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.
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?
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?
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?
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.”
Do you have to be either “a Fintech” or “an incumbent”? Increasingly as #newFS and #oldFS converge this duality becomes less meaningful and its more about how well FS players young and old are embracing both “digital” per se as well as the business model changes it both implies and enables.
Azur is a great example of this trend. As an “MGA” (more on that anon) they fit into a well-established “old” category of the insurance industry. They are a comparatively new company whilst part-owned by a global giant. And they certainly “get” the digital thing in terms of both “tech” and also “business model changes”.
In LFP074 Andy Rear of the reinsurer MunichRe discussed with us their concept of reinsurance as a service. Put simply the ability to, as it were, just plug into the wall for your electricity/reinsurance – which then leaves InsureTechs able to do everything they might want and avoid falling into a regulatory net and needing a gazillion dollars of capital. Andy said that the key to the future were MGAs – Managing General Agents – but we barely skinned the surface on them
So here we are diving into MGAs and in the interests of brevity lets jump into the topics we discuss: Continue reading →
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.