Category Archives: Podcasts

LFP088 – Catastrophe, Acts of God & Parametric (Event-Based, Fixed-Payout) Insurance Adam Rimmer FloodFlash

52% of UK SMEs based floodplains don’t have flood cover! Insurers struggle to insure flood risk due to the difficulty of modelling and assessing the economic impact. Many people/businesses are unable to get insurance cover at all. Every year, globally, there are $50bn of flood caused economic losses of which only $9bn are covered by insurance.

Into the breach (geddit?) step Floodflash formed by Adam Rimmer and Ian Bartholomew experts in modelling event risks – together with the important fixed-payout insurance concept (doesn’t need much reflection to see how good that could be) this constitutes parametric insurance.

Floodflash is an Insuretech startup with great potential.  Its also an opportunity to hear from a firm in the FCA sandbox.

Parametric insurance sounds very techie but in its best known form – life insurance – has been around for centuries.

The market failure above is huge.

On this show we discuss the role of event-based, no-exclusion, instant settlement in addressing this problem. Many people/businesses simply cannot get insurance at present.

Topics discussed on the show include: Continue reading

LFP087 – Passionate Advocacy that Open-Banking is really about Strategy (not Tech/Reg) Louise Beaumont SapientRazorfish

A year ago in LFP060 (currently the 2nd most downloaded episode) we covered Open Banking/PSD2 from a Regulatory perspective. In this episode Louise Beaumont argues forcefully that Reg & Tech perspectives are “necessary but not sufficient”. To do Open Banking “well” means to utterly rethink ones strategy.

Louise is the co-Chair of the Open Bank Working Group at techUK , member of the UK Govt’s Open Bank Implementation Entity and Strategic Advisor Open Bank at Publicis.Sapient and thus sees Open Banking from many sides.

She was also on the show three years ago in LFP011, she was a co-founder of Platform Black, the then number two in the UK Fintech Invoice Discounting sector so has plenty of deep background in the Fintech Revolution. Indeed LFP011 was precisely around what she saw as the 5 Key Challenges facing Fintechs growth (which seem appropriate to this day).

So with that track record behind her we can anticipate that her views on Open Banking/PSD2 will be equally relevant in several years’ time too.

So if a year ago we looked into what this is all about and where it is coming from, we can now examine where we are and critically what the key factors for success are in practice.

What are the threats?

What are the opportunities?

Is sharing your customers data so well you lose them all success?

All these topics and more are discussed on the show including:  Continue reading

LFP086 – What a 21stC Clearing Bank can do for you with Nick Ogden, Executive Chairman ClearBank

Nick Ogden is, inter alia, the founder of the FTSE Worldpay and a bunch of other interesting businesses. In 2014 he created ClearBank the UK’s first clearing bank for 250yrs and is setting out to show what a modern, hi-tech clearing bank can offer existing Banks, Fintechs and Corporates.

Its mission is “to create greater competition, transparency and leading edge technology to the banking market.”

 

Historically the function of Clearing Banks were to clear cheques when there were hundreds of banks in the Uk and traversing the country took days.

This function expanded and now Clearing Banks clear payments of all natures – in the UK FPS, CHAPS, BACS (Direct Debits et al). Clearing banks are basically the experts at “transaction banking”.

But onto the show – how do you disrupt an oligopoly – four clearers control most of the market?

What can one get if one starts with a fresh tech stack rather than piling more on top of tops?

This topics and much more discussed on the show include:  Continue reading

LFP085 – The Nature of Money, Economic Imbalances & will Central Bank Digital Cash alleviate them? With David Clarke Positive Money

Money may or may not be “the root of all evil” but it is the root of FS and the economy – both of which are problematic.  The nature of current money is absolutely part of this equation.

In this special episode we review what money was, what it is now (created by private organisations as debt), the problems that leads to (esp asset price inflation, pyramids of debt, widening inequality, and exacerbated economic cycles) and central bank digital cash – what it is and whether it can help.

A recent Bank of England publication stated that the nature of money is widely misunderstood including in one respect in university textbooks (!). Couple this with a recent survey showing that only 1 in 10 MPs understand where money comes from and it’s no wonder we are adrift.  A slogan in the recent general election was “there are no magic money trees” but in fact there are.

Positive Money are “a movement for a money and banking system that works for society and not against it.” Positive Money’s founder Ben Dyson is now Economic Research Lead, Digital Currencies at Bank of England which I think tells you that these guys are thinking along the right lines.

I’m delighted to be joined today by David Clarke Positive Money’s expert on central bank digital currencies.

Needless to say “money” is at the heart of FS and an understanding of money is at the heart of understanding FS. If the BoE identified common misconceptions there was an even bigger one at the start of the Fintech era that somehow the Fintechs could “beat the banks”. This was always nonsense for many reasons but the biggest of which is that if we say abolished banks overnight then we would also abolish 97% of all the money we own – money being mostly “bits in bank computers”.

We cover a huge territory on the show, principally as its in a sense more important to first understand the context to Central Bank Digital Cash than it is the as-yet-unworked-out details of how it might work.

With such misunderstanding amongst our great leaders is it a surprise that the economy keeps toppling over and FS crises have been pervasive in recent decades?

Topics discussed on the show include:  Continue reading

LFP084 Insuretech – Using the Internet of Things to Protect your Home with Matt Poll CEO Neos

The so-called Internet of Things is much hyped and early examples (smart toasters anyone?) are worthy of ridicule. However market-leading Neos have taken it to the next level – using insurance, your phone and devices installed in your home to protect you against fire, water and burglary – or at least notify you and then get their servicers to fix the problem – even when you are on the other side of the world.

If like me you had never heard of smart doorbells and smart valves – or if you have – this is a podcast for you.

Matt Poll was a 20yr insurance man, latterly running More Than at RSA until he joined the world of startups and founded Neos.

In this show we dive beneath the froth and the hype to find out how you can sleep easier when on holiday, or simply in the office and why the Internet of Things is becoming a reality available to us all now.

Topics discussed on the show include: Continue reading

LFP083 – Matchmaking Lending and Borrowing with Conrad Ford CEO Funding Options

Conrad was on the show back in LFP020 since when he has built Funding Options (strapline “your free marketplace for business finance”) into one of the most successful London Fintechs. They were chosen as one of three UK government mandated SME Referral Portals, are the largest of those by an order of magnitude, increased revenue fourfold last year, are on target to triple again this year as well as being on target to be the UK’s largest introducer of working capital finance.

Funding Options essential task/service is lining up all the many SME borrowers out there with relevant sources of Finance. A task made all the harder by the plethora of lenders and the many types of lending finance available.

How has this task evolved over the past 2.5yrs?

How is lending right now?

How is borrowing?

Topics discussed on the show include:  Continue reading

LFP082 – Collateral Management, The Cloud and Scaling-Up Fintechs with Steve Husk CEO CloudMargin

Steve Husk has decades in IT and FS and in this tour d’horizon we dive into his experience of delivering IT solutions from design through to sales, why the Cloud as a technology enables a totally different service proposition and what it means to scale in Fintech.

Collateral management has been assuming an ever increasing importance in banking driven in large part by massive (and somewhat inconsistent across continents) regulatory changes as well as innovative approaches to IT being able to far more simply deliver firm-wide solutions rather than the formerly un-joined-up “per silo” basis. Its also been elevated from a back-office issue to a middle-office issue of importance to risk management, compliance.

 

When I first met CloudMargin back in 2014 (folks don’t believe me enough sometimes when I say the queue to be on this show is long…) there were three founders and about half a dozen staff. Now only one of the founders remains and the firm is 50 strong and manages collateral worth an amazing $2.5trn on behalf of its buy-side and sell-side clients using its SAAS/Cloud solution.

 

Topics discussed on the show include:  Continue reading

LFP081 – Trade Finance and Supplier Finance in the Digital Age with Guy Willans COO of Trade River

Trade Finance is one of those less media-highlighted but vital areas of the economy – it really is the oil in the engine of international trade. It’s one of those “how hard can it be” areas where it turns out quite a lot of wrinkles make it more of a speciality field than it might be. One can presume that this is due to it being an ancient business, after all finance was needed for the silk road and all other routes and merchant banking had its origins in international trade.

TradeRiver were founded in 2011 and have provided over £100m of working capital finance to businesses in the UK. They provide UK businesses with a unsecured line of revolving trade finance to fund purchases of goods or services within 24 hours, both worldwide and in the UK. Facilities can vary from £100k up to £5million. They recently opened an office in Baltimore to serve the US market.

Being a digital player their aim is to be quick, simple and paperless (more rare than you might imagine in Trade Finance).

I am delighted to be joined today by Guy Willans, Trade River’s COO whose varied career – from Sandhurst, working around the world, an AIM listed dot-com, importing, sales and twelve years at HSBC et al certainly provide a rich enough background to discuss Trade Finance in the round and in context.

Topics discussed on the show include:  Continue reading

LFP080 – The Science, Art and Regulation of Data Privacy with Jason du Preez CEO Privitar

Data is to our age as steam was to the industrial revolution, just rather more intimate as, in extremis, your data reveals you and your life. It needs to be kept secure and it needs to be kept private – few of us would be happy with a world where all our records were available.

But what is privacy? Philosophically, politically, practically and – with the huge EU legislation GDPR on the horizon, regulatory (breaches of which can cost a firm 2-4% of the global revenue of the ultimate parent company).  How can “tech” play a part in this? Can it make squaring all these circles feasible? Can one design data privacy into systems rather than just “ice the cake”?

On this show Jason du Preez CEO of Data Privacy firm Privitar whose focus is “Privacy Engineering” across multiple verticals (FS, Pharma, Telecoms et al) joins us to pull together all the threads that make up the tapestry.

If you are anything like me then occasionally you can get impassioned by data privacy and the rest of the time not worry about it.

What is a more nuanced position other than this digital (ha!) choice? What is privacy? Is it absolute, is it relative? How do all these topics relate to the practical day to day roles of firms and how does this relate to the must-do regulation?

We dive into this, topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP079 – Diving Into UK Challenger Banks with Darren Meek London FS Lead at PwC

Twenty or so new banking licences have been granted since 2010. The UK Retail Banking Sector is incredibly diverse but this is often disguised by the single label of “Challenger Banks” which hides far more than it reveals. UK Retail Banking is a very diverse sector with players with very different focuses and motivations.

In compiling their report “Who Are You Calling A Challenger Bank?”, PwC has interviewed dozens of CEOs and senior executives and, worked with YouGov to establish consumers’ views and preferences. In doing so they have produced a grounded, well-researched analysis (it’s free – check it out) that sheds light on how competition is improving customer choice and driving innovation in UK retail banking.

Darren Meek has 26 years at PwC and joins us today in conversation about the must-know, main important themes of the vibrant scene that exists today.

Topics discussed include:  Continue reading