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2021 Leaders in Finance

Banking on Baltimore: The region is rich in financial services expertise.

For hundreds of years, Charm City was a national leader when it came to banking and wealth-management services, thanks to the legacies of firms such as Alex Brown and Legg Mason.

And though there are 25-plus larger cities out there, we continue to punch above our weight in the industry, a nod not just to those legacies, but also to the amount of wealth in Maryland.

But there are lots of changes underway at both banks and at money-management firms, in part a response to a broader digital transformation, but one that’s been accelerated by the no-contact rules of the pandemic.

This means financial firms—and their customers—embracing technology such as artificial intelligence, computer vision, and machine-learning to streamline and personalize the banking experience. AI and ML also enable banks to ensure customer authentication and fight fraud in massive volumes at record speed.

We’re seeing remote consultations become the new normal, too, as consumers grow more comfortable and confident with video conferencing. Also likely on the way are more video banking teller machines that support live conferencing.

So is the personal touch on the way out? Absolutely not, it’s just being transformed.

Sure, the industry is cutting back on brick-and-mortar outposts, but the physical office—whether it’s a bank branch or a financial planner’s office—is still sustainable for many customer needs.

And the metro area continues to be particularly strong in experienced bankers, investment experts, and financial and estate planners of all stripes.

Which is where our Leaders in Finance section comes in: In the pages that follow, you’ll meet some of the best-known names in the industry, and they’re right in your backyard.