14 September 2023 |

What’s Up In Fintech


#1 Nasdaq Gets SEC Approval For First Exchange AI-Driven Order Type 

Nasdaq has just received the green light from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch an innovation in the world of stock trading: an AI-powered order type known as the Dynamic Midpoint Extended Life Order (M-ELO). This development provides an update on where regulators are in the ongoing convergence of finance and predictive artificial intelligence.

So, what’s the buzz about M-ELO? Imagine having an order type that can adjust itself in real time based on market conditions. That’s what M-ELO does. Nasdaq says it leverages predictive AI to enhance liquidity and execution, aiming to match orders faster while minimizing market impact. Nasdaq has been no stranger to AI, having already implemented it in their U.S. options markets earlier.

Why It Matters: 

It’s a strong signal that AI is going deeper into the fintech industry. When regulators like the SEC allow a significant player like Nasdaq to experiment with AI, it paves the way for broader adoption of AI in innovative and unseen ways. If M-ELO proves successful, it could increase order fill rates and reduce holding times, benefitting investors and giving Nasdaq an edge over other exchange operators.

#2 Fintech Alza Aims To Help Latinx Americans Achieve Financial Parity

Meet Alza, the startup that’s all about addressing the banking needs of Latin and Central Americans who’ve made the United States their new home. Founded in October 2021, Alza has been diligently working behind the scenes for two years, and this week, they’re making their debut to the public.

So, what sets Alza apart in the fintech landscape? While they offer an FDIC-insured checking account and a debit card, their cross-border remittance feature truly makes them shine. With Alza’s app, users can send money to over 20 countries in Latin and Central America using methods like bank transfers, cash pick-up, or direct debit card transfers.

But it doesn’t stop there. Alza goes the extra mile to ensure inclusivity. They accept various IDs for account applications, making them accessible to diverse users. Plus, they’re fully bilingual, offering services in both English and Spanish—check out Mary Ann Azevedo’s full story in Techcrunch here

Why It Matters: 

Because the Latinx community in the US is a powerhouse, contributing significantly to the nation’s GDP. Alza meets their unmet financial needs, estimated to be over $100 billion and potentially growing to $660 billion if parity is achieved. 

The reality is that the voices of Latinos remain severely underrepresented in the corporate world, and this is especially true for Latina women. Despite making up 19% of the population, only 5% of seats in Fortune 500 boards and C-suites are occupied by Latinos. 

This lack of representation has caused Latino consumers to be overlooked by companies that fail to recognize them as a priority demographic. Unfortunately, Latina women hold the smallest percentage of board seats out of any racial or ethnic group in the US: a mere 1%. This lack of inclusion needs to be addressed so that the needs of the Latino population can be heard and respected.

#3 Digital Financial Inclusion Is Critical To Climate Resilience

The world is facing a critical shift in its approach to climate change, focusing on mitigation, resilience, and adaptation. In an article from the World Economic Forum published this week, the spotlight is on the pivotal role of inclusive financial services in empowering individuals to cope with and adapt to a changing climate.

I’m breaking down why this matter is so crucial in 5 key ways. 

Why It Matters: 

1. Inclusive Finance and Climate Resilience: Inclusive financial services play a vital role in supporting individuals facing the immediate impacts of climate change. Digital bank accounts provide financial support aftershocks, lending aids climate adaptation investments, and insurance helps in recovery and increased livelihoods. This financial support is crucial in ensuring better food security and poverty outcomes, particularly in vulnerable communities.

2. Financial Inclusion Gap: Despite progress, 1.4 billion people worldwide remain unbanked, with a significant portion living in climate-vulnerable areas. Expanding financial inclusion in these regions is essential to building resilience at the grassroots level.

3. Unique Challenges: Different regions and livelihoods face varying climate risks, requiring tailored financial solutions. While agricultural index insurance exists, there needs to be more products and services designed for the diverse resilience strategies needed in climate-vulnerable areas.

4. Threat to Financial Inclusion: Climate change threatens to reverse the progress made in financial inclusion, impacting the most vulnerable. It could lead to financial institutions retreating from climate-exposed areas, effectively excluding specific customers and perpetuating inequality.

5. Collaboration is Key: Addressing these challenges demands innovative ideas and partnerships between organizations committed to climate resilience and financial inclusion. Just as inclusive finance evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry, we now need a concerted effort to unlock the adaptive potential of vulnerable populations in the face of the climate crisis.

In a world where climate change is a growing threat, inclusive finance is a powerful tool for individuals and communities to build resilience. It’s a call to action for stakeholders in financial inclusion and climate change to collaborate and empower those living in poverty to confront the challenges of a changing climate head-on.

I wrote about this in Forbes earlier this year after coming home from the Women’s World Banking Summit. Check out more of my take on fintech’s role here


A Week In The Life

Tune in every Thursday to keep in the loop on the best fintech events happening each week! Whether it’s an online meetup or a fintech conference, these gatherings provide amazing opportunities to network, learn and connect with our incredible fintech community. 

So, let’s fill up those calendars with all the awesome events out there – I’d love to see you at one, or even better, if you have one you’d like to share, please let me know! 


  • [VIRTUAL] Fulfillment in Fintech: A New Approach to Career Growth: Finding fulfillment in fintech doesn’t start with the industry; it begins with you and understanding your strengths & goals. I’m often asked how I became so passionate about what I do. Well, I want to share my secrets with you! Check it out here.  


  • [NASHVILLE] 3686 Entrepreneurship Festival: Interested in learning more about Tennessee’s thriving fintech ecosystem? This event offers a series of panels to help you get to know the state’s growing fintech scene. From climate tech to fintech to betting on Tennessee companies.


  • [CHICAGO] Fintech Pursuit Happy Hour: Are you ready to reach the top of the Chicago fintech scene? This event is the perfect opportunity to mix and mingle with the city’s finest fintech leaders. 



Cover Image for [NYC] Fintech Fridays
  • [NYC] Summer Stroll: Kick off Friday by walkin’ and talkin’ with members of the Fintech Is Femme community. Sometimes we just hang and chug our coffees together. RSVP for details.
    Hosted by Yours Truly


How Dani Fava Carved Out Her Own Place in Fintech

Profile photo of Dani Fava

Dani is Group Head of Product Innovation at Envestnet. Drawing on more than 15 years of wealth management and technology experience, Dani accelerates the firm’s strategic vision to help advisors make financial wellness a reality for more people.
She’s also a total badass and one of the coolest people I know. Check her out and learn more about her story and how she’s transforming the industry, here.