Banking

Lindsey Bell, Ally Invest | Next 2021

Chief Investment Strategist

Some of the best opportunities can come from the most unfortunate circumstances, but it takes the right person to see where the opportunities are and then execute quickly before they pass. Lindsey Bell used her insight to help retail investors navigate the volatile stock market during pandemic lockdowns.

“The timing was perfect to hit the ground running to educate our customers about what was happening at the time,” said Bell, who became the first chief investment strategist at Ally Invest in September 2019.

At the brokerage and wealth management arm of Ally Financial, Bell leads the team responsible for shaping the insight on investing and the global markets that is shared with customers. Her team also oversees outreach, which entails creating educational content and events.

The list of programming she has created or refined is impressively long. One example is the weekly YouTube show “Stock Play of the Day,” which Bell works on with Brian Overby, Ally Invest’s options expert, and Callie Cox, a new addition to the team.

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Before the COVID-19 crisis, Bell’s team had already completed plans for Ally Invest’s first digital conference, which was set for March 2020. The lockdowns only heightened interest among retail investors, who were looking for opportunities to learn, and thousands registered to attend.

To meet the ongoing demand, Bell kept up with the virtual programming, with the live sessions typically attracting 1,000 people and others watching the recordings later. Her focus is on presenting relatable and topical content that does not get too technical for retail investors. “We aren’t asking fund managers to come on and talk,” Bell said.

After George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked widespread protests last summer, Ally Invest hosted a behavioral finance expert for a virtual fireside chat, which Bell described as a “really great and raw” conversation. “We try to be on top of the topics that are driving financial markets, but also culture because there is an intersection of the two,” she said.

Another project Bell said she is proud of from the past year was the volatility alerts she created. With a fresh influx of anxious retail investors trying to navigate the market gyrations, Bell had her three-person team start to quickly release alerts to help investors understand what was happening and why. The alerts get triggered by market events such as the price of oil going negative and the S&P 500 hitting a new record. “We inform our customers in real time and that is what I am most proud of,” Bell said. “We have gotten such good feedback on it.”

Though Bell is on maternity leave through June — bonding with newborn daughter, Quinn Catherine, her first child — she already knows where she is going to focus when she returns: social media initiatives.

Bell wants to use social media to educate retail investors about the risk of “meme stocks,” a phenomenon that has recently impacted shares of companies like GameStop. She is dismayed that people who are not qualified to give investment advice and don’t have a history of making calls on a stock have become so influential in social media.

“I view those as our competitors from a content perspective. It is incredibly concerning if people are listening to that and you have to have a strategy to combat that in a way,” Bell said.

She intends to beef up Ally Invest’s social media activity to help customers get better at sorting through the information deluge online for content they can trust.

Nominating executive: Lule Demmissie, President

What she said: Since the day Bell started at Ally Invest in September 2019, she has been creating value for customers through market insight that would prove to be “invaluable” in a year upended by a pandemic and social unrest, Demmissie said. “As extreme market volatility set in over the course of her first year, Lindsey stayed in step with each market twist and turn, developing new ways to communicate with and reassure our customers along the way,” she said.


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