3 Questions with Dan Sachar of Ladenburg Thalmann

Ladenburg Thalmann

FinTekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column 3 Questions. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Dan Sachar, VP of Enterprise Innovation & Head of Ladenburg Innovation Lab at Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc., a NYSE-listed company with over 4,300 financial advisors and client assets exceeding $166 billion.

NAME:  Dan Sachar
TITLE:  Vice President of Enterprise Innovation and Head of Ladenburg Innovation Lab
COMPANY: Ladenburg Thalmann
WEB ADDRESS:  www.ladenburg.com

What areas of fintech do you believe will grow the most in the coming 5 years?

Tools that enable the delivery of financial advice to users who aren’t being widely served by traditional solutions will be among the fastest growing areas in the fin tech space.

For instance, there are many investors in the US that either haven’t accumulated enough in total assets, or face sufficient life and career complexity yet to require working with financial advisors on an ongoing basis.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t on a solid forward trajectory.  These investors can benefit from technology-enabled tools that help them build healthy financial habits and plan ahead.

There’s also a large population of first generation immigrants who have already accumulated a significant level of net worth, but who don’t speak English as a first language, and therefore face language barriers that impede their ability to access professional financial advice.  Technology solutions that directly help non-English speakers access financial advice should grow rapidly over the next five years as well.

What do you believe the next major innovation in financial technology will be and why?

The most exciting thing about fintech right now is that entrepreneurs are being so innovative in re-imagining many of the core fundamentals of how financial services are delivered and consumed.  This also makes it impossible to predict any single ”next big thing.”

I think it’s more productive to take a step back and see what kinds of financial technologies are tapping into macro-demographic trends.  As just one example, the country’s workforce is increasingly influenced by the “gig economy” and will have a greater proportion of freelancers. Who is going to manage their retirement accounts or deliver other services that are more typically available in a full-time setting? We will see many innovations in this area.

I’m also very curious to see where blockchain technology could really re-define how users manage their information and receive financial products and services. I’m talking not so much cryptocurrency, as about the underlying technology itself.  The potential is quite transformative, but it has barely begun from where we stand today.

What are the biggest problems facing the fintech industry in the future?

Adoption, adoption and adoption. There are many exciting fin tech tools and technologies that rely on a B-to-B distribution model, and will need the industry to adopt them more widely in order for these innovations to be realized.

The challenge is that these innovations often displace very entrenched technologies, systems, and ecosystems. Even if the new technology could generate significant efficiencies, it’s very challenging to adopt something that would potentially disrupt a system built up over many years.

Solving the adoption challenge is an existential one not only for fintech companies, but for traditional financial services companies that need the innovations delivered by the fintech world to grow efficiently.  Therefore, the best way for any company to approach fin tech adoption should be on the basis of a comprehensive innovation growth strategy that doesn’t worship new tools for their own sake, but places them within a broader blueprint for long-term success.