Last week I, along with Belatrix colleagues, attended Fintech Week London, a key industry event in the rapidly growing world of fintech (and, interestingly, the event actually consisted of first a hackathon, followed by a 4-day conference). London was the ideal location, because the city has emerged as the global hub for fintech, helped by the presence of innovation centres, VCs and private equity houses, around 300 banks, the London Stock Exchange, insurance firms including the world famous Lloyd’s of London, as well as many foreign exchanges, commodity traders, spread betting agencies, stock brokers, fund managers and hedge funds.
At the event, many of the talks and panel discussions were around subjects such as the disruption of banking by challenger banks. Blockchain also featured heavily as a new way of moving money or data for areas such as insurance. There was a big emphasis on ‘Millennials’, who only use mobiles and never visit traditional bank branches, it is said that 70% say that they would rather visit the dentist! The focus on Millennials also extended to how their views differ from other generations, particularly with regard to who they would trust to launch a new bank (Google or Amazon) being very different from older generations (department stores or supermarkets). Some fintech startups don’t even plan to have a website because less than 5% of their audience would use it and maintenance is expensive in their view.
At the event there was a strong spirit of innovation and many start-ups, intent on disrupting the existing order or exploiting a niche, used the event to launch. A good example of this innovative spirit was WorldRemit, a company that has enabled payment by mobile throughout Africa and the Far East by providing banking to millions of people that have never had access to a traditional bank.
The main discussions were grouped around payments, banking, insurance, capital markets, data security and blockchain. Topics varied across the spectrum from examining the challenges faced by traditional banking to payments, identity/authentication and financial securities trading models, AML, Brexit, cryptocurrencies, and fraud. Also particularly of interest there was much discussion about software development techniques and quality assurance methodologies. At Belatrix we believe there are specific methodologies that fintech companies can use to become more innovative – ranging from Design Thinking, to Agile development and continuous delivery.
Belatrix was keen to attend Fintech Week London, because we’re launching a new initiative to bring the success we’ve had with fintech in the US, to the UK market. In the US for example, we worked with a leading financial services organization to develop a cardless mobile ATM system. Developing financial solutions for the banking and insurance sector is a core part of our business, and we’re excited to see where this initiative leads us.