Ep. 60 – The Big Switch: Making The Move From Big To Small with Acorns COO, Manning Field

When you’re used to managing at 50,000 feet, can you make the change and start leading at ground level? Our guest today is Manning Field, the Chief Operating Officer of Acorns. Manning oversees the business with direct accountability for growth, retention, experimentation, customer service, analytics, project management, and Acorns’ regulated entities. He reveals how it was like moving from a big corporate environment to a small FinTech startup. When asked what his greatest takeaway is, he says, “Learning how to navigate an organization is not that valuable in a small company. Learning how to inspire people, lead people, share experience, sit alongside someone to solve a problem, that becomes more important than how to navigate an org chart.”


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As Acorns Chief Operating Officer, Manning Field, oversees the business with direct accountability for growth, retention, experimentation, customer service, analytics, project management in Acorns regulated entities. Prior Acorns, Manning launched market-leading products and programs at JPMorgan Chase like Chase Sapphire, Chase Freedom, Chase Ultimate Rewards and was named an Ad Age “40 Under 40.” He also spent four years in Beijing, China as the CMO of JPMorgan Chase’s consumer team and while there found that a local credit card business. During his eighteen-year tenure at Chase, Manning oversaw many departments including Branding, Advertising, Product Development, Marketing, Corporate Development, Innovation, B2B Corporate Sales Strategy and lastly as the Managing Director of Loyalty Innovation. He and his wife have three future Acorns investors. Manning, welcome to the Second in Command podcast.

Thank you for having me.

Tell us a bit about Acorns. I know some people will clearly know of the brand and then others it might be completely new to them. Give us some background on that and then we’ll go backward into the startup and when you got involved.

Acorns is a FinTech app that is designed to be a financial wellness system. What that means is it’s designed to help Americans save and invest every day. It’s rooted in a foundation of behavioral economics to try to help people make good financial decisions and align the act of putting money away and saving money with everyday behavior. That behavior is going to be the core feature of our account. Every time you shop, you round up to the next dollar. That money gets put into a diversified portfolio that’s designed for you based on your time horizon, risk profile and so forth. We take the utility and ease of use of an app, bring more traditional financial services, product, knowledge, experience and infrastructure, and make that experience as simple as possible. The product is designed to make the first step of saving money and building confidence financially the smallest step possible. In the financial services industry, that first step is typically quite large.

You’re following a lot of the basic principles of investing, too, which is to get started, keep putting money in, and let the compounding start, right?

That’s correct. Our kind of investment philosophy is rooted in the power of modern portfolio theory and passive investing. Our portfolios were designed by Dr. Harry Markowitz, Nobel prize-winner, who invented modern portfolio theory. The portfolios that we build for you, we have one to five from conservative to aggressive. Those portfolios are constructed using the principles of modern portfolio theory and using high equity and low-cost ETFs across BlackRock and Vanguard. We construct these portfolios for our customers based on what their needs are.

Walk us into how you got involved in the company and then go through your tenure and through the company itself. When did you get involved?

I joined the company as an employee in the summer of 2016. The company was founded in 2012 and launched in 2014. I was quite aware of a company before I came to join the team. When I was running the Loyalty Program at Chase, we had conversations with a number of FinTech companies that Acorns was interested in. We were looking at them potentially as an option for people to redeem the points into an Acorns account. Using a loyalty currency could potentially help accelerate and fund an investment account. The conversation ended up not transpiring in a transaction but got to know the brand and the founder. At the same time, a business partner of mine who I’ve been collaborating with since about 2005, Noah Kerner, was starting to get involved in the company. He ultimately became the CEO and recruited me to come join him. We had worked together on a variety of projects throughout our professional careers. We knew each other and we shared a lot of the same values around product, design, simplification and culture. Knowing that helped me feel confident in what Acorns was trying to do and making a move from a big institution to a starter.

That was my question. I’m chomping at the bit to ask this and understand. How many employees were at Acorns when you joined?

It was a bit over 60 when I joined.

Where are you based?

We’re based in Irvine, California, here in Orange County.

You’ve got 60 employees when you joined. Were you coming from China back to the US for that or had you left China and come back to the US already?

I came back from China in 2012. I’ve been back almost four years at the bank.

What was it like going from a huge corporate environment in banking into a small FinTech startup? What lessons did you learn? What lessons could you give to others? There are huge insights there.

My entire experience was in a large organization. I didn’t have a small company track record that I could lean upon. You sit there at a big company and you have all of these assumptions that you make of what it would like to be working at a startup. From moving fast to never having to wear a suit again to working with a lot of young, ambitious people. Most of the assumptions I had about working at a startup were true, some of them are stereotypes. The thing that I didn’t fully have an appreciation for when I came into the startup was the importance of the infrastructure, process, and controls that a large institution has. Inside those organizations, as an employee, you might feel constrained by those processes. They might be barriers and they might bureaucracy. Some of that is true.

When you come to an environment that’s young, growing and not had the benefit of a lot of that structure, you’ll learn early on how important some of that this. You have to implement and design it in a way that is right for where that company is at that point in time. It should be something that is culturally compliant, builds culture, and gives the impression of slowing things down. Inside a big company, you rail against the machine. When in startup, you’re like, “I have to build the machine.” I have to admit that I didn’t have a full appreciation for that. Early on in my tenure, it was probably the one most disorienting thing. They were doing product development in a large organization. You end up trying to figure out how to navigate the rules in the system and in some cases break some of them. In a startup, given what my role was and what the team needed from me, they needed structure. They needed rules and a process. I probably walked in thinking that we’re all going to be creative together and make new great products. We’re doing all those things anyway. The company needed less of that from me to drive that because we’ve got lots of creative people here. The company needed more of a structure and a process.

SIC 60 | From Big To Small

From Big To Small: Within a startup, create the infrastructure, processes, and the controls that build culture, not barriers.


What do you think of the core behavioral traits of a great corporate person that would work well in an entrepreneurial environment? I’ve coached people to say, “Be careful when you bring somebody in from the big corporate. They can culturally not necessarily be the right fit even though their skillset could be amazing.” What are the right behavioral traits or core things to look for that you could give us that would help with it?

Mid-career is the hardest move to go from corporate into a startup. Those who I have seen struggle with that transition. You’ve got to be able to go from ground level to 50,000 feet and then back again, and do that strategic and tactical context switching. You need to be able to do that quickly. A lot of senior people only operate at a certain level because that’s what the organization has required of them at that point in time. That’s how they got to where they are. If you only operate at that level, you can have a hard time. The maturity of the organization doesn’t have those layers and that talent at every level that you could operate at that level. You have to be able to do that. You’ve got to be willing to get your fingernails dirty.

Though you may have a job title or a scope of a job that is clearly articulated, you end up wearing seventeen, eighteen different hats. You have to be nimble and adept. People have struggled with that in startups is my observation. Big corporations have a tendency to have lots of meeting-driven cultures and call it politics or influence management. Those things end up in a smaller organization not being effective. Learning how to navigate an organization is not that valuable in a small company. Learning how to inspire people, lead people, share experience, sit alongside somebody and help them solve a problem becomes more important than how to navigate an org chart.

Influence management is something that is pretty powerful and necessary when you get to that stage. I’ve always played in the world of probably 50 to 500 employees. All of a sudden, you get into this cross-departmental matrix decision-making, I break down. I don’t know how to play in a big corporate world. I had a mentor that was being groomed as the second-in-command at Starbucks. He was trying to work with me on stuff. I was like, “It’s like teaching me Latin. I don’t get it.” It’s certainly an amazing skillset to have, too. What did you see in Acorns that made you make the switch? Was it Noah that sold you on it? If he did, what was he selling you?

He didn’t have to sell me on the idea or the brand or the company. I moved from the East Coast here with three kids. For me to take that risk, knowing the CEO and how he thinks is worth a lot. It’s not the main reason why I joined but it helped make the transition and the decision easier. For me, first and foremost, it was the brand and the mission of the company. I’ve worked in financial service in my entire career and I feel like that there’s an opportunity to be better. Most of the P&L in financial services only work when the customer is not paying attention or making mistakes. I don’t think that builds trust in institutions. I don’t think that builds good customer behavior. When we look at our society now, even though the economy is quite strong, there’s a whole bunch of people that are being left behind. I feel like there’s an opportunity for the product and a brand standpoint to come in and tackle it in a different way.

I wanted to work in FinTech because that’s my experience. I wanted to work for a company that had a strong brand foundation. One that approached everything from product, hiring and every decision that they make in the business itself from a brand point of view as opposed to the financial point of view or it comes from purely a technical point of view. Acorns is that. I also wanted to have the challenge of, “Can you make a financial services P&L work when the customer is winning?” That felt like a strong intellectual challenge. The combination of believing in the leader, believing in the brand and having the opportunity to address something that I think is a real problem in the industry, are the three things that helped me make the decision.

I’ve probably got an overly simplistic view of the business. My thought was that the way that the portfolios were set up that it largely was going to become a sales and marketing organization versus a product. It’s almost like a WhatsApp where they sold for over a billion dollars and they only had 55 employees at the time. What are the 300 employees working on? When do you need to stop adding people and when do you start leveraging? When does this happen on its own?

If you think about the 300 people, it’s a third customer service. We do all of our own customer service in-house. When I look up through my office window in my office, my team is right there helping customers on chat, email and phone. A third customer service, a third engineering and technical staff to continue to advance the product, and then the rest of the company is a mixture of small marketing team. We do all of our design in-house. We have a large design team. There’s HR, Finance, and the operational side. The operational side outside of customer service is relatively thin when you think about a company with a number of customers that we have, which is now over five million. We trade every day if the market is open because of the way our technology works. We have a small operational function because we don’t have salespeople and we’re not trying to drive active trading. It’s fully about within our broker-dealer and within our RIA. It’s about meeting our fiduciary responsibilities from RIA’s perspective and our broker-dealer’s perspective, making sure that we execute with the highest quality.

One more question on the transition that I’m curious about. Companies, when they’re in that growth phase, recruit and attract seasoned senior talent. When they’re at the 50-employee and they’re ready to scale, they can’t have the “jack of all trades, master of none” being promoted from within. They need to bring in people like you to help scale. The question is always like, “How do I attract them?” One of the questions we encounter is, “How do we get the spouse to buy-in that we’re not crazy leaving the corporate world and going to this startup?” Was that part of the equation?

I can only speak about my own situation. I would say it was less about convincing my spouse it was the right move for me. My wife, Amy, have been pushing me to do something different for about five years before I left the bank. My risk appetite on the change was lower than hers. Outside of her being supportive and great, she felt like I could do more and that a change of scenery and environment would be better for me. She was right.

Coming in from Chase, what kind of things did you bring over that you think were good tools or systems that helped you shape Acorns?

That organization is one of the best-led companies in the world. Jamie Dimon, it’s clear that he’s an inspirational leader and probably the best operator out there. Everybody in that company is trained to be an operator. They’re trained to be metrics-oriented and to think about execution. I didn’t have a full appreciation for it until I left the organization that had that routing. I honestly brought a lot of that. They didn’t need me on the creativity side. They didn’t need me to come up with an extraordinary product idea. Acorns is pretty good at that. They needed me to help in how to scale. The vast majority of people here don’t have a ton of financial services experience outside of what they’ve done at Acorns. How could I share lessons learned by being inside one of the global leaders in this space for a long time to make sure that they avoid problems? That’s definitely one of them. In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a lot of great card products. Acorns is in the process of starting to do some cards. We’ve got our spend account. I brought a lot of that experience about how to build a card product to Acorns.

What do you think were the first couple of big initiatives that you brought into the company? When you walk in the door, typically we see things that we want to change or work on right away. What were the first couple that you had your eye on?

Most of them were behind the scenes types of things. From the product standpoint, the team was in a good place. They didn’t hire Manning to change that. At the end of my first week, I wrote down a list of things that I want to implement and change. There were about 31, 32 things on that list. I’m about halfway through the list. It’s not because I’ve been not focused on trying to drive change. You have to think about, especially in a smaller organization, the pace and sequencing of how you drive change. Driving change too fast is not going to be helpful at all. Some of the things that I wanted to build are more long-term. If I had the opportunity to build it, that means we’re in a good place from a scale standpoint. We’ve gotten big and complex enough as a business that we need to have this. At that point in time, we didn’t meet that level. Simple prioritization process about how we think about resources, how we force harder decisions around trade-offs. A lot of times, younger companies don’t do that much with that. When a thousand flowers bloom, we have to introduce structure around how you choose to spend your time, how you choose to spend your investors’ money to build the product, to meet the customer needs. There are some simple steps there. We’re constantly tweaking this but that was definitely one of them.

I was asked, “How do I hold my employees accountable?” I said, “You don’t. You hire accountable people.” I get the feeling that you would line up with that. You hire or have a team of great people. How do you lead your team? How do you grow your team? What are your thoughts around that? I understand the philosophies around it, but what are the practical things that you’re doing to grow your direct reports or to grow their direct reports?

It’s about giving them enough space to make some mistakes and discover things on their own. Be there as guardrails as opposed to strict command and control. When you have a set of responsibilities as broad as I had, especially when I first started, you don’t have the luxury of micromanaging everything even if that is what they need from you. That’s not what they need. That in itself drives a ton of bad behavior because you’re not stretching people. I prefer to set high-level objectives and goals, let the team come back with a plan, I give feedback, some coaching and try to think about building confidence along the way. I’m not a huge list person, but I have two lists that are important. I have a list of the 30-plus things that I want to change because I think they’re needed to make the company reach its ambition. The other list I have is jobs to fire myself from. There are a few more jobs that are on my list that I want to fire myself from, but I feel like if I’ve effectively fired myself from all of the jobs that I’ve had, then I’ve been successful. Over time, you have a responsibility to remove the organizational dependency on you as a leader.

I don’t want to gloss over that. That’s a huge growth area that I don’t think a lot of people think about. I’m working with my second-in-command on that right now and looking at everything on her list, everything on her plate. We’re trying to get stuff off that we either don’t need to do or we can delegate, outsource, optimize or automate. How do you start to look at what is on your plate that you can get off? How do you decide what to get off your plate and what to keep?

One of the things that we do here at Acorns is we use Gallup strengths. We do it with the whole company and we share the grit with everybody. It’s helped us work across functionally better. One of my top strengths is deliberative. I almost always have to have a plan. I think about jobs to fire myself from like succession planning and delegation. I’ve got a rigorous sequence in which I’m trying to follow that’s aligned with what I think the business needs, where talent is, and where the logical handoffs are. That, for me, is critically important. I tried to time-box it because, with my experience with myself, if I don’t do that I probably won’t move at the pace that I need to move.

SIC 60 | From Big To Small

From Big To Small: Give your people enough space to discover some things on their own and make some mistakes. Be there as guardrails as opposed to being command and control.


What about your growth? How are you continuing to grow as a leader?

Changing from a big company to a small company is vastly different. As a leader, much of your time in a big company is thinking, “How do I get the people above me in the organization to support what it is that we try to do and can implement the things that we want to do?” In a small company, I have a conversation with Noah or in some cases, with the Board. There’s not a lot of convincing others around you that this is the right thing to do. That comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. You want to make sure that when you give direction or make a decision that it’s well communicated, well deliberated and that you got buy-in from the team as opposed to leadership. That to me was different. I’ve got a lot more learning still to do here on that component of decision making. That’s definitely an area that I’ve grown in. Also, learning the whole process around fundraising, working with investors which is very different than in a public company. That whole process I call pitching or storytelling around the company and the brand, you spend a lot more time doing that. You also spend a lot more time recruiting, especially when you think about some of those more senior hires that will help scale you. You spend a lot more time of recruiting and trying to find the right people that are going to take the risk to join the company and start inquiries. I’ve learned a lot from that process.

People are emotional about their money. Donald talked about something in China and the markets corrected. They were down 3% and people were freaking out. How does your customer service team handle these newer or younger investors? They’re not even dealing with that much money. Their small portfolio corrects so they’re worried about the market downturn. How do you calm them? How do you guys walk them through all that?

It gets back to the core of what Acorns stood for from the day we started until to what we do now. We’ve viewed education as a critical component of the product. It’s not some extraneous marketing function, which is traditionally how financial services treats this topic of financial literacy. We’ve embedded it in the product. We have a product line called Grow. We have a whole content team that develops this information, not only about investing but about broader financial topics like paying down student debt or whatever the customer need is. We produce a lot of original content around this that’s well designed. It’s embedded in our app.

As part of our last fundraising round, NBC Universal and Comcast Ventures invested in our company. We have a deep content literacy partnership with CNBC. If you watch CNBC, you will see a lot of educational content that’s programmed in CNBC and Acorns. We had 134 million media impressions on CNBC in April. April was financial literacy month so it’s good timing. The question around building confidence is the core to everything that you think about in the product itself. When you look at the markets themselves, even though there’s been a couple of bumpy days, and the fourth quarter was not great, for the most part, Acorns has been in a pretty favorable market since we’ve been launched. How do we not have people overreact to certain market conditions? When the markets are rough, we drive more content in the app experience itself to try to educate the customer. If someone wants to withdraw, they’re going to withdraw. That is our job, to give them their money. Our job is also to help them buy.

We hit a rough patch when the market corrected. I got all excited, started loading up and buying in again. Most people would have been bailing out. Is that the same thing? Is that what you’re doing at that point, re-educating?

Through that rough spot, we didn’t see meaningful withdrawal behavior changes which I think is a function of the way that the product works itself. We’ve done a lot of testing in exposing people to content and not exposing people to content. We definitely see meaningful differences of behavior when we educate throughout the process. Education for us is less around trying to keep a balance alive or retain a customer in our way. We think about it much more around the long-term which is how we think about the brand and business itself. We think a more financially literate and confident customer is healthier. If we can help them with that, that ends up being good for the business.

Do you guys take a look at companies and the way that they’re growing their balance sheets or the way they’re investing or is it all business-consumer?

It is all consumer. We don’t spend much time looking at what else is going on. We look at the markets. We want to make sure that our portfolios are well designed and there’s a meaningful amount of quantitative trigger through that process. BlackRock is a strategic investor in Acorns. We work a lot with BlackRock to make sure our portfolios are well designed. We have an independent investment committee led by some big names in the space to make sure that our portfolios are operating as intended.

How much have you raised so far?

Cumulatively, probably $230 million, $240 million or something like that. Our last round reached about $105 million.

That’s a lot.

It takes a lot to build a great company and build over five million customers.

What’s the end goal? Is it to have an exit and sell to one of the big financial institutions? Is it to grow, continue to scale, and take the company public? Is it to stay private? Any thoughts on that?

Our position on this is we’re going to build a great business. Any one of those outcomes is on the table. We wouldn’t take anything off the table. We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that either. We’re trying to build our business. Whatever makes sense for the customer, for our team, for our investors, we’ll make that decision when we need to make that decision. As we think about who we’re trying to serve, we’re focused on Americans that make under $100,000 a year. The TAM on that cohort is 182 million. Even though we’ve done some nice scaling, we’re scratching the surface of the opportunity. We think that there are lots more problems to solve that we’re in a good position to solve. That’s what we’re relentlessly focusing on.

Are you only in the US market?

That’s correct.

SIC 60 | From Big To Small

From Big To Small: To build a great company culture, align your people with the company mission, recruit on it, and make decisions based on it.


Any eye to the other markets or is it you’re only five million people in a market of 182 million, stay focused on America for now?

That’s how we think about it. We definitely have broader ambitions, but those are long-term ambitions.

It’s a big enough pond to fish in. What’s the youngest age that your clients can be?

Our core account and the entry point into the financial loan system that we’ve built is through an investment account. You must be eighteen. You’ll see some stuff in the future that allows us to go younger.

If parents wanted to have an account for their kids, would they open it up in the parent’s name and then have a sub-account for their children that they might invest in?

Right now, that’s not a capability that we have but you’ll see some stuff around custodial accounts in the future.

Talk to us about building a FinTech company or building a technology company in Irvine. You guys are down in Orange County. You said that you’re not in the typical Bay Area or the New York market, which I would probably think would be the financial hubs. How do you get back talent to that market? Is it easier? Is it harder? Is it different? Are you guys all in one location or do you have multiple offices?

We have four offices. Predominantly, our headquarters are here in Irvine. We have an office in Portland, Oregon which has about 25 people. That came as a result of an M&A transaction. That transaction came with eight employees and so we scaled that office primarily through engineers and some product people. What we found with Portland, specifically, was you’re able to capture a lot of San Francisco talent that’s leaving San Francisco because of the cost of living and lifestyle choices. Portland is a great place to live. We’ve seen some success there, particularly on the engineering side. On the Orange County side, we’ve got a great set of engineers that are based here. Google and Amazon have big locations here. As we’ve had more success, we’ve been able to attract some talent from organizations like that. We’ve also found that there are a lot of people from the Orange County that want to move back to Orange County that are engineers. This is a nice option for them where in the past may be less so.

We’ve got an office in New York City. Primarily, that’s where our content and marketing team sit because of the concentration of talent there. We opened up an office in Wilmington, Delaware. Our CTO is running that office. There’s a lot of bank talent and financial services talent in that market. FinTech option can be quite attractive particularly for people that are geographically inflexible. We think that opportunistically that there’s an opportunity to build out engineering analytics risk management functions in that location. The footprint that we have allows us to compete effectively without having to deal with some of the challenges of being San Francisco Bay based or New York City based.

Portland is a great market. Orange County has awesome weather and pretty great market to live in, too. It all makes sense. Talk a little bit about culture for us. What’s your belief on what builds great company culture? It sounds like you guys are doing a good job at building one. In the mass media, we’ve been given a disservice where they talk about the free lunch, the bicycles on campus, and the free massages. That’s not what culture is all about. Walk us through what you think is making a great company culture for the team at Acorns?

It starts with the mission. We are thoughtful about what is that we’re trying to do. That purpose is what aligns everybody internally. We recruit on it and we make all business decisions based on the mission. If they see us potentially making a decision that may be in conflict with the mission, the people call us out on it. There’s a tremendous amount of authenticity around what that is and that helps build culture. It’s not the only thing. Related to the missions, we were clear on our values. We reinforce our values. They’re not just words painted on the wall. It’s tied to how we make business decisions. It’s tied to how we make hiring decisions. It’s tied to virtually everything that we do. We tried to work hard about connecting the dots. We linked it to actions. We can link those values to behaviors. That has helped with building a great culture. If you look at some of the external stats, whether it be Glassdoor or Comparably or some of these sites out there that like valuing companies, our scores are quite high. That’s because of the consistency and the reinforcement of the mission and the values. That’s how you do it. We use a lot of tools to track employee satisfaction. The feedback component is important because it tops down support to build great culture, but culture can’t be built tops down.

I’m glad you mentioned the part about the core values. I was talking to a CEO about this. He’s struggling with letting someone go who’s not core values and culture fit but he’s strong on the skillset side. I kept saying, “It’s like cultural cancer. You have to get that person out of the organization. You have to get rid of them.” You also mentioned that core values can’t just be words or sayings up on a wall. Even Enron had core values but they didn’t live them. Can you walk us through the philosophy around using core values? Can you give us a specific example of when the team or you used core values to make a tough decision or to reinforce a good decision?

I can give you an example but I’m not going to get into specifics as I don’t want to reveal anything confidential. When I first started, I didn’t work in an environment where this type of decision-making was values-based. It was financially based. I didn’t have a frame of reference. I was working on a project that had fairly meaningful business opportunity as one of the first things that I came to hear and inherited midstream. As I started to get immersed in the project, it became clear to me that it wasn’t going to work. It was going to fail on mission but there was a lot of business impact that was already being carried in our forecast around implementing this initiative. When I came to that conclusion, I called Noah and I said, “I know we’re counting on this but we should not do this.” I didn’t actually know what the response was going to be. The response was simple, “That sounds great. We’ll figure something else out. Let’s go call the Board.” At that point, in my mind was, “Now, I understand.” Decisions like that have been made a hundred times over. Every time you do it, it reinforces it. The team sees it and it’s a self-policing thing that I think is healthy.

It starts feeling good too. When you start making decisions based on the core values and the core purpose, all of a sudden it’s like, “This is the right thing.” That’s where growth and profits follow. They get accelerated off those decisions versus making decisions based on it in a vacuum. Final question, I want to ask you about growth. It’s often hard for us to take advice certainly from our parents or from others when we’re young. If you were to roll back to when you were starting in your career and could tell yourself something big that you now know, what would it be that has served you well you wish you’d known earlier?

Don’t be such a wimp. Take the leap. You’ll figure it out, but you’re never going to know until you actually try.

Manning Field, you are not a wimp to make the big move from Chase, one of the biggest financial services firms in the world, to a young, scrappy Acorns. It’s becoming a household name, congratulations. I appreciate you sharing with us.

Thank you and enjoy your day.

I’m looking forward to getting the account up and running. Thanks.

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About Manning Field

SIC 60 | From Big To SmallManning oversees the business with direct accountability for growth, retention, experimentation, customer service, analytics, project management, and Acorns’ regulated entities.

Prior to Acorns, Manning launched market-leading products and programs at JPMorgan Chase like Chase Sapphire, Chase Freedom, and Chase Ultimate Rewards, and was named an Ad Age “40 Under 40.” He also spent four years in Beijing, China, as CMO of JPMorgan Chase’s consumer team and while there, founded a local credit card business.

During his 18-year tenure at Chase, Manning oversaw many departments including Branding, Advertising, Product Development, Marketing, Corporate Development, Innovation, B2B Corporate Sales Strategy, and, lastly, as the Managing Director of Loyalty Innovation. He and his wife have three future Acorns investors.

“Learning how to navigate an organization is not that valuable in a small company. Learning how to inspire people, lead people, share experience, sit alongside someone to solve a problem, that becomes more important than how to navigate an org chart.


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