Changes take time, until they just happen. Financial services are at the cusp of a remarkable change that few bankers realize. The decentralization of technology, new regulation increasing competitiveness and ecosystem strategies - all these trends will mark the rise of a new era of financial services. This era will be fundamental to end user value, and those who provide it, will thrive.
The only methodology that yields proven and measurable results is trial and error. No matter the MBAs in the room and the PowerPoint charts and simulations, nothing will compare to trial and error. If we accept this fact, and we should, then the thing to aim for is to maximize the amount of experiments in order to observe and measure what in fact works and yields the result we desire. Move fast and break things, so to speak.
New applications that sit at a legal gray area for financing innovative companies. Excited investors pouring in millions and millions of capital. Regulators and policy makers trying to understand the new models and introduce investor safeguards as well as industry guidelines. Financial institutions watching by the sidelines, evaluating what their next move will be and how to respond. The year is 2010 and everyone is excited about the prospect of crowdfunding.
We recently had the pleasure to have a conversation with Angel Lorente, an Executive Director for Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Securities Group Finance Division and the Global Treasury Capital Markets Controller. In 2013, Angel was named to Diversity MBA Magazine’s Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executives. While it was 2016 when he started independently advising and mentoring fintech businesses and entrepreneurs. Fascinated by this flourishing industry he created FinTech Connector, to help connect Fintech entrepreneurs with fintech thought-leaders, enablers and investors to innovate financial services. This interview is the first of a series that we will publish with global fintech leaders. We hope you will enjoy it.
With the advent of PSD2 in Europe, financial services companies have embarked on their Open Banking initiatives, which are set for full swing in 2018. Banks have been writing and exposing APIs for third parties to pull data and perform actions on the banks platforms through these APIs in order to provide more customer facing service innovation. For many banks this is the final step for complying with the PSD2 regulation, but the reality is that it’s only the very first step in the total transformation to an open financial services ecosystem.
A great disruption is underway in financial services, yet it’s still open who will come out on top in each distinct category of offerings. Will it be the institutions modernizing their fundamental approach to financial services or will it be digital native, technology firms that enter the sector to give clients the service they want?
Paris Hilton supports an ICO the same week as the People’s Republic of China determines that Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs constitute ‘illegal fundraising.’ Back in the United States, contact with the SEC forces Protostarr to refund their ICO investors. Bitcoin is dubbed ‘the best example of a bubble’ by no other than bubble researcher Robert Shiller. And if Bitcoin isn’t sufficient, TokenMarket is tracking over 335 different types of alternative cryptocurrencies. This is either the best of times or the worst of times for cryptocurrencies. We are on a brave new path or the world is ending, depending on who you ask (cue Jamie Dimon). So should you buy a water purifier and run for the hills, or stay put?
With the Payment Services Directive becoming a reality at the start of 2018, can we expect to see a panacea of connected services at users’ fingertips, offering best in class quotes for financial products based on actual information? Will we see firms position themselves as leaders beyond their previous borders and existence, in the digital realm with limitless data-driven possibilities? Or will we maybe see cross the board resistance and siloed architecture that prevents valuable use?
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are becoming an infallible part of the development of present-day technology. Yet the public discussion often centers around a notion of a ‘human-like’ robot and my concern is that the impact gets downplayed. How then should we look at the future with AI? One way which may be helpful is examining the aspect of morality and consciousness, or rather, the lack of both in decision-making in a new paradigm.
In between pauses at the WWDC, Apple announced it will be expanding their financial services strategy by going beyond Apple Pay and issuing virtual payment cards to all iOS users. There are 1bn iOS users around the world. At the same time, this same week Amazon made headlines by having lent over $1bn to third party sellers on the Amazon marketplace. Amazon has also rolled out a highly aggressive credit card offer with Chase, which offers 5 per cent cash back for its Prime customers. Neither company is a traditional financial services company. So what is going on?