5 Questions with Bill Parsons

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TIFIN Grow is pleased to welcome Bill Parsons as EVP and General Manager. We’d like to introduce Bill and the deep experience he brings to the fintech, AI, and analytics-led solution space. Below, we invite you to get to know Bill as he answers five questions about his career, the fintech industry, and the best advice he’s received. 

1. You have a robust tenure in fintech. What compelled you to join the team at TIFIN Grow?

Bill Parsons: I was very impressed with innovation and heavy use of data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning applied to a use case that is focused on advisors and usage with clients – not just data science for the sake of it. TIFIN applies data in smart ways to help everyday clients have a hyper-personalized experience – and advisors to be successful with their clients.

When it comes to data, it’s really about what you do with it. Plenty of companies claim to be data-driven but don’t apply it to use cases that can impact the world and every day people trying to solve a difficult problem like getting a handle on their finances and ensuring financial health for their families. I believe the work TIFIN is doing is important work. It impacts humans on the everyday life level and solves big challenges for advisors and end-clients.

2. When it comes to the challenges faced by financial advisors, what do you see as the largest one that technology can potentially solve?

BP: Advisors today have many challenges. I see one of the biggest solutions coming through tech enabling them to offer more personalized advice the way so many industries already do. Many forms of advice today are out of the box, one size fits all, which of course does not work for all clients, especially in an environment of heavy competition from DIY solutions and fee compression.  We’ve all come to expect a personalized experience – whether it be via Amazon, Uber, Etsy and countless other examples – why can’t the same be true for wealth management solutions ?

The proposition TIFIN Grow offers is quite distinctive from other solutions in the market today. By bringing together risk tolerance, micro planning, and financial personality inputs, the platform is able to provide visibility into the specific needs of an individual in a highly personalized and integrated way. Then, by layering an individual’s intrinsic financial motivations through their financial personality, it is really the icing on the cake. You can actually take action on perspectives and bring people’s lifestyles to life through hyper-personalized investment proposals. 

For example, if an investor who’s very focused on green tech or cypto, and blockchain you can create a core plus satellite strategy that matches their risk and planning needs to a traditional model portfolio, but then can be tilted toward specific thematics for a truly customized offering that is relevant to both their needs and preferences.

3. What is one prediction you have for the fintech industry in the next five years?

BP: Fintech has a legacy of nipping at the heels of existing institutions. That’s changing. Today, we see an ever closer collaboration between fintechs and established firms. We’re thrilled to get to partner with some incredible firms with extensive tenure. The marriage between that tenure and cutting-edge technology propels one of TIFIN’s core values: “Making Magic for Users.” I can see that becoming the norm in five years.

I also believe the pace of innovation will double and triple in cadence. What used to happen every 12 months now will happen every two months. I believe in a much greater adoption of data science capabilities embedded in solutions, not only for wealth management firms but within banking and lending. Leading firms have embraced AI and data science in their solutions already, but it will become widely adopted, leading to greater innovations. Clients, especially younger generations, are already embracing highly innovative solutions equal to or greater than some of the legacy players. I see how my children interact with their finances, and their leaning toward technologically innovative solutions is clear.

4. What is some of the best career advice you’ve ever gotten?

BP: I’ve gotten a lot of career advice and some of it is actually the best life advice too. I learned to vary the generations of my friends and colleagues. I have friends in their late 80s to late teens. Having relationships across generations always keeps you fresh, aware, present, alive and alert in the world. I always carry that with me.

Another piece of advice I genuinely believe in is that as leaders, we always have to think two steps ahead. Everybody knows what they want now, but not everybody can define what they want and need beyond that. If you know that next step, it makes it easier. Being able to think, plan, and act with two and three steps in mind helps you understand how goals connect and you can seek to motivate people accordingly. The best performing organizations achieve common alignment in vision, purpose, products, and people. If you get those four things aligned, you’re unstoppable. We’ve all seen organizations that get just some of them, and they stumble. 

5. What is one thing that people may not know about you but you’d like to share?

BP: I come from a very large family of nine brothers and sisters. I was born right in the middle. It’s made me always consider teamwork first and to use collaboration to solve challenges or seize new opportunities. By having a large family, I learned to achieve compromise for the best possible outcome for everyone. It also taught me teamwork, work ethic, the value of family, being present for ones you love in your life and so much more. It really ingrained in me the importance of focus since it’s easy to get distracted with so many people and topics around. You also have to learn sharing and that you only win when the whole team wins – a true one team one dream.

I try to bring that same perspective to the workplace. I aim to listen, and respect that everybody has a relevant point of view. Sometimes your point of view carries the argument, sometimes it doesn’t. But every point should be thoughtfully considered. 

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