Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS) brought together over 2000 attendees, including business leaders, investors, start-ups and policymakers to discuss the future of fintech.
Highlights included presentations from the likes of Lance Uggla, who told his story of founding Markit then taking the company from being worth zero to $19bn. There were also inspiring stories shared by Anne Boden from Starling Bank, Ron Kalifa from WorldPay, and Jeff Lynn from Seedrs on how to inspire the next generation of FinTech Leaders.
The following represent some of the key themes to emerge from the event:
1. Global Financial Inclusion Means Opportunity
There are more than two billion people unbanked globally, and millions more excluded from the majority of banking services due to their economic and social backgrounds. Although emerging markets present multiple risks, the untapped technological potential also creates a wealth of opportunities for FinTechs around the globe.
2. AI Will Increasingly Support Data-Driven Decisions
The increased automation and resultant efficiencies from the use of AI means internal processes are dramatically quicker than they once were, and company decision-makers are now being provided with reliable data enabling them to make business decisions in a more timely manner.
However, leaders in this space will need to start asking more ethical questions moving forward when it comes to AI, and how predictions based on it impacts decisions. Panellists stressed the need for big data to be used responsibly, while also raising concerns that the mass adoption of AI could cause significant unemployment.
3. Tech Companies Have Now Become Data Companies
Big Tech giants and small software developers are expected to face increasing scrutiny over how they share customer data, especially after the recent scandal involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Tightening regulations could limit the supply of innovative tools built on data sharing, but some providers will undoubtedly welcome the changes putting customer security back at the core.
4. Firms Will Need to Beef Up Their Cybersecurity Capabilities
In the financial services sector, the threat of a cyber-attacks, compromised data or damaged infrastructure could affect customers on a global scale. If financial service providers want to fully protect themselves, and their data in an increasingly interconnected digital world, they will need to collaborate with specialised cybersecurity startups both at a national and international level, to better prepare for inevitable future cyber-threats.
5. Fintechs Will Need to Collaborative More Effectively
Adrian Black, NorthRow’s CEO, took to the panel session to discuss ‘The Collaborative Economy: Who Do You Trust?’ . Fellow panellists included Eric Mouilleron CEO of Bankable, Jennifer Reynolds President & CEO of Toronto Financial Services Alliance and Liesbeth Rigter CEO of Moneyou. As Financial Services become increasingly open and collaborative, with new initiatives like Open Banking and Blockchain, the panellists talked about the need to have better ways to establish trust.
Adrian Black explained that challenger banks, mobile banking apps and increased competition as a result of Open Banking is fueling demand from customers to be able to open new bank accounts quickly, easily and remotely. Although remote account opening and apps accessing multiple banks introduces new risks, it also creates opportunities to improve the customer experience.
He went on to argue, that collaboration and trust between financial institutions and fintech players is crucial as we move away from paper-based identity verification and towards digital client passports. Collaboration is needed for consumers to have the confidence to trust new banks and new open banking apps.
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