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Friday, March 9, 2018

The Three Impacts of Fintech, According to a Retired Fundster Chief

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A freshly retired ex-chief of an asset management titan recently joined a Bay Area venture capital shop focused on the financial technology sector. Yet he may take on more new ventures soon, too.

"I'm building a portfolio of activities, some business, some philanthropy," Doug Hodge tells MFWire. "I'm not ready to go into ... permanent retirement."

Hodge, the former Pimco CEO who retired in December, has already added at least one piece to that portfolio: he recently joined San Francisco-based Sway Ventures as a venture partner. Since he's not an operating partner, Hodge notes, the role is not a full-time one, meaning he still has more of that portfolio of activities to flesh out.

Hodge puts his work with Sway in the context of digital technology (specifically artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning) "transforming industry after industry." Yet in financial services, he says, it's "just scratched the surface."

The way Hodge sees it, fintech is affecting financial services in three broad ways: 1) by "redefining the client experience"; 2) changing "how markets operate" and even creating "new marketplaces where financial transactions can take place"; and 3) in risk management.

In asset management in particular, Hodge says, PMs and other fundsters have to figure out how to "extract information or establish relationships from all this historical data that you're trying to manage." And he also sees fintech transforming "how asset managers interface with clients", both institutional and individual.

"The consumption of information is just extraordinary," Hodge says.

An alumnus of both Dartmouth and Harvard Business School, Hodge worked as a bond trader before joining Pimco in 1989 and spending the next 28 years at the company.

"This is a new part of the investment universe for me," Hodge says of fintech. "I've been a bond guy." 

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