Britt Technology Impact Series

Digital Fortunes: How the Blockchain, Internet of Things, and Peer Lending are Transforming FS

May 18, 2016 • General Motors Classroom • Tuck School of Business


Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

The 2015-16 Britt Technology Impact Series is exploring digital transformation and the evolution and emergence of digital business models. This event focused on the growing influence of digital technologies on the financial services industry.

Technology is rapidly changing the face of financial services.  From the consumers’ perspective, the way someone learns about, applies for, and manages a financial account is moving to the digital world.  This trend is holding for more complex financial products, like mortgages and financial advisory services, which just a few short years ago seemed insulated from the industry’s digital evolution.  Behind the scenes, firms are scrambling to find and implement the best analytics to reduce fraud, improve underwriting, and to understand consumer behavior so they can better serve the needs of their customers.  Established firms must navigate this changing landscape amidst heavy regulation, large internal bureaucracies, and complicated legacy systems – all while facing increasing competition from FinTech upstarts.

As the industry grapples with these changes, large firms must decide where to build, buy, or borrow new technologies and strategies to propel them into the digital age.  Meanwhile, FinTech startups must find ways to scale their businesses without running head first into the challenges that plague the industry; the very same challenges that jumpstarted the latest wave of innovation.  As we think through these changing landscapes, we explored questions such as:

  • How do new sources of data (enabled by digital technology) impact financial services? Are data enabling new business models? Are data altering existing understanding of risk?
  • How is digital technology affecting customer experience in the financial services sector? Are firms thinking differently about how they engage with customers because of technology?
  • How are financial services firms augmenting their service offerings to meet changing customer demands? What adjacent products and services are firms offering to better serve their customers?
  • What new technologies on the horizon will have the biggest impact on financial services?  How can financial services companies harness this new technology?
  • How can are established financial services companies use labs and incubators to keep on top of technology trends?  What is working?  Where have you identified shortcomings?
  • Where do you see opportunities for established financial services firms to collaborate with FinTech startups?  What are the risks?
  • Is FinTech here to stay or is it just a fad resulting from relaxed access to capital over recent years?


Alex Burgess T’09
Director of Customer Experience Design
Liberty Mutual Insurance

Alex is Director of Customer Experience Design within Consumer Markets at Liberty Mutual. He focuses on developing an end-to-end set of experiences that drive satisfaction and retention, incorporating elements of personalization, omnichannel flexibility, and proactive communication. Before Liberty Mutual, he spent nearly 6 years at L.E.K. Consulting, where he supported retail, consumer products, and airline clients in a variety of strategic issues, including loyalty program development, growth strategy, and M&A advisory. He graduated from the Tuck School of Business in 2009, and has a B.A. in International Studies from Colby College.


John Burnett T’09
Vice President, Global Strategy
Emerging Technologies at State Street

John Burnett is part of State Street’s Emerging Technologies Center. The Emerging Technologies Center was formed to identify, evaluate, and prototype emerging technologies in the financial landscape. Specifically, Mr. Burnett is currently leading the effort to explore the potential application of distributed ledger technology, such as the Blockchain, across various areas of the organization.

Before joining State Street, Mr. Burnett was with American Express in the Enterprise Growth Group where he was primarily focused on emerging technologies and trends in the marketplace. Prior to American Express, he was a management consultant focused on providing strategic recommendations to various Fortune 500 Financial Services companies.

Mr. Burnett holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business
at Dartmouth.


Phil DeGisi T’09
Chief Marketing Officer

Phil is Vice President of Marketing at CommonBond. Prior to joining the CommonBond team, Phil held ecommerce and digital marketing roles spanning startups and large organizations, including Quidsi (a subsidiary of Amazon), littleBits electronics, and Across these roles he led direct response marketing, customer retention, and site merchandising/optimization efforts. Phil received his MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (and began his eventual journey to helping change the grad school student loan industry) and his BA from Vassar College with a degree in economics.

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