Most Powerful Women in Finance: No. 16, U.S. Bank's Gunjan Kedia
Vice Chairman, Wealth Management and Investment Services, U.S. Bancorp
During her eight-year run as head of investment services at State Street, Gunjan Kedia managed one of the company’s most consequential business lines and served on the leadership team that set overall strategy.
It was a heady job, but Kedia was eager to have a more direct impact on the lives of individual investors. She found that opportunity two years ago when she joined U.S. Bancorp as head of wealth management and investment services, replacing Terry Dolan, who is now the company’s chief financial officer.
This role is similar to her previous one in that Kedia still oversees the management of assets for institutional clients. But one difference is that she now has responsibility for private wealth management, an equally important business line for U.S. Bancorp.
The wealth management and investment services division employs roughly 7,300 people worldwide and last year generated revenue of $2.4 billion. Of the company’s four core businesses, it had the highest revenue growth and the highest return on equity.
Kedia said she had been eager to expand her responsibilities because of the “huge transition” going on in wealth management. Shifting demographics, technological changes and the rapid rise of socially responsible investing all present huge challenges, and opportunities, for traditional wealth managers.
“This is an industry that’s very old-fashioned,” Kedia said. “The clients are transforming faster than the businesses are in many cases.”
Under Kedia, the wealth division is continually reimagining how it can serve clients. Meeting rooms, which once had the feel of corporate boardrooms, have been transformed to look like living rooms so that clients can discuss their finances in a relaxed setting. New tools allow clients to build investment plans from their living room and connect with their financial advisers through their mobile devices.
The latest is a robo-advisory platform that rolled out in June. It’s designed to let users build their own portfolios, but a human adviser is reachable if they have questions.
“Money, whether you have $5,000 to invest or $75 million, is a very personal thing,” Kedia said. “Eventually it does need a human touch.”