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Olivia White

Senior Partner, Bay Area
Brings deep expertise in strategy, risk management, and operational transformations to financial institutions worldwide

About Olivia

Olivia is a member of the firm’s Financial Services, Risk & Resilience, and Social Sector Practices and coleads our global knowledge efforts in risk management.

Olivia advises banks and other financial institutions on a wide range of issues across strategy, organization, risk management, and operations. She has led transformative impact for many global financial institutions and corporate business functions. She has also worked extensively on financial inclusion and broader economic development, with a primary focus in emerging markets. Along with her expertise in risk and financial inclusion, Olivia has led projects focused on foundation portfolio construction, customer experience, digital payments, operational improvement, and organizational design.

Olivia has helped multiple institutions transform their enterprise-wide approach to risk management, drawing on deep expertise in risk appetite, identification, effectiveness and efficiency, organization and talent, culture, and other areas. In addition, she has advised numerous banks through the rigorous stress-testing processes including several major transformations related to comprehensive capital analysis and review (CCAR) as well as operational risk remediations. As part of these broader risk transformations, she has also led model risk management and model development efforts across multiple institutions.

Olivia has led extensive research efforts related to financial inclusion and economic development. For example, she has led efforts assessing the potential economic value from digital financial services in the developing world, examining the economics of global payment systems, and investigating risk associated with digitally enabled payments that serve financially excluded populations in the developing world. Her most recent research focused on the benefits and risks associated with Digital ID.

Olivia publishes frequently on topics related to risk and financial inclusion, most notably through the McKinsey Global Institute and McKinsey on Risk. In addition to her publishing efforts, she speaks regularly at large industry events and convenes executives in smaller roundtable formats to push the latest thinking in the industry.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Olivia was a Pappalardo fellow in physics at MIT, where she conducted research both in physics and in neuroscience.

Published work

Financial data unbound: The value of open data for individuals and institutions,” McKinsey & Company, June 2021

The resilience imperative: Succeeding in uncertain times,” McKinsey & Company, May 2021

How to spend $12 trillion,” Project Syndicate, March 2021

"A 2021 risk agenda for boards of directors at US banks," McKinsey & Company, February 2021 

COVID-19: Making the case for robust digital financial infrastructure,” McKinsey Global Institute, January 2021

How US customers’ attitudes to fintech are shifting during the pandemic,” McKinsey & Company, December 2020

Meeting the future: Dynamic risk management for uncertain times,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

Strengthening institutional risk and integrity culture,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

Ten things to know about gender equality,” McKinsey Global Institute, September 2020

Don't let the pandemic set back gender equality,” Harvard Business Review, September 2020

COVID-19 and gender equality: Countering the regressive effects,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

How COVID-19 has impacted Black-white financial inequality,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Financial life during the COVID-19 pandemic—an update,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Banking system resilience in the time of COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

A global view of financial life during COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

Stability in the storm: US banks in the pandemic and the next normal,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

The future of operational-risk management in financial services,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Leadership in the time of coronavirus: COVID-19 response and implications for banks,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020

Creating the bank enterprise risk management function of the future,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020

Making a Step Change in Risk Efficiency and Effectiveness,” The European Financial Review, August/September, 2019

Transforming risk efficiency and effectiveness,” McKinsey & Company, April 2019

Digital identification: A key to inclusive growth,” McKinsey Global Institute, April 2019

Nearly one billion people have no form of legal ID,” CNN Business, McKinsey Global Institute, February 2019

Digital identification: A key to inclusive growth summary findings,” McKinsey Global Institute, January 2019

The case for digitalization,” Project Syndicate, January 2019

Perspectives on CCAR: Preparing for 2019 amid expectations of regulatory relief,” McKinsey & Company, December 2018

Mobile money in emerging markets: The business case for financial inclusion,” McKinsey & Company, March 2018

The Value of Digitizing Government Payments in Developing Economies,” Digital Revolution in Public Finance, IMF, October 2017

Perspectives on CCAR: Confronting uncertainty in the 2018 cycle,” McKinsey & Company, August 2017

How digital finance could boost growth in emerging economies,” McKinsey Global Institute, September 2016

Perspectives on CCAR: Looking ahead to the 2017 cycle,” McKinsey & Company, July 2016


Harvard University
PhD, physics

Oxford University
MSc, mathematics (Rhodes Scholar)

Stanford University
BA; BS, physics and mathematics