Five New Financial Jobs Of The Future
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Five New Financial Jobs Of The Future

NFT Appraiser? Financial-Bot Supervisor? Industry insiders on the unexpected roles they see coming.

By Chris Kornelis
Thu, Jul 21, 2022 1:39pmGrey Clock 3 min

Money and possessions are evolving in an increasingly digital and virtual world, and financial jobs will also change to keep up. Here’s a look at some new roles those in the industry see emerging.

In-House Bank Hacker

Usually bank security guards keep the bad guys out. How about security guards hired to break in? Large financial institutions have long hired companies to hack into their systems and report back on weaknesses, a process called penetration testing, says Shawn Moyer, co-founder of one of those companies, security-research firm Atredis Partners. A big change that he’s seen in recent years is that financial institutions are employing in-house penetration testers to continuously test their systems. “People have figured out you can’t just do a test once a year. When you’re continuously writing code and you’re continuously deploying new infrastructure, you have to have a continuous penetration-testing process,” he says. It’s always been difficult to find talent, says Mr. Moyer, who has recruited penetration testers for more than 20 years. Now these jobs are even more in demand. Do we need more hackers? “I don’t tend to use that word that much, but yes,” Mr. Moyer says.

NFT Appraiser

As our lives increasingly migrate to digital and virtual worlds, we’ll begin to acquire assets in those worlds, says Ken Timsit, managing director of the Cronos blockchain network. At the same time, he foresees the “financialization of everything,” in which anything with intellectual-property value can become a unique digital asset that can be owned–music, games, even sneakers. Last year, collectors spent billions of dollars trading digital art and collectibles, most of which were attached to NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, which act as vouchers of authenticity on the blockchain for virtual goods. So how to assess the value of these virtual assets? Call in the NFT appraiser. Financial institutions will need to hire people from a broad range of industry sectors to help them understand how to properly evaluate digital collectibles, Mr. Timsit says. “Experts from all walks of life will be contributing to calibrating those models.”

Loan Officer as Financial Adviser

Technology developments and regulatory shifts could cut the time it takes to buy and sell a home from a couple of months to a couple of days, predicts Jeremy Wacksman, chief operating officer of real-estate firm Zillow Group Inc. And that could mean loan officers take on a very different role. Now they spend a lot of time running down paperwork: tax returns, pay stubs, credit scores and proof of insurance, Mr. Wacksman notes. Relieved of that, the loan officer of the future could pursue higher-value parts of the job: acting as an adviser and counsellor. They’ll have more time to help customers strategize, look for opportunities and prepare financially for their long-term goals. This already exists to a point, he says, but it’s not nearly as widespread as it could be. “Whenever technology makes things more efficient, it allows people to spend their time doing what they do best,” Mr. Wacksman says. “I think you’ve already seen that trend a little bit in the industry, and I think you’ll see that continue, where agents and loan officers get elevated to become advisers and consultants.”

Chief Fintech Officer

What happens when the financial-services part of an online business takes on a life of its own? You may need a chief fintech officer. Housecall Pro, created as a platform to help plumbers, electricians, landscapers and other home-services providers run their businesses, is one example of a development that is happening more often, says the company’s Chief Fintech Officer Ethan Senturia. It was started to help tradespeople do things like make appointments, create estimates, send invoices and take payments. Today, the financial end is a huge part of the company’s business. As demand for financial services grew, the company brought on Mr. Senturia—an entrepreneur who had previously founded an online lending company and wrote about its demise—-to help embed a financial unit in the platform. It offers clients a suite of products to handle their financial needs, including payments, bank transfers, customer financing, payroll and more. In the future, Mr. Senturia says, more companies built around a core product unrelated to finance will need people in roles like his, responsible for providing financial services to customers.

Financial-Bot Supervisor

People are going to need a new kind of financial adviser if they want someone to help them manage their virtual portfolios of NFTs and other assets, says Bertrand Perez, CEO of the Switzerland-based Web3 Foundation. The group, founded by Gavin Wood, co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, works on initiatives related to decentralizing the web. This new financial-management role will best be filled by a bot, Mr. Perez says, as artificial intelligence will be far better equipped than a human to monitor virtual assets and recommend trades. But humans won’t be completely out of the picture, he says: Humans will be needed to look over the bots’ shoulders to ensure that the recommendations they make are sound. A financial-bot supervisor, in other words. “You will need somebody who would sit on top of everything, who would make sure that whatever those bots are proposing as an outcome to the consumers is always within the scope of the regulations,” Mr. Perez says.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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Car Dealers on Why Some Customers Hesitate With EVs

Concern about electric vehicles’ appeal is mounting as some customers show a reluctance to switch

Mon, Dec 11, 2023 4 min

Auto dealers across many parts of the country say electric vehicles are becoming too hard a sell for buyers worried about the range, reliability and price of these models.

When Paul LaRochelle heard Ford Motor was coming out with an electric pickup truck, the dealer was excited about the prospects for his business.

“We thought we could build a million of them and sell them,” said LaRochelle, a vice president at Sheehy Auto Stores, which sells vehicles from a dozen brands in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The reality has been less positive. On Sheehy’s car lots, LaRochelle says there is a six- to 12-month supply of EVs, compared with a month of gasoline-powered vehicles.

With automakers set to release a barrage of new electric models in the coming years, concerns are mounting among auto retailers about whether the technology will have broader appeal given that many customers are still reluctant to make the switch.

Battery-powered models have been piling up on car lotsdealers say, as EV sales growth has slowed in the U.S. this year. Car companies have been offering a combination of discounts and lower interest-rate deals in an effort to juice demand. But it hasn’t been enough, because buyer reticence extends beyond the price tag, dealers say.

“I’m not hearing the consumer confidence in the technology,” said Mary Rice, dealer principal at Toyota of Greensboro in North Carolina. “People aren’t beating down the door to buy these things, and they all have a different excuse why they aren’t buying one.”

Customers cite concerns about vehicles burning through a battery charge faster in cold weather or not being able to travel as far as they expected on a single charge, dealers say. Potential buyers also worry that chargers aren’t as readily accessible as gas stations or might be broken.

Franchise dealerships fear that the push to roll out new models will inundate them with hard-to-sell vehicles. Research firm S&P Global Mobility said there are 56 EV models for sale in the U.S. this year, and the number is expected to nearly double to 100 next year.

“I start to think, you know maybe we should just all pump the brakes a little bit,” Rice said.

A group of dealers expressed their concerns about the government’s role in pushing electric vehicles in a letter last month to President Biden.

A Toyota Motor spokesman said the majority of dealers have become “increasingly more confident in their ability to sell Toyota EV products.”

At Ford, the company’s electric-vehicle sales are rising, including for its F-150 Lightning pickup, but demand isn’t evenly spread across the country, according to a spokesman.

Dealers say that after selling an EV, they sometimes hear complaints about charging and the vehicles not always meeting their advertised range. In some cases, customers seek to return them to the dealer shortly after buying them.

“We have a steady number of clients that have attempted to or flat out returned their car,” said Sheehy’s LaRochelle.

While EVs remain a small but rapidly expanding part of the new-car market, the pace of growth has slowed this year. Electric-vehicle sales increased 48% in the first 11 months, compared with a 69% jump during the same period in 2022, according to Motor Intelligence. Sales remain concentrated in a few states, with California accounting for the largest chunk, S&P Global Mobility data found.

The cooling growth has raised broader questions in the industry about whether car companies face a temporary hurdle or a longer-term demand challenge. Automakers have invested billions of dollars to bring more EV models to the market, and many analysts and car executives say they remain optimistic that sales will continue to expand.

“Although the rate of growth has slowed recently, EV demand is clearly moving in the right direction,” said General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra on a recent conference call with analysts. A combination of more affordable model options and better charging infrastructure would help encourage more people to buy electric vehicles, she said.

There are also varying views within the dealer community about how quickly buyers will adopt the technology.In hot spots for electric-vehicle demand, such as Los Angeles, dealers say their battery-powered models are some of their top sellers. Those popular EV markets also tend to have more mature public charging networks.

Selling an electric car or truck outside of those demand centres is proving more difficult.

Longtime EV owner Carmella Roehrig thought she was ready to go full-electric and sold her backup gasoline vehicle. But after the 62-year-old North Carolina resident found herself stranded last year in a rural area of South Carolina, she changed her mind. Roehrig’s Tesla Model S got a flat tire, but none of the stores in the area carried tires for a Tesla. She ended up paying a worker at a nearby shop to drive her home.

Roehrig still has her Tesla but bought a pickup truck for long road trips.

Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.

“I have these conversations with people who say we’ll all be in EVs in 15 years. I say: ‘I’m not so sure. I’ve tried to do it,’” Roehrig said. “I think you need a gas backup.”

Customers who want to ditch their gas vehicle for environmental reasons are sometimes hesitant, said Mickey Anderson, president of Baxter Auto Group, which owns dealerships in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado.

“We’re in the Colorado Springs market. If this is your sole mode of transportation, and you’re in a market in extremes of elevation and temperature, the actual range is very limited,” Anderson said. “It makes it extremely impractical.”

Dealers representing around 4,000 stores across the U.S. signed the letter in November addressed to Biden, saying the administration’s proposed auto-emissions regulations designed to promote electric-vehicle sales are unrealistic. The signatories ranged from stores owned by family businesses to publicly held giants such as AutoNation and Lithia Motors.

“Some customers are in the market for electric vehicles, and we are thrilled to sell them. But the majority of customers are simply not ready to make the change,” the letter said.

Some carmakers are pushing back EV-rollout plans. GM said in mid-October that it would delay the opening of an electric pickup plant by a year to late 2025. In response to weaker-than-expected consumer demand, Ford said in late October that it would defer $12 billion of planned spending on electric-vehicle investment.

Since September, dealers on average took more than two months to sell an EV, compared with 40 days for all vehicles, according to car-shopping website Edmunds.

While discounts have helped boost sales of some electric vehicles, they also have led to repercussions for some current owners because it reduces the value of their vehicles, dealers say.

“Most people don’t have the confidence to buy an EV and know what it will be worth in 10-15 years,” said Rice from the Toyota dealership.

It may take some time for the industry to adjust because it is still in an early stage of switching to electric vehicles, Sheehy’s LaRochelle said.

“We’re asking for this market to grow organically,” he said.


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Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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