Fintech LIVE LONDON 2022 round-up and dates for 2023
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into the mansion of an eccentric billionaire walking into Magazine, London on a crisp morning in early November. Entering the huge black fortress on the bank of Canary Wharf for FinTech LIVE London 2022. Yet, you trust you’d found the right place.
The idea of trust permeates the financial sector, which relies so heavily on the management of risk. From handing out loans, accepting venture capital investments, to the socially built and somewhat arbitrary trust of the blockchain system that underpins cryptocurrencies. Without trust - an entire industry crumbles.
Betting on the right horse
The conversation at FinTech LIVE was no different as Stephen Roche, President & Co-Founder, and his twin brother Gabino Roche Jr, CEO & Co-Founder, of Headline Sponsor, Saphyre, took to the stage with Series A & Strategic Partners. Series A, referring to the first round of funding fledgling businesses undertake after seed capital, is the earliest introduction many business leaders have to risk. Take a chance on the wrong investor and you gamble on your company.
“We’re going to buy you and you’re going to be millionaires”, recalls Gabino Roche Jr as he speaks on an early offer they received, “...sounds tempting”. But upon learning that their initial investors would not come out of the deal so well off, Stephen and Gabino chose not to risk their integrity by discarding the friends and family who helped them get their start. This was not the only lucrative deal the pair walked away from, but with enough confidence in their product, and their saleability as The Saphyre Twins, they knew that they could negotiate better for themselves.
Open Banking, climate crisis and customer centricity in fintech
Trusting your gut when it comes to making a deal is one thing, another is the ability to build trust in you as a Financial Service provider. A concept that was at the heart of the conversation between Constanza Castro Feijoo, Stakeholder Engagement Manager at OBIE, Rolands Mesters, CEO & Co-Founder at Nordigen and Nicole Green, VP Product Strategy and Operations for Yapily as they discussed Open Banking.
In a post-Frances Haugen whistleblowing world, allowing businesses to openly share personal data, even with trusted 3rd parties, can be a scary thought. However, as Adam Rimmer, CEO at FloodFlash, who spoke on the How Climate Change Affects the Future of Insurance said, it is about reframing how we speak to customers, essentially, customers will accept certain invasions of privacy if you offer them value in return. As Rolands Mesters puts it, the idea of Open Banking was created to give account holders more control by creating better services with less barriers to accessing their finances. It’s an unfortunate fact of modern life that for greater convenience we have no option but to trade our privacy.
Yet, despite the perception created during the 2008 banking crisis, today’s Financial Institutions really are trying to put the well-being of customers at the centre of everything. In fact, during conversation on Unpacking the Futuristic World of Biometric Payments, Virtual Cards & Robot Bankers, Axel Cateland, Head of Banking at Spendesk, revealed that Spendesk have spearheaded a campaign to give virtual cards to employees, so while incurring expenses on the job, they never need to be out of pocket. A noble cause when emphasis on employee welfare has become such a major component of retaining staff in all sectors.
But that isn’t all, the entire basis of virtual banking, biometric payments, and AI is intended to make the experience of the end user quicker and more seamless. And it’s working. As Will Sorby, Director of Product, Financial Empowerment at N26 states, through use of AI “80% of the time we have an accurate understanding of what a customer is looking for just by what they type into the app for their first question”. As with many Financial Service providers, the ultimate goal is to help customers navigate their complicated financial lives as easily as possible.
With this new age of social media, companies can no longer hide their intentions towards their customers. Too many wrong moves will get you called out with a low rating and scathing review. The mindset of ‘Us vs Them’ that used to underpin many different retail sectors, most notoriously Insurance, is becoming a thing of the past. In the Insurance and the Need for Customer Centricity panel, James Wright, Head of Technology at Beazley, and Adam Powell, COO for Policy Expert, explained that customers simply won’t stay with providers who treat them with disdain.
Harkening back to a comment made by Jennifer Bisceglie, CEO & Founder of Interos, at Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE back in October 2022. She stated that the modern customer isn’t loyal to any particular brand and will go for the most convenient product at the most convenient price. In Finance, new Service Providers spring up daily that are hungry to compete in the market. This saturation heavily penalises companies who are unwilling to adapt with services that put the customer at the centre of operations. Customers want to know that their insurance provider is on their side and will come through if the worst happens.
Fintech, DeFi and economic instability
This has never been truer today. Climate change is making modern living more unstable. Countries anticipating a future fight for resources are acting accordingly, along with two years of disruption created by the pandemic, which has led to unrest and uncertainty across the globe. In Finance, the ‘boom and bust’ cycle that most recently caused a significant downturn in the cryptocurrency market has shaken the confidence of many investors. One conversation that brought this into sharp focus was The Longevity of Crypto in the Modern Day Economy, where Yorick Naeff, CEO at BUX, Rupert Poland, Vice President - UK Financial Institutions Digital Asset Lead with Marsh & McLennan Companies, and Saphyre’s Gabino Roche Jr discussed if Crypto was still viable.
While Yorick agreed with Rupert’s assertion that there have been a lot of macroeconomic conditions that created volatility in the market, he said it’s also “just part of growing up” the fact that we have been so spoiled with the growth of the market over the past few years has distorted the optics making this sudden downturn seem more extreme, “this is a completely new asset class opening up the market to new types of investors [...] there’s no regulation yet. It’s really the Wild West.”
Gabino also warned that, while the market was still viable, decentralised currencies could be used as a means of control by corrupt governments. The desired financial freedom promised by this market could also be its downfall. We have to look to the future and hope that the risks we take today are going to pan out. It is important to use technology to gain insights into how our world is changing, such as through climate change or civil unrest, not only to try to find ways to protect our assets, but also to understand how to respond differently to ensure different outcomes.
Register your interest for 2023's Fintech LIVE London
After two days of intense discussion, the event had to come to an end. Though you may have missed FinTech LIVE 2022, there is always another opportunity to rub shoulders with the biggest and brightest in the Financial Sector. For more great stories and networking opportunities, FinTech LIVE London will return 8-9 November 2023. REGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE to receive updates on the event and special offers.
What you missed: 3000 top executives across Finance, Insurance and Crypto registered both in person and online eager to hear from top minds tackling the recovery of crypto after the ‘dark summer’ that sent stock values plummeting, the adoption of Open Banking, virtual finance and the impact of biometric authentications, the new customer centric insurance model, women’s experiences in the Financial Sector, and how climate change is affecting the future of insurance.