David Vanek: “The UK needs to nurture fintech talent”
The insurance market is a complicated dinosaur in comparison to other financial sectors. We’ve seen radical innovation in other areas, such as ISA Investment and mobile banking. Insurance can sometimes come across as out of touch.
Following the wake of the global pandemic, life insurance, and protection products are more visible now than they’ve ever been before. Yet at the same time, 53% of people still have no protection in the UK and 54% don’t understand how to fully protect themselves, or how much they should spend.
The pandemic has led to a significant boost in people researching how life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection can help protect their families, with over eight million 22 to 44-year-olds considered taking out life insurance in the last three months, but the education out there is still incredibly limited or hard to come by. This means there is a huge appetite for innovative tech solutions in the insurance sector at the moment, to help people to access this kind of crucial financial information.
As lockdowns continue to gradually lift across Europe and the UK, it’s vital that we continue to support this industry growth and don’t slip back into our old, outdated habits. To best achieve this, we need to ensure that funds are directed towards the sector to allow for even more innovation and a clear roadmap is created to make sure we continue to have access to the incredible talent across the globe.
I co-founded Anorak in 2017 with Vincent Durnez after we realised there was a gap in the life insurance market for unbiased advice for anyone who needs it. On the Anorak platform, we ask people to input some key info about their lives, then use technology to calculate their needs and recommend the most suitable policies for them – as opposed to just pointing them towards the cheapest option, like a price comparison site.
However, many of the financial products out there are still extremely complex, designed to be sold through traditional advisers face-to-face - a service most people don’t have access to anyway, let alone during the time of a global pandemic. As a result, providers have had to adapt to survive, and we’ve experienced accelerated demand from new distribution partners, including large retail banks, as they work to keep up with the demand for online services.
At present, London is still the best hub for creating and scaling fintech and insurtech business. The city has an enormous range of financial services companies, is host to the FCA, plus attracts expertise and talent from across the globe. It’s these reasons that attracted us to found Anorak here, and why many of the best international investors have their European base in the City.
As we look to grow, we have come up against a barrier when it comes to finding the right talent. The introduction of a visa programme specifically for the FinTech sector is an encouraging first step, however, I feel it’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of the changes needed to the UK immigration system if London wants to retain its global financial powerhouse status. If London intends to nurture and maintain it’s innovative fintech industry culture, it’s vital that the Government ensures challenger companies can access continental European markets, along with an international talent pipeline.
Pictured: David Vanek
State Street launch crypto service for private funds clients
State Street Corporation is now expanding its push into the cryptocurrency industry by launching new digital asset services. It will provide digital and cryptocurrency asset fund administration capabilities for the firm’s private funds clients.
In partnership with Lukka, a leading enterprise crypto asset data, and software provider, State Street will support its private fund clients with collection, standardisation, enrichment, reconciliation, processing, and reporting related to crypto and other digital assets.
The partnership is State Street’s latest effort in the digital and crypto-asset space following the launch of State Street Digital, a division focused on addressing the industry’s evolving shift to digital finance, and comes after Lukka’s Series C funding round in December of 2020, which was led by State Street.
A rise in digital assets
“The growth in popularity of digital assets is showing no signs of a slowdown and State Street Digital is committed to continuing to build out the necessary infrastructure to further develop our digital assets servicing models to help meet our clients’ growing demands,” said Nadine Chakar, head of State Street Digital. “Our work with Lukka will leverage their software and data in order to help expand our digital and crypto asset fund administration capabilities to alternative managers is just another advancement in our digital solution set and marks a very exciting development.”
State Street will leverage Lukka’s product suite, which includes a proprietary middle and back-office data management solution, purpose-built for blockchain and crypto-asset data, as well as Lukka Reference Data, and Lukka Prime Pricing Data. This will enable State Street to consume crypto assets that are comingled within a private client’s traditional alternative investments portfolios.
“As our clients continue to adopt digital assets, such as crypto, we’ve seen increasing interest among investors for institutional quality middle and back-office offerings that support diversified portfolios,” said Jen Tribush, alternatives lead for State Street Digital.“ Lukka was the ideal partner to help provide these services given their leading position in crypto asset data as State Street continues to add to our growing offering in the digital asset space.”