Meet Jane Barratt: a long-time champion of financial strength.
Barratt is Chief Advocacy Officer of MX where she works with government, regulatory bodies, financial institutions and industry groups to ensure people have secure access to their financial data.
Much of Barratt’s career has shown a spotlight on the financial wellness — or lack thereof — among consumers. Financial wellness is a source of anxiety for even well-off Americans. 59% of Americans with full-time jobs report that money matters are their number one source of stress, greater than job worries, relationships, or health concerns. Americans also have difficulty saving money. Just 42% percent of Americans have at least $1,000 saved, and this number is getting worse over time. Five years ago, 48% had saved $1,000.
Barratt also advocates for customer control of data as a step toward financial security. In a recent report, MX noted, “Consumer data has traditionally been used primarily to sell more stuff at enormous profits for the ‘platforms’ who sell this data. The future is coming where consumers could and should own and control the asset that is their personal data.” Examples of this are consumers selling shopping data in exchange for deals from merchants, using bots to negotiate prices with other bots, and searching for better or more relevant deals.
Barratt and MX are empowering the world to be financially strong via data driven partnerships with banks, credit unions and fintechs.
Tell us more about what you do and how you moved into your space.
Having spent 20 years in the marketing world, I truly understand the buttons that are pushed that get people to part ways with their money. I switched into the financial services world to help people move their financial lives forward in a world determined to have them spend every dime. Building experiences and using data to improve financial outcomes vs just sell more product.
I’ve also spent many years as a financial educator here on LinkedIn– the feedback I get every day from people all over the world inspires me to do better.
What role do you play in the tech ecosystem and why is that role important?
Advocacy is somewhat of a new role – especially in financial services. Advocating for positive financial outcomes for people (i.e. the end customer) is not about optimizing a customer experience. Rather, it’s working with the whole ecosystem to reduce barriers and implement approaches that are win-win for both organizations and the people who trust them with their finances. This includes collaborating with regulators and lawmakers, with industry working groups, and with financial institutions themselves.
How has technology impacted your industry and why is this important?
Technology has always been a huge part of financial services. Digital innovation over the past 10 years has fundamentally changed expectations of people of all ages. As an industry, financial services has an enormous opportunity to close that expectation gap – starting with using technology to advocate for customers.
What do you believe is the most exciting tech trend for 2019 (as it relates to your industry)?
One of the great things about technology is that even though the tools are always changing –the real trends take longer to emerge. The current move towards open banking and secure data sharing is the foundation for what could be a huge shift in how data is used. Currently, data across industries is used mostly to optimize products and sell people more stuff. And we are really good at it – as credit card balances show. A longer term trend is the emerging field of ‘data as currency’– where people can truly generate value from their own data. This is a trend that that financial services industry can take the lead on.
What advice would you give for someone who wants to get into your space?
Be curious, have a point of view, own something where you can be an expert, and be clear about your personal north star – what is the change that you want to see in your industry or the world, and dedicate time there.