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Goldman hires Schwab’s digital advice head to lead product initiatives for growing wealth unit

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  • Goldman has hired Cynthia Loh, a prominent leader in the fintech space, from Charles Schwab.
  • Loh had introduced Schwab’s subscription-based pricing model for digital advice tools in 2019.
  • In the last two years, Goldman has made an aggressive push into wealth management.

Goldman Sachs has hired digital financial advice executive Cynthia Loh to lead product management for Goldman’s mass-affluent wealth business, Insider has learned.

The move underscores the Wall Street bank’s recent focus on managing the financial lives of individuals who are not super-rich and upgrading the tech to edge out rivals in a fiercely competitive business. 

Cynthia Loh joined Goldman Sachs as a managing director.
Charles Schwab

The firm hired Loh from Charles Schwab in late July as head of product management for its Personal Financial Management Group, a newly created role.

The PFMG segment includes Ayco, which specializes in company-sponsored financial advice for employees, and PFM, its mass-affluent wealth business which Goldman bought as United Capital in 2019 and rebranded last year.

Loh will join as a managing director and report to Larry Restieri and Joe Duran, PFMG co-heads, and Irfan Hussain, chief information officer of Goldman’s consumer and wealth management division, the three executives said in a July 27 memo viewed by Insider.

Loh joined Schwab in 2017 and in 2019 introduced the subscription-based pricing model for a digital financial planning and investing product called Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium. Loh, who was vice president of digital advice and innovation at Schwab, was previously with pioneering digital wealth startup Betterment. 

That pricing style — more common at that point for tech companies like Netflix than for finance — was innovative in an industry that has been slow to adapt to changing consumer preferences. Robo-advisors and other wealth management services traditionally charge clients a percentage of their assets under management instead of a flat fee. 

Keith Denerstein has taken on Loh’s role as head of retail digital advice at Schwab, a spokesperson for the company said. Denerstein previously launched robo-advisory and other digital investments offerings at TD Ameritrade, which Schwab acquired last year. 

Loh is also hiring, according to two product role posts she shared on LinkedIn. Goldman did not respond to requests for comment on further hiring plans. 

Goldman’s downstream wealth focus

Goldman has made inroads in recent years to go beyond offering wealth management services solely to ultra-wealthy people that its brand has always been associated with.

Earlier this year, Goldman’s consumer banking arm Marcus launched a long-awaited robo-advisor to investors with a minimum of $1,000, its most Main Street-focused offering yet. 

PFM typically caters to households with at least $500,000 in assets, though advisors can make exceptions, while its private wealth business tends to serve clients with at least $10 million in investable assets. Tech is key for Goldman to appeal to a new generation of investors, the firm’s private wealth co-heads told Insider in an earlier interview

Firms are scrambling to improve their digital products as investors increasingly seek out digital investing and trading tools for at least part of their financial situation. Adding to the pressure for firms, regulators have started examining the more closely with investor protections in mind.

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission asked the public for feedback on relatively new tech in finance as well as the “gamification” of investing through robo-advisors and brokerage platforms. 

In early July, Schwab said it was cooperating with the regulator as it investigates a matter involving its robo-advisor Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. A Schwab spokesperson said on Monday that Loh’s exit is unrelated.