Exciting Time for Financial Technology

10/08/2013 6:00 am EST

Focus: TECHNOLOGY

Bill Harris

CEO, Personal Capital

Founder and CEO of Personal Capital, Bill Harris, discusses money, the last bastion to move to digital.

SPEAKER:  Hi, thanks for joining us.  My guest today is Bill Harris.  Hi Bill, and thank you for coming by. 

BILL HARRIS:  My pleasure. 

SPEAKER:  It's good to see you. 

BILL HARRIS:  Yes. 

SPEAKER:  Now, you've had an interesting history with PayPal and Intuit, and you've done a lot of things with technology in the financial arena. 

BILL HARRIS:  Yes. 

SPEAKER:  And do you still see that evolving at a very rapid pace? 

BILL HARRIS:  Oh, completely.  I think it's the most exciting time to be involved in what I've been doing for the past 20 years, which is financial technology.  Why?  It's not because the technology we have today is so much different.  It's because it is so much better adopted.  Just about everybody, just about every affluent household in the country today has a smart phone, many of them have iPads, and they're using those things to manage most of what they do in life.  People don't go to Sears anymore, they go to Amazon.  They don't go to the travel agent, they go to Expedia, and the frustrating thing is that your money, which should be digital, should be electronic, is sort of the last bastion of the wave to move to digital technologies.  We're trying very hard, many people are trying very hard.  

SPEAKER:  And I think one of the very frustrating things for people too is that there's so much stuff available out there on the web.  There's a web site for this and you can put your portfolio up there.  Then there's a web site to get research over here, and then there's a web site that talks about 401(k)s, and the average person just doesn't know what to do. 

BILL HARRIS:  Well, it's fascinating because one of the reasons that I founded Personal Capital is exactly that realization.  Having spent many years of my life building some of these point solutions for various financial tasks, it finally dawned on me the biggest problem that most affluent households have is chaos. 

SPEAKER:  Exactly. 

BILL HARRIS:  Their accounts and their money are scattered, all sorts of different financial institutions, accounts, different web sites, different, and so being able to bring it all together I think using digital technology to do that hopefully can help re-integrate people with their money. 

SPEAKER:  Now, in terms of the actual technology, you said that it's not like it's not new cutting edge stuff that's just happened around the bend, but like if somebody wanted to invest in just the technology end of it, what kind of companies would they be looking at? 

BILL HARRIS:  Well, I think on the financial side there really aren't public companies that are doing sort of the leading edge stuff. 

SPEAKER:  Yet. 

BILL HARRIS:  Yet.  The public companies that I think are closest to doing that are people like Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, people like that. 

SPEAKER:  Okay. 

BILL HARRIS:  Most of the people such as Personal Capital who are building completely new and digital ways to manage your money remain private, often venture-backed companies. 

SPEAKER:  Right.  Okay, super.  Thanks for joining me. 

BILL HARRIS:  You bet. 

SPEAKER:  And thanks for being with us on the MoneyShow.com video network.

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