Group Chief Data Officer, Pepper Financial Services Group
The world of financial services has shifted, with the past decade particularly having ushered in a raft of new technologies that have transformed the industry globally.
Andrew Day, CDO for Pepper Financial and data leader with a career background that saw him spend many years in the telecommunications industry, believes the use of data will be key in improving the financial well-being of millions of people globally, who have been left behind by traditional financial systems.
The key to better customer services, products, and a healthier financial market, is all dependent on how data is used. In the world of finserve, it’s also a way to bring financial literacy and accessibility to those who have been sidelined by traditional institutions.
Defining useful data sources
Deciphering which data is the most useful in assessing customer reliability, is where Day’s former experience in telecommunications comes into its own.
Pepper is concentrating more on long-term value for customers rather than short-term sales. Their aim is to build a relationship with their users, providing them with a range of services that keep them coming back for life-cycle events.
He explains, “Mobile telco data becomes important in some markets and there are a number of people that are building credit scores from mobile phone data. We actually see the world in more than one dimension from a scoring perspective.
The credit score is one thing, but also the ability for us to manage a customer through a life cycle, to think about lifetime value or longevity of loan, the ability to cross and upsell are all part of that scoring process, and so the more data, both specific customer level data that you might get from a mobile phone or from an app, a wallet or whatever, as well as markets data, location data is valuable.”
Data harvesting and management
As the IoT grows exponentially, too many businesses have fallen foul of regulations, by either selling customer data to third party companies, getting bogged down with data gravity and silos, or even letting sensitive and exploitative information fall into the hands of cybercriminals. Managing the way data is collected, used, stored and then disposed of, is a task that bears heavy legal and ethical ramifications – and even in the most organized of companies, it’s a challenging task.
Day explains, “I would like to say it's really clean and straightforward. But that's far from the case. Pepper has a standard footprint of technologies. But like every group company, it’s not helpful or practical to mandate the specific use of these in each of the business units. They are at liberty to create or choose the technologies that help them deliver the service they need to deliver into the local market. We're there obviously to provide advice, but we certainly aren't the tech and data police.”
Day’s job is to make sure all units are operating as efficiently as possible. And to do that Pepper uses technologies that include Microsoft Azure and GCP. These are paired with tooling that is core to data management, enabling the data to be shared across the group.
In conclusion, Day says that across the board, financial services institutions don’t think long term – and that’s where Pepper Financial differentiates itself from the crowd. He explains, “I think in the financial services world, a lot of organisations think about that one time transaction. How do I sell this customer a loan? How do I sell this customer a pension? How do I sell them a product? I might sound like a bit of a broken record, but providing customers with an opportunity to re-engage with you is the thing that I think will set the winners apart from the losers.
He adds, “For me, that means the key measure of success probably isn't AUM or the number of products you've sold, it's lifetime value, and I think that's probably the number one change that customers deserve, and it kind of re-frames the whole financial services conversation.”
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