“Will you be at Money2020?” It was the question everyone was asking in the lead up to last week’s conference in Copenhagen. We were first timers sponsoring an event of this size (which had over 3000 attendees over the four days), but we knew we had to be a part of it; the impressive FinTech line up bringing together leading minds in the industry – from major, more established financial players to rapid-growth start-ups. And it was also a first time for the world’s largest FinTech conference – its parent event based in the fabulous Las Vegas – to plant its feet firmly on European soil in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The event proved a great opportunity for our team to meet with key people – in banks, start-ups, payments, lending, transfers, and even new corporate entrants such as Apple and Google – who had come to see what’s next for the $5.3-billion-dollar industry. So what does the global future of FinTech look like? And, the question on our minds, how are these companies protecting themselves from financial crime?
FinTech: To disrupt or not to disrupt?
One of our biggest takeaways echoes thoughts from the CEO of money transfer company WorldFirst, Jonathan Quinn. When it comes to the much hyped role of FinTech companies ‘disrupting’ the banking system by taking on one area and innovating, and of banks responding with an ‘ignore, acquire or improve’ line of attack – we’re seeing a big shift in attitude from both sides.
Banks are no longer dismissing new technology providers (or planning a takeover). Instead, they’re opening up to the idea that there’s much more benefit in working with them – and that collaboration will be a win-win for all. Why build all these new solutions in-house when you can bundle them – and their superior tech and UX – in? And on the flipside, banks are no longer seen as the evil overlord by start-ups, who have realised that they can’t do it all (and don’t actually want to). They need the banks to provide the core, less sexy infrastructure – and ultimately – customers, who are becoming harder to win over in a very crowded market. And this ‘collaborative’ shift has already started – we’ve seen Azimo and MasterCard-controlled HomeSend partner in a joint venture last year to help European users send money to Africa and Asia via their mobile phones. And just this month Kabbage has partnered with Santander to boost small business lending.
We were pretty excited to hear the industry singing from the same sheet about this – and as a RegTech provider we believe the way forward is to collaborate with both new FinTech players and also traditional banking business models. We can ‘bundle in’ by providing our proprietary AML data with our next-gen monitoring and analytics platform – so the rest of the finance industry can focus on their customers.
Who wears the cape?
“The customer is the superhero because he or she can decide it all” – wise words from Chairman of retailer METRO AG and keynote speaker, Olaf Koch. As financial services continue to be virtualised, FinTech’s are helping raise customer expectations on speed and service levels. We want it now, cheaper, all in one place and with a smile. There was a lot of buzz round cross border payments here too, as customers are still unhappy with the speed of onboarding and transfers, causing a headache for corporates who can’t see the bigger picture. We had many conversations about how we’re helping FinTech companies onboard their customers faster and more effectively – with better AML data and a single platform to manage their customer risk.
#AI and #BigData still hot
FinTech companies are all over these tech trends to try and set themselves apart, add value and win customers. Our team was excited to share something different on this topic with attendees – how we’re using machine learning and big data analytics help fight financial crime and how we can help them protect their businesses and comply with regulators.
It seems there is still a gap in FinTech companies’ knowledge of the legal and regulatory requirements they face, and they are inadvertently cutting corners, putting their business at risk. We look forward to pushing this on the event agenda next year – how technology like machine learning can help empower FinTech companies control their financial crime risk – such as money laundering and fraud.
‘Til next year
Those we spoke to who have attended the Las Vegas event said Money2020 Europe was a bit quieter in contrast but with more opportunity to get down to business away from the distractions of the glitz and glamour. But of course there were still a few parties, a giant Scalextric set, ice creams, graffiti murals, Lego and more. Toby, Andrew and Conor had a great time representing the team out in Copenhagen, we look forward to seeing everyone there at the next one!