Rodrigo Acuna: Fintech Founder and Financial Literacy Advocate

rodrigo acuna im financial

Growing in your career often entails a journey of growth, learning, and impactful experiences. Rodrigo Acuna’s path from his early days in a startup to his influential roles in investment banking and financial literacy programs exemplifies this trajectory. With roots in Mexico City and a career spanning continents, Acuna’s story is one of resilience, adaptability, and dedication to making a difference in underserved communities.

rodrigo acuna im financial win cover art

Rodrigo Acuna joined Carrie Richardson on the WIN – What’s Important Now Podcast to talk about his journey from Mexico to Miami and founding the startup fintech firm IM Financial.  Listen to the podcast on any podcast platform, or right here:


From Mexico City to Investment Banking

Rodrigo Acuna, born and raised in Mexico City, embarked on his professional journey after graduating with a degree in economics. His initial steps in the finance world were taken at an investment banking boutique that offered him a solid foundation in financial modeling and deal-making. Working closely with a mentor who valued talent development, Acuna quickly rose through the ranks, gaining hands-on experience and insights into the world of finance.

Transition to McKinsey and the World of Consulting

The transition from his boutique firm in Mexico to McKinsey in Miami marked a significant shift in Acuna’s career. At McKinsey, he specialized in advising financial institutions on technology and operations, focusing on the Latin American market. This role not only broadened his expertise but also honed his ability to navigate complex financial landscapes and implement best practices.

Embracing Challenges and Building Resilience

Acuna’s journey was not without its challenges. The demanding travel schedule and the pressures of consultancy work took a toll on his personal life. However, these experiences also built his resilience and adaptability, traits that would prove invaluable in his subsequent ventures. Despite the challenges, Acuna continued to expand his network and build a foundation for future opportunities.

Joining Morgan Stanley and Exploring Wealth Management

After gaining significant experience at McKinsey, Acuna transitioned to Morgan Stanley’s wealth management division. Here, he managed substantial assets and engaged in fast-paced trading and client management. His dedication and expertise in the field were evident as he navigated the complexities of wealth management for high-net-worth clients across diverse regions.

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Pursuing an MBA and Reinforcing Academic Foundations

Recognizing the need for further academic and professional growth, Acuna pursued an MBA at NYU, focusing on finance, technology, and banking. This academic pursuit was not just about acquiring knowledge but also about positioning himself for higher-level opportunities in investment banking. His time at NYU also allowed him to continue his passion for teaching, serving as a teaching assistant and sharing his knowledge with fellow students.

COVID-19 and a New Professional Chapter

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought unexpected changes. Working remotely in a city hit hard by the pandemic, Acuna faced new challenges. However, a serendipitous LinkedIn message from an NYU alumnus opened the door to a new opportunity. This led him to Dallas, where he joined a family office involved in diverse investments, from real estate to fintech.

Addressing Financial Inequities and Founding IM Financial

It was during his time in Dallas that Acuna, along with his co-founders, identified a significant gap in financial services for the Latino community. The high-interest rates and lack of access to mainstream banking services for this demographic spurred them to action. This led to the creation of IM Financial, a financial services marketplace aimed at bridging the gap and providing equitable financial opportunities for Latinos in the U.S.

Building a Customer-Centric Financial Services Platform

IM Financial focuses on strategic partnerships with balance sheet providers, banks, and other financial institutions to offer tailored financial products. The platform emphasizes financial literacy, providing users with educational content to help them make informed decisions. By addressing both the financial and educational needs of the Latino community, IM Financial aims to create a sustainable impact.

The Importance of Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is more than just understanding how to budget or save money; it is a crucial component in achieving financial stability and equity. According to Liberty Bay Credit Union, financial literacy helps close wealth gaps and promotes equity and inclusion​ (Liberty Bay Credit Union)​. Teaching personal finance from a young age can significantly impact long-term financial wellbeing, reducing wealth and pay gaps that persist across different demographics​ (Investopedia)​.

Effective Financial Education for Equity and Inclusion

More and more, people are recognizing the importance of accessible education. Financial literacy programs need to be designed using clear language and tailored to diverse learning needs. According to a study by the Journal of Financial Literacy and Wellbeing, financial literacy can even help in the implementation of economic reforms and improve long-term economic performance​ (Cambridge Journals)​. By providing equitable access to financial education, we can empower individuals to make informed decisions and participate more fully in the financial system.

IM financial logo rodrigo acuna

Innovative Approaches to Financial Literacy

One of the cornerstones of IM Financial’s approach is its commitment to financial literacy. Recognizing that a lack of financial education is a significant barrier, the platform includes educational videos and resources. These materials cover essential topics such as interest rates, budgeting, and credit management, ensuring that users are well-equipped to navigate the financial system.

Personal Reflections and the Importance of Giving Back

Throughout his career, Acuna has remained committed to giving back to the community. His involvement in financial literacy programs, both during his time at Morgan Stanley and beyond, highlights his dedication to empowering others. By sharing his knowledge and experiences, he has helped numerous individuals and families make informed financial decisions and achieve their goals.  One of the organizations Mr. Acuna volunteered with in Miami was KAPOW.


What motivated Rodrigo Acuna to transition from a boutique consulting firm in Mexico to a US investment bank?

Acuna’s desire to experience the high-paced environment of large-scale investment banking and his ambition to work on significant deals in major financial centers motivated his transition. His journey was marked by continuous learning and a drive to reach new professional heights.

How did Acuna’s experience at McKinsey shape his career?

Working at McKinsey provided Acuna with a broad perspective on financial operations and technology, especially in the Latin American market. It also helped him develop critical consulting skills and build a robust professional network.

What inspired the creation of IM Financial?

The recognition of financial inequities faced by the Latino community in the U.S. inspired Rodrigo Acuna and his co-founders to create IM Financial. They aimed to provide equitable financial services and education to underserved and underbanked individuals.

How does IM Financial address financial literacy?

IM Financial incorporates educational videos and resources into its platform, covering essential financial topics such as interest rates, budgeting, and credit management. This approach ensures users are well-informed and capable of making sound financial decisions.

What are some challenges Rodrigo Acuna faced during his career?

Acuna faced several challenges, including demanding travel schedules, work-life balance issues, and navigating career transitions. However, these challenges also built his resilience and adaptability, contributing to his professional growth.

How does Acuna’s background influence his work in financial literacy?

Acuna’s personal experiences with financial systems in both Mexico and the U.S. have given him a deep understanding of the challenges faced by underserved communities. This background drives his commitment to improving financial literacy and access to equitable financial services.

Making An Ongoing Impact

Rodrigo Acuna’s journey from a startup enthusiast to a prominent figure in investment banking and financial literacy advocacy is a testament to his resilience, adaptability, and dedication to making a difference. By leveraging his extensive experience and deep understanding of financial systems, Acuna continues to create impactful solutions that address financial inequities and empower underserved communities. His story serves as an inspiration for aspiring professionals and underscores the importance of successful founders giving back to society in meaningful ways that extend past financial philanthropy.

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