Innovator

Cynthia Loh

Vice President, Digital Advice and Innovation, Charles Schwab

After spending 10 years in finance, Cynthia Loh, inspired by the book “The Start-up of You,” decided to change the direction of her career path. Taking a huge leap of faith, she jumped from investment banking to a tech startup — in the medical industry.

“I wanted to go from giving advice to doing,” she said. “I felt like I had been sitting on the sidelines and I wanted an operational role.”

The gamble paid off. Ms. Loh’s experience as the startup’s first executive hire was so successful, she was soon recruited back to the finance industry to create and launch Betterment for Business.

Continuing her journey of introducing and growing new initiatives, Ms. Loh now serves as vice president of digital advice and innovation at Charles Schwab, where she oversees the Schwab Intelligent Portfolio robo-platforms. One of her major innovations within this role was the introduction of subscription pricing to the platforms ($300 upfront and $30 monthly). Since March 2019, the move has attracted more than $1 billion in assets. Ms. Loh also launched the Schwab Intelligent Income feature which enables investors to take a paycheck from multiple accounts in a tax-efficient fashion.

She shared some lessons learned around innovation:

  • Be open to the idea that anything is possible.
  • Embrace out-of-the-box ideas from other industries.
  • Have conviction in your beliefs and don’t be afraid to fail.

Ms. Loh finds her work very gratifying.

“I love that we’ve been able to impact so many lives,” she said.

— Deborah Nason