Tag Archives: Banking

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

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

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

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

LFP077 – Capital Markets Fintech with Mark Beeston founder Illuminate Financial

Today we aim at the beating heart of FS – its IT systems. I am delighted to be joined by Mark Beeston founder of Illuminate Financial who has over two decades of hardcore FS experience trading derivatives, COO- and CEO-ing, to discuss Capital Markets Fintech.

A lot of Fintech is B2C, some is B2B but there is a whole chunk trading under the Fintech rubric which aims not to disrupt the provision of FS but rather enhance the incumbents. Disrupting existing IT vendors to FS not FS.

Illuminate Financial are Capital Markets VCs extraordinaire. Their claim is “we cross the chasm between enterprise Fintech and the Financial Institutions it should serve”. I can do no better than quote further re where this gulf comes from:

Regulation is increasing, the industry is deleveraging, and compliance is becoming ever stricter.

Financial institutions have been slow to adopt new technologies, while vendor management and procurement processes are focused on contracting multi-million dollar enterprise solutions from billion dollar corporations.

In doing so, they often overlook the innovative lower cost and highly scalable solutions offered by newer and more entrepreneurial suppliers.

Organisations know that the answers may lie in Fintech. Yet the ever-growing hype around the subject has made it more and more difficult to distil the signal from the noise.”

Topics discussed include:  Continue reading

LFP075 – Managing Fintech Rebundling with Nikolay Storonsky CEO of Revolut

One of the founding ethos of Fintech was “unbundling” – the slicing of FS into single-issue firms. This is now looking old-hat. Revolut acquired 500,000 customers in less than two years by offering interbank rates on FX transfers and so was one of the most successful of Fintech 1.0.

Now they are leading the way with Fintech 2.0 offering a whole range of products. Managing this transition with respect to both “the brand” and “the app” is not trivial and I am delighted to be joined today by co-founder and CEO Nikolay Storonsky.

Unlike Monzo who have gone down the banking route but Revolut have remained with the simpler/cheaper/faster but narrower e-money issuer licence.

 

Topics discussed on the show include: Continue reading

LFP072 – Socially Beneficial Fintech & Personal Cashflow Management with Emanuel Andjelic co-founder of Squirrel

Squirrel’s self-description is:

a smart new way of budgeting and saving that helps you resist that temptation to spend. We work in partnership with employers, local authorities, housing associations and credit unions to bring better money management to the widest possible audience.

Squirrel’s 7,000 clients range from those on benefits to those earning more than £100k – as Emanuel puts it “there are spenders and savers” and this tendency he believes is already formed when a child is still in single digits – and hence in place later regardless of adult income levels.

In this episode though, for the main course we focus on “socially beneficial Fintech” – or in less euphemistic terms what Fintech as a whole can do for those with little money. All too often the vast majority of Fintech – for all the PC buzzword terms like “financial inclusion” ends up just being a tool for the top 1%/10%.

Recent benefit changes in the UK have led to significant problems for folks who are unemployed or underemployed and these are only going to get worse if current plans are rolled out further. In this episode Emanuel, co-founder and Chairman of Squirrel takes us on a deep dive into the economic circumstances and changes. He also talks very honestly about his own personal and significant struggles with debt.

In this show topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP069 – IFAs, Fintech & Roboadvisers with Dan Kiernan Research Director Intelligent Partnership

IP banner for London Fintech Podcast“Everyone” frets over financial advice in the Fintech Age. Regulators set out to “protect the consumer”, worthy bodies talk no end about the need to protect “people” (never themselves oddly – generally they imply (/mean) folks of lesser education/wealth) and the rest of us are just confused over the labyrinthine rules around tax, savings and investments.

Needless to say a myriad on rules and regulations and the implicit costs of this suprastructure all act together in a Kafkaesque way to produce the opposite result – known as “the advice gap”.

In Fintechland breathless media and PR firms high on sugar, caffeine and other stimulants promise us a golden era of so-called “roboadvice”.

Dan KiernanHow to make sense of all this?

I am delighted to be joined today by Dan Kiernan Research Director at Intelligent Partnership “the UK’s leading provider of research, training and events on Alternative Investments” to cut through all this and to give us insights into why advisers are not recommending eg P2P to their clients when it has outperformed bank deposits for more than a decade.

On the show today we discuss all of the above and: Continue reading