5 Minutes With Matt Cox, Vice President and GM EMEA at FICO
We catch up with him about what inspires him in fintech, why he was always encouraged to get out and travel, plus the unexpected hobby he uses to unwind after a stressful day.
Describe your journey in financial services. How did you get here?
Before starting at FICO, I held various leadership roles at major banks. Barclays was my last home before FICO, and a joint venture between Barclays and Swedbank landed me in Sweden. They launched a business that covers primary countries in Scandinavia – Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and now they’re in Finland too. Before joining Barclays in 2008, I worked at Santander for five years and was part of the Abbey National acquisition in 2004. My work experience initially focused on the UK market but, as time went on, I covered most of the international portfolios and was on the banking side as an expert in fraud and risk.
I’ve really enjoyed working internationally. I’ve been lucky enough to stay in countries with different cultures to those I grew up in and that gives you a whole new perspective, especially helpful when joining a global operation like FICO. My background is in transformation, and I’m always interested in strategy and analytics. All of this combined led me to a career with FICO.
What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Get out and see as much of the world as you can. My family always encouraged me to travel, and I’m glad they did! It’s not just about learning and appreciating differences in cultures, but also the similarities.
Travelling helps you build your adaptability, resilience, and creativity. Getting lost in a foreign country where few people speak English is a great way to learn new languages and things about yourself you didn’t already know.
In my work life, some of the best advice I’ve received centres around learning and trying new things. No matter what position you may have risen to, there is always another lesson to learn or voice to be heard. In fact, the more your career progresses, the more important it is to see real value in developing new skills and abilities. There are countless opportunities to learn and if you stop looking for them, you will not only stall, but slide back in your progression. This is a crucial consideration in the world of fraud. Scams develop at a rapid pace and to think you’ve seen it all before is a huge mistake.
Name one piece of technology you couldn’t live without and why
I’m a big fan of electronic music and, before starting my professional career, I travelled to do a bit of DJing in nightclubs. That hobby has stayed with me throughout my career and now plays a prominent role in helping me unwind after a stressful day or week. Therefore, my DJ equipment is probably something I couldn’t live without nowadays.
Who do you look up to in terms of leadership and mentorship?
It’s hard to pick just one! We all have our different strengths, and I like to have lots of sources. Whether at work or in my personal life, leaders have always been those who work diligently and are driven by the prospect of supporting others.
I always have respect for colleagues across the industry who break new ground. The strong leaders I’ve seen are brave enough to make mistakes but are quick to learn from them and adapt accordingly.
There are a few key figures who mentored me early on in my career, and my hope now is to be able to do the same with new recruits at FICO. It’s all about passing on knowledge acquired through the years so they progress at a fast pace.
Which major emerging trend in fintech excites you the most right now?
Rising consumer awareness around scams and fraud in general is great to see. Widespread educational efforts made by banks and financial service providers are coming to fruition and are helping authorities catch criminals.
We survey consumers across the world every year and the results show not only an increased awareness and proactive nature around scams, but a desire for banks to have strong fraud teams. Our most recent consumer survey shows that strong fraud protection was the top priority when choosing a financial institution. This has almost become a new marketing tool for banks, to show they are ahead of the curve and actively preventing financial fraud.
What is crucial, however, is that this trend does not stop. Fraudsters showed their ingenuity during the pandemic. When the world moved online, they knew there was ample opportunity and a new wave of scams surged across the market.
Describe yourself in three words
Adaptable, determined, and innovative.
What inspires you in fintech today?
The limits of decisioning technology are pushed further back as we dive deeper into data. It’s impressive to see the complex questions we can answer through the consolidation of software. Across most of their departments, banks run decision engines that, for example, keep finances secure, offer lines of credit, or plan collections.
We’re finally starting to see a more connected approach to managing customers and the customer journey, so rather than multiple systems making individual decisions, a bank would have one “brain” coordinating all these decisions.
What’s next for Matt Cox?
In the last five years or so, FICO has accelerated its development of the FICO Platform and our analytical capabilities. The growth trajectory of the platform across multiple use-cases has hit double digits, and we are seeing a 40-50% year-on-year growth on our platform. I moved to Managing Director and General Manager of EMEA at FICO in December 2021, and my focus will be to continue our fantastic growth trajectory.