May 16, 2020

Q&A with Seb Taveau of Envestnet on the relationship between fintech and banks

Seb Taveau
Amber Donovan-Stevens
3 min
Seb Taveau is theVP of Developer Experience at Envestnet . Here in a short Q&A, he answers questions on on the relationship between banks and fintec...

Seb Taveau is the VP of Developer Experience at Envestnet . Here in a short Q&A, he answers questions on on the relationship between banks and fintechs, and the future of these collaborations. 

1.       Are banks working harmoniously to formulate a positive culture of innovation and collaboration within fintech?

The need for banks to invest time and resources into innovation is nothing new, but has escalated in the past 10 years as digital has become the norm. As challengers rose and began competing for the same users, some banks took drastic measures.

Particularly within the UK, banks started feeling the heat when challengers scaled big enough to own more and more of the market share.

The US has fostered a stronger sense of collaboration. Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, PNC, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo recently worked together on a unique strength with the launch of Zelle. They’ve also invested in time to create joint ventures outside the banks’ sphere of influence.

Are the banks working together? Yes. Is it smooth sailing? Not always. There will always be competitive suspicion which slows down these engagements. The important part is that we carry on trying, for the consumer.

2.       What is the relationship like between the entrepreneurial, risk-taking culture at fintechs and banks with whom they are increasingly working more closely?

There is significant tension and concern from risk-averse banks around the ‘move fast and break things’ attitude of many fintech startups. As an industry, though, I think we’re seeing more and more examples of traditional banks working with financial players such as PayPal, Square and Stripe.

And when it works, it works really well.

Banks are starting to hire from fintechs to increase in-house innovation and promote digital solutions. Many banks have even created internal incubators or accelerator programs to foster and grow start-ups and to create a portfolio of start-ups working on ideas which interest them.


3.       What does the future of this relationship look like?

Ultimately, banks rely on fintechs to compete outside the boundaries of audit and regulations, and fintechs need banks to foster a sense of trust with consumer bases.

As long as a gap exists, the two will be able to interact symbiotically. With that said, however, it’s critical that any partnership enables both parties to learn and grow, or risk the gap widening and banks – and consumers – losing out.

4.       What will the future working relationship look like?

Increased collaboration – banks and fintechs will need to continue joining forces in order to best serve the market. Ultimately this will be a win-win situation, but there will be struggles along the way. What matters is that the customer is put first – therein lies the key for success.



Sebastien Taveau, VP Developer Experience


“Taveau is a puzzle solver and beyond-the-horizon watcher, Sebastien experience spans more than 20 years in the fields of POS, mobile payment, mobile security, mobile identity and consumer solutions.

His executive vision was key in delivering the first turn-key pre certified POS solution, the first successful mobile payment wallet, the first mainstream consumer biometrics payment system and one of the most successful effort around Open API and developers engagement for several international technology companies such as PayPal, Validity, and MasterCard.

At Envestnet Yodlee, his role is to manage the developer experience via the developer portal and other engagements with developers to make Yodlee a true destination experience for all, from the fintech entrepreneur to the large corporate coder.

Prior to Yodlee, Taveau was Chief Technologist at Zelle/Early Warning Services, Chief Developer Evangelist for MasterCard, CTO for Validity and Principal/Astronomer at PayPal.”

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Jun 10, 2021

FIVE things fintechs must do to keep investors onboard

Brandon Rembe, CPO, Envestnet...
4 min
Fintech innovations drew in first-time investors who reshaped the markets. What new advancements will help them continue their rise?

New investors flocked to the stock market during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-eight percent of investors said they had never had a brokerage or similar account before opening one in 2020.

Low or no-fee trading options have helped accelerate the trend – nearly half of new investors said they accessed their account primarily through a mobile app. As FinTechs, how do we create the trust needed to keep new investors in the market and create a fruitful customer experience for them?

The financial industry does a disservice to individual investors if we merely offer tools that focus on making money quickly, an approach that usually backfires. Instead, the surge of interest presents an enormous opportunity for those who want to help more consumers use financial technology to educate them on responsible spending, saving, and investing in order to achieve financial wellness current fintech tools have welcomed individual investors in the door.

Now, it’s time to focus on education and improving their experience going forward. There are several ways those of us in fintech can step up to shape the future of retail investing so that it works better for everyone, starting with the following areas.

Equal access to financial wellness education

Financial health should be available to everyone — but today, not everyone has the educational resources to achieve it. One study shows that only 3.9% of students from low-income schools were required to take a personal finance class. What they aren’t learning in school or from family members, fintech companies can provide on their platforms.

The companies should move from solely offering financial services to a more responsible model of education, advice, and prescriptive choices to help consumers develop better habits and make wiser financial decisions. Not only can they empower consumers and bridge historical wealth divides, but they can also stimulate growth by opening up new consumer segments.

More personalisation

Just as we’ve come to expect that our fitness routines are tailored to our individual bodies, we’re also ready for finance tools that go beyond one-size-fits-all solutions. But only six percent of financial institutions say they’re using the kind of technology that allows them to deliver a deeply personalized experience. Fintech tools need to reflect that financial success looks different for each of us.

For one consumer, it may mean providing guidance on how to pay off student loans early; for another, it may mean prescriptive actions that enable them to stick to a budget for the first time; for a third, it could look like prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments, so that her portfolio aligns with her political beliefs.

Now, we are seeing financial technology beginning to meet the demands of personalized finance in a substantial and meaningful way.

The rise of AI-Powered Advice

Big-picture advice and predictive guidance used to be a feature of high-end financial advisory firms — a perk only available to those who could afford it. But thanks to rapid advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), that kind of holistic advice is now more accessible than ever. AI-driven robo-advisors can parse many different streams of financial information, delivering customized answers to key questions: Is it time to buy a home, or is it smarter to keep renting? Can I afford to take out another student loan?

Intelligent connectivity powered by AI can anticipate consumers’ needs and next steps, making proactive suggestions that guide them along the path to financial wellbeing. Fintech companies can also help consumers identify when their financial picture becomes too complex for a robo-advisor, and help them find a human financial advisor to meet their needs. 

Focus on financial mental health

New investors are quickly finding that the market can be overwhelming. That’s not surprising, financial anxiety is common and studies show that financial stress can have an impact on mental health for some.

It’s not enough for fintech companies to give retail investors access; they also must provide the guidance and support that help consumers manage their financial well-being. Educational tools can ensure that consumers are well informed about their options.

Predictive analytics can anticipate consumers’ questions, serving them key information and insights before they ask. Features that emphasize a comprehensive notion of financial well-being, rather than short-term wins and losses, can also help ensure that consumers are keeping their eyes on the bigger picture.

Gamification for good

The surge of gamification apps has done an impressive job making investing as engaging as playing a video game or joining a social media platform.

Much of the current use of gamification emphasizes short-term thinking, but there’s also an opportunity to help consumers think more broadly about their overall financial picture. One example is peer benchmarking, a feature that enables help consumers to see how their financial habits compare to those of friends and fellow consumers.

Gamification can also be used to incentivize making smaller, smarter choices — for example, rewarding saving over making an impulse buy.

The future of fintech is about more than just broadening access to the markets. It’s about making sure more individuals have access to the tools that can help improve their financial well-being—in the ways that suit their own circumstances and needs. The potential to act within their own set of individual priorities, with their long-term financial wellness in mind is much more empowering to a consumer than simply relying on short-term, high-risk investments.

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