Wealthfront has named former head of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Sheila Bair, and former currency auditor Thomas Curry to an advisory group created to help the fintech company advance into financial services, CNBC has learned.
Bair is best known for steering the FDIC through the 2008 financial crisis, cracking down on taxpayer bailouts at large banks, and warning about the risks of subprime mortgages. Curry is a former FDIC board member who served as the OCC head from 2012 to 2017.
“Sheila and Tom’s combined banking industry experience will be invaluable to Wealthfront as we continue our efforts to rebuild a new, better way to make money with the customer, not with the bank,” said Andy Rachleff , CEO of Wealthfront, in a statement.
Wealthfront was co-founded in 2008 by Rachleff as one of the earliest robo-advisors or automated wealth managers. This added to fee pressures across the industry. Soon investment giants like Vanguard and Fidelity, as well as brokers like Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase, were offering their own versions of the technology.
Last year, Wealthfront added high yield cash accounts and later stepped up the service with debit cards and direct deposit for paychecks. This was part of a vision for consumer finance that the company is calling “Self-Driving Money”. According to a spokeswoman, the company manages a total of around $ 22 billion.
“I like the way the team thinks outside the box to add value to the client over the long term and the opportunities they face in banking are enormous,” Bair said in a statement. “Technology has tremendous potential to reduce costs and improve service to the banking community. I couldn’t be more excited to help Wealthfront make changes that are long overdue.”