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?
Private transactions, both private equity and debt, have been inefficient and littered with information asymmetry due to the way the transactions have been made. The emergence of public distribution of information on private transactions seeks to change that and the quickly arriving secondary markets for private transactions can bring liquidity and efficiency to typically cumbersome asset classes.
Financial inclusion is an often encountered term in financial services. In fact it may be the most referenced societal benefit that finance firms aspire to better, to the point the term itself may have experienced inflation. Yet financial inclusion has historically had a narrow view of financial inclusion on solely the underserved, today with increasing data it’s much broader, including also the misunderstood.
There’s a lot of excitement about blockchain and the opportunities it offers the financial services ecosystem, but a lot of work is still needed on bridging the learning curve around actual applications and implications. The very fabric of blockchain, its decentralization, is what makes it both interesting and at the same time, difficult to fit into current structures.
It’s amazing to think we’re at the end of 2016, but so we are and it’s time to look ahead to all the materialization we may expect from the digitalization of financial services in 2017.
The benefits of technology applied to existing processes making them more efficient or effective should be very practical. However, it’s easy to get lost in over hyped terms such as ‘fintech’, ‘peer-to-peer markets’, ‘crowdfunding’ and forget what the practical benefit is.
The vote cast in the UK Referendum came as a surprise to many. Ramifications and consequences will be significant and potentially long lasting, but new opportunities will emerge in various sectors. Crowd Valley remains committed to serving its existing clients in the UK, its future clients in the UK and continental Europe, as well as around the world. The need for modernization in financial services is unchanged and more relevant than ever.
Digital finance or fintech is a strong phenomenon on the tip of everyones tongue. The applications however are still often elusive as organizations search how these macro trends impact their existing operations and seek out where they are uniquely positioned and can compete in the market of tomorrow.
Recently I had the privilege to discuss changes and macro trends globally in different industries with a group of change management executives. While we discussed various topics, including incumbents abilities to innovate in new markets, cannibalization among other topics, we got talking about the changes of financial services institutions becoming the new effective ‘bit pipes’ (comparison from telco’s) and more so, if this is actually a bad thing?
Markets always move toward greater efficiency, history has taught us that much. Technological advancements in computing power has been remarkable, but the growth and pace of development keeps on accelerating. Have you thought through the extent of the plausible impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in the financial services market? Go ahead, try.