TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: AMTD)’s chatbot on the Facebook Messenger platform went from idea to commercial product in less than two months.
Kahina Van Dyke, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB)’s global head of financial services, told the audience Tuesday at the 2018 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards that the speed of development was thanks to TD Ameritrade.
“We can really move fast,” she said of the ubiquitous social media platform. “Not all financial institutions can.”
The chatbot, which launched in 2017, allows TD Ameritrade clients to access account information and even conduct trades using the Messenger platform.
As Benzinga previously reported, the idea behind TD Ameritrade’s Facebook Chatbot was firmed up via an employee hackathon.
Innovation At Facebook: ‘It’s In Our DNA’
TD Ameritrade staff were “avid users” of Facebook Messenger — to communicate with friends and family — before the platform was ever integrated with the brokerage, said Sunayna Tuteja, TD Ameritrade’s director of innovation.
The firm wants to democratize investing, Tuteja said.
“We think in order to deliver that right balance of utility ... we need some combination of information and ability for account management and transactions.”
The employees in Facebook’s financial services division are largely former bankers, allowing them to understand the concerns that companies in the sector have and the challenges they face internally, Van Dyke said.
No recipe exists for innovative partnerships like the one between TD Ameritrade and Facebook, Van Dyke said — and she pointed to Facebook’s own history as the reason why it’s willing to experiment.
“It is a world that did not exist 15 years ago. Our platform did not exist 15 years ago,” she said. “It’s inherent in our DNA to try new things.”
Follow along the two-day event on Twitter with the hashtag #BZAwards.
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Photo: Sunayna Tuteja, director of innovation at TD Ameritrade, left, and Kahina Van Dyke, Facebook's global head of financial services, in conversation Tuesday, May 15 at the Benzinga Fintech Awards in New York City. Photo by Mandar Parab.
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