, Honos Financial
Steve Ehrlich has also served as the CEO of Lightspeed Financial and E*TRADE Professional Trading. He has spent more than 25 years working in the finance industry, starting with his work as a manager at BDO Seidman.
Ehrlich told Benzinga he’s very intrigued by the financial technology space.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I’m looking forward to see a bunch of up-and-coming fintech companies that really can change the industry.”
Josh Brown (@ReformedBroker)
Chief Executive Officer, Ritholtz Wealth Management
In addition to his role as a New York City-based investment adviser representative, Josh Brown is also one of the most prominent bloggers in the financial space.
After the financial crisis of 2008, Brown left the traditional brokerage model and started his blog, “The Reformed Broker.”
He told Benzinga that as an industry practitioner, technology is a top priority these days.
“I learned a long time ago never to dismiss new entrants to the field just because they were doing things in a non-traditional way,” he said.
For Brown, the “killer” piece of technology to emerge out of fintech would be something that adds more time to an advisors’ day, not one that demands more of it.
Andrew Ackerman (@andrewackerman)
Managing Director, DreamIt New York
Andrew Ackerman is a self-proclaimed “recovering consultant turned serial entrepreneur, startup mentor and angel investor.”
He started his career two decades ago as a consultant for Booz & Company. Since then, he’s been the founding CEO of Layercake.com, COO and head of product at Bunk1 and a contributing writer to AlleyWatch.com.
Ackerman told Benzinga that his first introduction to fintech was when he worked at Bunk1.
“I naively tried to figure out why I was not getting that great of a rate that my merchant account provider had promised me,” he said. “So much of this sector is unnecessarily complex and stacked against the entrepreneur or consumer, but that is all starting to change.”
Kyle Bazzy (@krbazzy)
President, Marketfy & Benzinga
Before Kyle Bazzy joined Benzinga in 2011, he worked as an executive at a private equity firm. He led the creation of Marketfy almost three years ago.
He said he deeply believes there’s better ways to help people take control of their financial future, which is why the fintech awards competition was started.
Bazzy said that at the end of the day, it’s not about the votes or awards.
“It’s about pushing the limits and changing the status quo,” he said. “This is the inherit nature of the entrepreneurs behinds these companies. This is what drives us to do this day in and day out.”
Charlie Kroll (@CharlieKroll)
Former CEO/Founder, Andera
Charlie Kroll is the founder and former CEO of his own fintech company, Andera, which was acquired by Bottomline Technologies earlier this year.
He is deeply involved in the entrepreneurial community, serving as a founding board member of Venture for America, chair of the Brown University Entrepreneurship Program and an advisor to a number of startups.
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