Fintech London

Next Money London – At A Glance

On a steaming hot day, 200 people piled into the Truman Brewery’s Boiler House. Warm winds of change are coming to the UK’s financial services, among the sources of this is surely the Leveche from Madrid. BBVA’s dominance of the progressive end of Europe’s Tier 1 banking world has not been subtle. After sponsoring the last two years of Wired Money they are the main sponsor today of Next Money, the inaugaural London event, 36th from the Australian producers of Next Money, already established in Hong Kong, Singapore, New York & Silicon Valley.

The day was broken into 3 distinct elements: panels, keynote talks & BBVA’s Open Talent pitching from 20 start ups. I’ve made an insultingly short summary of a very full day of these areas and have my full notes available on Linkedin (Max Kalis) if not included as an appendix here) and recommend you explore for yourself before make up your own mind on these things, people & ideas.

Panels
The key themes were Open Banking, Core Banking (Platforms), AI & SMEs. This can be understood as a combination of industry priorities for the year ahead and the availability of suitable speakers. All panels were interesting with the exception of AI panel which failed to reach the levels of insights and clarity of the others. There was also a fireside interview with Derek White on the subject of innovation for the largest banks. He has joined BBVA to boost its innovation agenda since March before which he was driving Barclays’ fintech & innovation. He has challenged convention by branding his new job title simply ‘Creating’.

Start Up Pitching
The judging criteria outlined by Derek White were: Market opportunity, stage of development, team quality, storytelling.
The 2 winners of $30k were PayKey which allows payments on any social media platform by adding payments via a keyboard extension and Musoni which has cloud based microfinance software reaching a significant audience across Africa.
One line summaries and arbitrary marks out of 10 for the others available below.

Keynotes
a) Gren Manuel, (Editor, Financial News), Brexit pessimist hoping to see the city being braver and taking on greater risks
b) Marco Bressan (Chief Data Scientist, BBVA), Data is soil’ analogy, fertile for growing value.
c) Helen Panzarino (ex Innovate Finance) Explored the changing nature of funding options.
d) David Rennie (Government Digital Services), Created a market for digital identity, following the Open Identity Exchange guidelines to be transparent and fair.

Full Notes Below:

1. PANELS
a) Open Banking (9/10)
Moderator – Aden Davies – (ABZD) States regulatory changes expected for Q1, 2018.
Liz Lumley – (Startupbootcamp) Banks will want minimum change. Starved of data from traditional banks but getting it from challengers.
Dan Morgan – (Innovate Finance). Regulation required for systemic change n FS. Wants more clear standards, less guidelines, saying banks say they’re unclear.
Scott Miller – (VP, Transferwise) Challenger banks need to raise bar. Partnered with Rafaelbank to be on Faster Payments.
Bill Roberts – (CMA) Report Summary just part of changes evolving, refers to Horizontal & Vertical approach to remedies, & says that open banking falls across both. Defends power of CMA describing changes as enforceable orders not suggestions (re standards for open APIs). 9 banks engaged but independent CMA appointed trustee to defend customers and increase competition in FS. Says not all banks have common view of open banking.

b) Core Banking (8/10)
Moderator – Jason Bates (Monzo, Moderator) M Bank have a new stack from scratch on Cobalt to be free to be flexible. More plug & play, less full stack at Temenos?
Jonas Hickerstein (Monzo) Modular changes required because the tangle of systems (some lost in time codefreeze, nobody understands). Core can directly impact on value for customers.
Megan Caywood (Starling). Just current account, maximising compatibility for other product providers.
Paul Taylor (Thought Machine). Competing with big old core providers e.g.Fiserve, FIS etc. Google ensure no systems are dead weight (should have tidied up). Problem: Negative cycle is budget spent mopping up maintenance so no improvements so no unhappier and fewer customers.
David Elliot (Solutions Architect, AWS) Banks (Ownauth?) fully on AWS. Half of Forbes Fintech 50 on AWS.
Ben Robinson (Temenos). Regulators worldwide accepting cloud a standard. Old guard weakness is batches approach, preventing realtime services. Problems are not mainframes but apps running on them.

c) Artificial Intelligence (4/10)
Pierre Goyeneix (Customer Matrix) Hurdles ahead outlined: Large amount of computing power required, & cloud’s suitability, hard to mix internal and external data.
Hoang Dang (BPCE) Africa focused branch & digital banking. Customer support AI.
Ore Adeyemi (Innovation Investments, HSBC) PFM, fraud focus.
Benoit Legrand (Head of Fintech, ING) Revenue

By Max Kalis, Influx Consulting – Independent Innovation & Fintech Consulting

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