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Photo of the audience at FinTech Talents 2019

Key takeaways from

FinTECHTalents 2019

For three days in November (11th–13th) major players in the UK’s fintech community gathered at the Printworks in London to analyze and discuss a range of issues in the sector.

Themes such as the future of banking, the need for greater collaboration, the impact of AI and, of course, digital transformation were covered.

The future of banking was the expected baseline topic, with speakers and delegates connecting over the need for greater collaboration, partnerships and the role of digital transformation.

Artificial Intelligence was another focal point with a number of illuminating discussions covering its impact and obvious potential.

David Murphy

Financial Services Lead

Matthew Locsin

Matthew Locsin, Head of Innovation

Matthew speaks to the FinTECHTalents team about a range of issues covered at the event and beyond

In the keynote debate on Day 1, HSBC’s Global Head of Digital, Josh Bottomley acknowledged the huge opportunities for AI and machine learning in banks, but in the context of human collaboration:

“The skills are less about filling in the forms … it’s much more about decision support. It’s going to feel more like a therapy session, helping customers with their money, with their future and what they need.”

Expanding on Josh Bottomley’s points, Publicis Sapient’s Senior Director of Data Science and Analytics, Dr Kanishka Bhattacharya talked broadly about the need for people to appreciate the role of data in order to advance its use and usefulness.

Photo of the Publicis Sapient booth at FinTechTalents 2019
“Many governments and regulatory bodies globally are still trying to understand the moral and ethical issues around data. There is a lot in the grey zone at the moment.”

“My concern is the lack of technical understanding across many large organizations,” he said. “Many governments and regulatory bodies globally are still trying to understand the moral and ethical issues around data. There is a lot in the grey zone at the moment.”

For Kanishka Bhattacharya, obstacles in the way of established financial institutions becoming data-driven organizations are obvious.

“I find the fundamental reasons are lack of suitable skills at leadership levels and a misalignment between incentivization structures and the need to change. A short term view of business performance has not helped the case for change in many large organizations. The level of urgency is simply not where it should be.”

“A short term view of business performance has not helped the case for change in many large organizations.”

Another key takeaway from the three days was a session on network effects. Martin McCann, CEO of Trade Ledger, Evgenia Plotnikova, Principal VC at Dawn Capital and Tide CEO Oliver Prill gathered on the Strategy Stage to discuss the importance of network effects in financial services: the types that can be generated, challenges related to exporting across geographies and more.

The three echoed Kanishka Bhattacharya’s comments on data as a barrier to development of network effects across banking, tech and investment.

For Martin McCann at Trade Ledger, the first issue is having enough quality data that allows innovation to flourish, alongside solving trust issues on both sides of the network. For Oliver Prill at Tide, having the data is not enough to generate network effects—it’s about what the user adds to the data. Taking this further, Evgenia Plotnikova from the VC perspective, sees great product as crucial. Network effects can just as easily be accelerated by poor products but only those businesses that understand and capitalise on their place in the value chain, leveraging their data for specific purposes and audiences, will be around for the long haul.

In his keynote address on the Welcome Stage, Matt Locsin, Publicis Sapient’s Head of Innovation, also touched on network effects, discussing the relevance and effectiveness of platforms and what banks need to do to thrive in an age of disruption. Matt explored the subject in more detail in a recent article.

Our final big takeaway from FinTECHTalents 2019 was from the session, Digital Transformation—getting it done. Speakers, including Jamie Broadbent from RBS International and Roberta Profeta from Intesa Sanpaulo, debated the future of legacy banks, the true value and impact of challengers and the essential relevance of banks as a thing. Despite the various conflicting views—expressed passionately at times—all agreed that change is inevitable, with digital business transformation playing a key role in determining the way forward.

“What will be interesting is seeing how the banking model changes. I think in the next ten years it won’t be linear change it will be exponential change and suddenly banking will become invisible. No one will do it anymore, it will just happen.”
Jamie Broadbent, RBS International

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