Time flies when you are enjoying ourselves and for todays special celebration we have one taboo topic and one private topic so ideally suited to a solo act. For the main course we get a peep into my upcoming book on the Fintech Board – or more broadly the development of a SmallCo Board as it matures. A topic I have been researching for many months with over three dozen folks who are experts on this topic including over two dozen leading UK Fintech CEOs.
For the starter course we have a dive into a February attempt by a UK politician – largely successful to bully some UK Fintechs into having gender quotas for their boards. Without a law, a regulation, just pure PR pressure and bullying. A shocking incident that – unsurprisingly virtually every one of the dozen or so (pretty random) London Fintechs kept its head well below the parapet on and just went along with.
Since Anil and MarketInvoicewere last on the LFP, and no doubt as a direct result, they have gone from having done ~£1/2bn to ~£2bn and remain the Invoice Financing market leaders as well as having expanded their product range.
Anil joins us today to discuss all things cashflow re the vital financing of UK SMEs which account for 60% of employment in the UK and over 50% of GDP.
Many electrons have been agitated to produce patterns of light and dark on this topic. Which is probably more interesting aphenomenon than the average article on Open Banking. Ignore it we cannot however and uber-Fintech Guru (in the true sense, not self-penned LinkedIn encomium) Nigel Verdon, founder of Currency Cloud and now founder and CEO of Railsbank joins us to work out what is really going on and where challenges lie.
Nigel is no mere Fintecher with his own opinion. Way back in LFP024 Nigel shared his experience of 25yrs in Fintech – and hardcore fintech at that from doing the first online FX deal in 1992, through running digital markets at Dresdner Kleinworts to founding Currency Cloud. Since when he has VCed and now for some time been CEO and founder of Railsbank.
So someone with a very informed opinion. Open Banking is very much an evolving topic. So LFP060, an overview with Paul Thomalla at ACI Worldwide, is still #2 in the LFP all-time download charts. As recently as LFP087 Louise Beaumont argued that its not really about tech & reg but far more about strategy.
Which UK FIntech does $3trn of business per annum and are in 7 countries? Well I guess for readers on the website the pic above is a bit of a hint. David Mercer CEO LMAX Exchange joins us today to dive into the subject of marketplaces which have been a fundamental part of culture forever and a fundamental part of Fintech as a mechanism for connecting buyer and seller more efficiently.
LMAX Exchange’s claim is that they are leading the global FX industry transformation to transparent and fair execution. Sounds good but before we get around to that we look in depth at Marketplaces per se.
Which Fintech started in a basement in Stockwell, has done over £65bn of FX business, do over 1 million transfers a year with 600 staff in 7 offices, whose chairman is a former deputy Governor of the Bank of England and according to price comparison sites offer better prices than other Fintech FX players on virtually all sizes of deal?
Worldfirst as many of you might not have guessed (though those of you reading this online will have had a huge hint in terms of the banner above 😀
Jonathan Quin their co-founder and CEO for 14yrs joins us today to discuss the art and science of international expansion – a truly vital step if UK Fintechs are ever to move beyond a potential audience of 1% of the world’s population to far far more.
In this New Year Special I’ll survey the state of the art and present a report card for each of the main Fintech sectors – P2P, Bitcoin, Blockchain, Money, App-only banks, Insuretech, Digital I.M., Regtech, Payments and a deeper dive into the leading AI of 2017. We also examine the broader context for Fintech – namely US Tech Giants who had a seismic shift in 2017.
No awards as such this year but plenty of honourable mentions and a host of goodies for those of you in search of new ideas.
Data is the new oil ‘innit. Fintechs use it by the bucketload don’t they? Incumbents are slow off the blocks aren’t they? What if a lot of this is simply not true? What if its hype and spin? What is the reality?
We are joined today by Max Pell CEO of Validis a Fintech based in London and Austin Texas who seamlessy connect data in SME end systems to your hot sexy Fintech or solidly engineered incumbent. Clients include Barclays, RBS, most of the Big4 accountants and a number of Fintechs so Max is well placed to talk about what is actually going on.
What if the world isn’t as we have been led to believe? What if the reality is that many Fintechs are focuse don being marketing machines and are not that data rich? Eg and esp in P2P. Well that hooked me as I have long felt/intuited/been winked at that all these quotes complex unqotes credit models are not actually – er – complex.
What if the reality was that in new FS and old FS organisations have actually, away from the PR froth and hype, only started putting their toes in the shallow end let alone actually swimming?
What if (as Louise Beaumont was saying in LFP087) most organisations haven’t grasped the strategic implications of data?
Can we (as Snowden and more senior ex spy-industry have argued) have too much data? Can we then start to lose the wood in the trees?
His essential insight is that “shareholder value” has become an ideology of value extraction entirely lacking a theory of value creation. In past decades Financialisation as a whole has led the US from being a “retain and reinvest economy” to a “downsize and distribute economy”.
We dive into not just the ideology of shareholder value which has turned out to damage society and help create massively increased inequality but also Bill’s theory of the Innovative Enterprise and how we might fix the broken system to produce more equitable growth. To quote wiki:
Much of his current work focuses on how the financialization of the U.S. industrial corporation, manifested in massive distributions of corporate cash to shareholders and the explosion of stock-based executive pay, results in employment instability and income inequity, while undermining the innovative capability of the U.S. economy.
Bill’s work, over nigh on five decades, has been most recently funded most recently by INET (whose Chairman Lord Turner was start of the show in LFP065). It covers three important super big-picture pillars for Fintech – innovation, solid economic growth, and how corporates (ie incumbents) have changed in recent decades. It also adds in the surely socially vital angle of inequality. No point a tiny few of you Fintechers achieving mega-wealth if in a decade or two the dispossessed start burning down your chateaux.
Much Fintech (online wealth managers qv) is just “putting lipstick on a pig” – digitising existing processes at oldskool prices. No-one can say this about CrossLend who securitise loans ~200,000 times cheaper than oldskool prices and securitise down to one single loan as small as €1,500 :-!
Furthermore oldskool securitisation has all too often been a metaphor for investment bankers taking a huge chunk of value out of a package of assets and slicing and dicing the residual into complex tranches that even bamboozle the ratings agencies. With catastrophic effects – 2008 & CDO-squareds qv.
CrossLend has grown to a team of around 45 people, based in Berlin and Luxembourg and work across Europe – Germany, Netherlands, Spain, UK, Norway, Finland.