Witad Awards 2020: Vendor Partnership or Alliance Professional of the Year—Margaret Hartigan, Marstone

Women in Data and Technology

Margaret Hartigan, CEO and founder of Marstone Inc., won the category for the vendor partnership or alliance professional of the year at this year’s Women in Technology and Data Awards. Marstone partners with banks, asset management and insurance companies to create a digital platform that Hartigan likens to the role of a robo-advisor. The platform allows institutions’ clients to design their own investment portfolios. Once data such as appetite for risk, age, investment goals, and amount to invest has been inputted into the system, Marstone’s technology enables clients to invest tactically and take investments all the way to execution.

After receiving her BA in English from Brown University, Hartigan decided to follow her father’s route and move into the financial services sector, despite coming from a humanities background. “I’m a creative person and if I get the Financial Times weekend edition or something like that, I’ll wrestle someone for the arts pages before I jump into the business section,” she says. However, she has always been interested in finance and started investing from a young age, later taking inspiration from her father to also become a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch. She started at Merrill Lynch in 2002 and stayed with the firm until 2012 when she left to set up Marstone.

A key objective Hartigan has for Marstone is to humanize and demystify finance and investing, she says. “Marstone is a medium where we present big ideas and break them down to where everyone can understand [them],” she says.

Later this year, Marstone plans to roll out a new financial planning tool, which Hartigan says will help users to plot various goals, for example, buying a house, sending a child to college or taking a sabbatical. Marstone will then look at a client’s financial situation and recommend an investment portfolio to help meet those long-term goals. 

One of her hopes for the financial planning tool is that it helps the younger generation to be smarter with their money, as she recognizes the difficulty of learning about finance when they haven’t yet had any real experience handling their own money.

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