Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Eddy Soffer of Interactive Brokers Is Helping To Change Our World

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Always try to put yourself in your clients’ shoes — this is especially important when creating solutions or interacting with customers.

As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eddy Soffer.

Eddy Soffer, ESG Manager at Interactive Brokers, helps to direct the firm’s ESG strategy & planning including sustainable product development. He is a key contributor to the IMPACT by Interactive Brokers app, a mobile trading platform for ESG-focused investors. A financial services veteran with more than 15 years of experience, IMPACT by Interactive Brokers joins Eddy’s financial background and his personal passion for sustainability.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My sustainability journey began while attending a conference in Latin America a number of years ago. I was excited to learn how companies within the financial sector could start incorporating sustainability/ESG into their products and services. By that time, I had been working in the field for several years but had always felt something was missing. Specifically, how we should be looking at solving issues that affect our communities and the environment. I would frequently think to myself “what is the ultimate purpose of financial services?” That’s when I really became inspired to incorporate ESG into my career within the finance industry. This gave me a new focus and put me on a new path that brought me to Interactive Brokers.

Please share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

That would definitely be the creation of IMPACT by Interactive Brokers, our sustainable trading tool that helps investors align their portfolios with their values. It was amazing to see how the idea of having an app that would personalize this journey came to life. It all started when my boss and myself sat in a conference room for almost two days (with several breaks of course!) discussing ways that we could create a tool that would empower our clients to define their own sustainability journey, since everyone defines this differently. We kept asking, how can we create a product that can be interactive, simple and insightful that allows users to see how their investments align with their values? We also focused on providing users with the ability to to compare those value alignments with financial performance metrics; in essence having two lenses for them to be well informed on how to make that next trade. What an exciting journey we had!

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Wow, that’s a good one! When I first started my career, we took a business trip to the West Coast. I did not realize I forgot my wallet back in the East Coast until my boss asked me to use my corporate credit card to pay for the taxi ride! I was so concerned about what my boss would think of me that I asked her to pay instead. The biggest lesson learned was to be upfront about making mistakes right away. It avoids many headaches, and it demonstrates that we are human after all.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

Interactive Brokers is committed to promoting sustainable investing. Over the last two years, we’ve significantly expanded our suite of sustainable trading products by creating new tools and adding ESG features into existing ones. As mentioned earlier, using these offerings, clients can now view their investments not just through a financial lens, but also through ESG and “impact” lenses. We are excited to be leading the ESG investing movement with our IMPACT by Interactive Brokers app, a mobile trading platform that puts sustainable investing in the palm of investors’ hands, and the IMPACT Dashboard, which provides ESG scores for companies and calculates how well a portfolio aligns with selected values. These tools provide conscientious investors with a richer, personalized set of data to make more informed investment decisions.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Honestly, I think we have all been impacted by the creation of IMPACT. From those of us who worked on the idea to our entire team of developers and our colleagues in many different areas such as Marketing, Compliance, Legal, Customer Service and of course the full support of our Senior Management Team. We all worked diligently to develop the tool and have used many of its features and ideas when creating other solutions.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Sure, I can provide three elements in a very general way:

  1. I think politicians, specially at the local level, can engage more with community members and voters to see how they can more closely align on solutions to protect our climate and societies.
  2. In tandem with politicians, communities can look at ways to make an impact such as introducing ESG initiatives and measures on ballots.
  3. Finally, members of society can look to become more inclusive and work together towards treating one another respectfully while taking care of our environment.

How do you define “Leadership?” Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

There are many different aspects to “Leadership”, but from my perspective, it incorporates the following six elements:

Helping and guiding others to grow professionally

Always considering the full picture

Providing respectful feedback on how to improve

Granting autonomy and responsibility

Soliciting feedback on how to become a better leader

Constantly focusing on ways to help the overall company

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Certainly, I can share five things learned that I consider important at any point in someone’s career:

  1. Be mindful of what others are going through — everyone has a different journey
  2. Ask but always find a way to give back — it is about building relationships
  3. Build your network / find way to socialize outside of the office
  4. Be passionate about what you do, that can inspire others and help you achieve your goals.
  5. Always try to put yourself in your clients’ shoes — this is especially important when creating solutions or interacting with customers.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

That’s very kind and is a tall order! Besides conscious investing of course, it would be great to create an easy way to empower people to take control of their wellness, making it simple and having tremendous effect on our bodies and mind. It could be specific ways to eat healthy and sustainably while adopting measures to reduce stress and be more present. An all-in-one conscious living package!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote?” Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My own quote, which I imagine has been said in many ways is “If you don’t ask for help you will never be able to fulfill your goals and dreams.”

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them.

For me, one of the leaders that I truly admire and would like to have a private meal with is Bernard Looney, CEO of British Petroleum. As a leader of one of the giant oil companies, he is in a tough spot given where the world is moving. I see him as a genuine leader that understands how the world is changing and is really transparent about the company’s transitional journey. He is upfront, very engaging with communities and truly demonstrates how valuable his global employees are to the firm. It is very inspirational for me to see how he leads by example.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I invite everyone to learn more about our IMPACT app by visiting us at We would love for your readers to try out the app which can be found in the Apple and Google Play stores by searching it under IMPACT by Interactive Brokers. I am also excited about what we are doing as a firm with our sustainability initiatives, a relatively new journey in which we are in the process of incorporating many of these elements into our culture.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share our story!

Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Eddy Soffer of Interactive Brokers Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.