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Notes from London Fintech Week 2016

Date:
16/01/2017
Author:
Laura Martin
Reading Time:
5 minutes

DAY 3: Banking/Insurance & FS Conference: Innovation in Financial Services, Insurance and Banking.

Now in its third year, Fintech week is a chance to hear from both the big players (BBVA, Hiscox etc) and also the new guys in the Fintech world, often on the same panel. As an agency focused on working with financial services clients Wednesday of Fintech week was the best for Dock9 to attend. The conference itself is a mix of talks, panel discussions and networking in-between. 

According to the brochure "The concept of banking and financial services is experiencing exciting changes. Large enterprise firms using technology to cut cost, provide better service and become more competitive. Young upstarts are chipping away at various niches and increasing innovation and disruption in the space."

A major theme this year was start-ups; their impact on the industry, customer expectations and whether they are an opportunity for collaboration or simply competition for the established players in the market.
The industry itself appears to be open to innovation and making changes to existing systems and products, however start-ups still have to wait over a year to get their foot in the door with the big banks and insurers and even longer to get their products to market. 

Collaboration was also a recurring topic in the panel discussion on how banking and financial services are evolving to meet new consumer demands in innovation that drives fast-paced change. Collaboration should be used to provide better customer service and banks need the smaller companies to come up with new ideas.

However the process isn't easy and to be effective they need to reconcile revenues, ensure alignment of technologies, processes and people or it's just good talk and no action. 

One new company I spoke with (Kasko) said it took 18 months for the process to be completed with their partner bank, however once it was done the speed of expansion increased dramatically.

The banking world is going to change and banks at the forefront of that change will be the ones that survive. Alexa Fernandez from BBVA indicated that some banks in their current state will not survive in the future. The way to smooth passage to these partnerships is with new technology according to Nick White of Monitise.

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GARY TURNER, JOE HALL, NICK WHITE, ALEXA FERNANDEZ

The second half of the day was split into 2 sides, we opted for the side looking at the Insurance industry and the response to Fintech. Current trends in the industry are picking up on customer behaviour and requirements, such as real time payments for flight delay compensation rather than waiting for it to pay when you're already back home. Also the use of artificial intelligence being used in pricing strategies and the usual data analytics and wearable tech are now filtering through to the insurance industry.

A key point is why there aren't more exciting innovations in the insurance industry like there has been in other parts of the financial sector? The answers were that it is a highly regulated industry which although it is not the aim, does slow things down. Also Insurtech has so far been the shy younger sibling of bigger and better Fintech. Collaboration was mentioned again with regards to introducing new products and using both a legacy and innovative approach to embrace coming changes. Looking more into how to drive real collaboration the answers were pretty simple, there needs to be an environment for casual conversations between start-ups and established companies where sharing of information would be hugely important. Historically established companies have always been wary of sharing too much information and losing competitive advantage. Consortiums are also very important and once these 3 points are achieved it will be a win-win for both the industry and the customer.

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Chris Gledhill CEO of Secco bank

For the very last talk of the day we switched sides and just about caught a talk by Chris Gledhill CEO of Secco bank on the EU elephant in the room, optimistically entitled 'Looking at The Bright Side of Brexit'. It certainly made a change from most media reporting on the UK's big decision as a 'danger' 'harm' and 'not a triumph for democracy'. 

There were some interesting figures on how hate crimes have now returned to the pre-Brexit level, markets have recovered and even the low pound can at least be seen as a boost to tourism and overseas investment. With regards to Fintech talent in particular, speaker Chris Gledhill mentioned the need for more talent in this sector and explained that the freedom of movement in the EU means that we can't refuse or encourage, people entering the UK.

Offering incentives to come to the UK are not allowed under EU anti-competition laws. Once we are out of the EU we can start to offer relocation packages to entice people with skills and experience that we want. In practise, the decision has been made to leave we all have no choice but to learn to work in an independent Britain.

In summary, it was great to be at an event to celebrate how much London and the UK has achieved already in the Fintech sector and hopefully we will continue to be a leader in this area in the future. We at Dock9 are excited about being part of the changes to come.

If you have any questions about how your company can involve the latest Fintech innovations in your customers' experience drop us a line at hello@dock9.com

3226---Laura
Laura Martin
Laura Martin is Event Manager at Dock9, having previously worked in the financial sector for 15 years including at the Bank of England, Northern Trust and BNP Paribas