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.
The best post-“post crisis” banks have leaped ahead and are well on the way to leveraging Fintech to make themselves even stronger. Alexander Ball Fintech Manager at ING talks to us about a bank which has over 100 partnerships with Fintechs, the best known of which perhaps is Kabbage whereby ING clients can borrow up to €100,000 online within minutes.
All incumbents, all banks are absolutely not the same. Whilst the slowest and least well organised of the incumbents aren’t doing a great job adapting to the digital world the best organised are.
When a firm with 50,000 staff and €50bn of equity start to leverage new digital ideas and innovations doesn’t this start to leave disruptive Fintech far behind?
How does Alex and his team of scouts and analysts organise this?
How do they date and mate with the right Fintechs?
What are the challenges?
What are the opportunities?
How have they had to change to make all this happen?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?