Financial IT Spring Issue 2023

Page 26

CHANGES TO THE WORLD OF PAYMENTS IN 2023-25

Domenico Scaffidi, Vice President and Global Lead of the Payments Innovation Practice, Volante Technologies

KEY REGULATORY TRENDS FOR 2023 EVERY COMPLIANCE PROFESSIONAL NEEDS TO KNOW

Andrew Davies, Global Head of Regulatory Affairs, ComplyAdvantage

PREMATURE REGULATION: IS PSD3 COMING TOO SOON?

Ainsley Ward, Vice President, Payments Solutions, CGI

OPENING UP THE PAYMENTS MARKET: PAYMENT ORCHESTRATION AND PSD3

Rene Siegl, Founder and Executive Chairman, IXOPAY

Karina Buschsieweke, Director of Product Strategy, Appian Corporation

PROCESS MINING

What is it and why does it matter?

www.financialit.net • Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023

MUCH MORE THAN JUST ISO 20022

WHAT IS REDEFINING THE FUTURE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES AROUND THE WORLD?

This edition of Financial IT supports FinovateEurope 2023, which takes place in London on 14-15 March.

The conference brings together a variety of people ‘who are redefining the future of financial services around the world’

In this magazine, we bring together a variety of contributors who, collectively, explain what is redefining the future of financial services around the world.

Unexpected consequences of ISO 20022

ISO 20022 becomes the standard for crossborder payments and cash reporting this month. Few of our contributors discuss the new standard, but those who do highlight some enormous shifts. For instance:

‘With the adoption of common messaging, new technology and the rapid rise of crossborder transaction volumes, payments are no longer primarily just about the movement of money from A to B but present a rich source of data’.

From this, much else follows. There are far greater opportunities for fintechs in a world of Open Banking than would otherwise be the case. Many smaller banks are at less of a disadvantage relative to large institutions. Some banks will outsource the payments function to an external provider of Payments as a Service (PaaS), in order to focus on other activities where those banks have a clear competitive advantage. Taking a two-to-three year view, it is likely that the wave of data that is made available by ISO 20022 will be

analysed in ways that are currently difficult to imagine. The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – a focus of another of our contributors – may have a huge impact on the global payments industry.

Regulators following change and regulators leading change

Two of the contributors to this edition of Financial IT focus on what regulators are doing in different areas.

In the crypto-world, for instance, regulators in a number of countries are responding to problems that emerged in 2022 such as the collapse of ‘stablecoin’ provider Terra/Luna and the failure of crypto-exchange FTX. In some countries, officials are taking steps to increase the likelihood that their countries will be become centres for the trading of virtual assets.

Even if, in some respects, the regulators are responding to past events, there is a good chance that their efforts will promote innovation and development in the cryptoworld over the coming two years – and be seen to be doing so.

In other areas, the regulators are setting the pace. A case in point is the European Union’s Third Payments Services Directive (PSD3), the first draft of which is expected imminently. As one of our contributors explains:

‘For banks represented by the main banking associations (also known as the ECSAs or European Credit Sector Associations) there is a strong feeling that PSD3 is coming too

Back to the Table of Contents 2 Editors' Letter
Andrew Hutchings, Editor-In-Chief, Financial IT

soon, especially given that many banks have been mandated to join the SEPA Instant scheme, pushed to provide secure two-factor authentication and fought valiantly to avoid supporting Open Banking APIs. And while much of this reticence is down to the high levels of technology debt present in most banks, the ECSAs make a valid point that the industry could probably do with a moment to breathe and see what the impact of all this change actually is.

The reality of regulation though is that it will continue to come at pace, and from a variety of sources, as payments is the meeting point of several different regulatory areas. Essentially, change will continue regardless of protest and so you either need to get yourself into a position where your infrastructure can support that pace or get someone else to do it for you.’

SEG (sic) considerations

The website of FinovateEurope 2023 makes it clear that the conference is ‘championing sustainability’.

Several of our contributors also discuss how environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are likely to have an impact on the global payments industry over the coming years.

However, it is probably the social issues that are the most important of these. Consider what is proposed for remittances by the Cross-Border Payments Roadmap of the G20 group of major countries. By the end of 2027:

• 75% of cross-border remittance payments should be available to the recipient within one hour of being initiated.

• ‘More than 90% of individuals (including those without bank accounts) who wish to send or receive a remittance payment to have access to a means of cross-border electronic remittance.’

It may well be that faster and cheaper remittances in the developing world are the best and greatest change in the global payments industry over the coming four years.

We trust that all sponsors and participants of FinovateEurope 2023 enjoy a most successful conference.

Although Financial IT has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this publication, neither it nor any contributor can accept any legal responsibility whatsoever for consequences that may arise from errors or omissions or any opinions or advice given. This publication is not a substitute for professional advice on a specific transaction.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, in whole or in part, without written permission from the publisher. Entire contents copyrighted. Financial IT is a Finnet Limited publication.

ISSN 2050-9855

Finnet Limited

137 Blackstock Road, London, N4 2JW, United Kingdom

+44 (0) 208 819 32 53

Editor-In-Chief

Andrew Hutchings andrew.hutchings@financialit.net

Publisher Chris Principe chris.principe@financialit.net

Managing Editor

Sabrina Akramova sabrina.akramova@financialit.net

Business Development Manager

Katherine Emirosan kemirosan@financialit.net

Research Rustam Azamov

Jamshid Samatov

Production/Design

Timur Urmanov

GM & Marketing Nilyufar Sodikova

nilyufar.sodikova@financialit.net

Founder Muzaffar Karabaev

Back to the Table of Contents
Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023

Dream On, Bitcoin

The dream of bitcoin is not just about fulfilling the fantasies you have in your brain when you shut your eyes. The truth of bitcoin is about not giving up on that dream. That means doing the work necessary to make the promises of bitcoin come true. That means keep pushing until the bitcoin dream become a reality. The time is now to wake up and pay attention to the next wave of bitcoin’s existence. Is this next wave the one that carries bitcoin into the mainstream? Is this the wave that brings everyday usability to bitcoin?

First let’s backtrack a bit. It’s 1 January 2016, and so not at the beginning of the crypto era, but more in the middle. Bitcoin has yet to really increase in value with the big jumps and dumps still to come. The price that day was about $430 per bitcoin. You buy $1,000 worth of bitcoin to start off the New Year. You would have made your greatest investment. Today, at the beginning of March the value becomes about $54,650, not bad. In fact, it is really excellent: your return is almost 5,500% in 7 years. Compare this to the stock market which would have returned you about 110% over the same time. This is great, but this is not the dream of bitcoin.

Whatever happened to bitcoin as digital money with high security? Or to bitcoin as digital gold? It never caught on like Venmo or Cash App to pay for things daily. We all know that there can be only 21 million bitcoins mined. The last one will likely appear by the year 2100, long after all of us are gone. The idea that bitcoin becomes more valuable when it becomes scarcer may be true, though it may not be proven to be so in our lifetime. Thus, the two most commonly stated benefits of bitcoin are possibly part dream.

Another bitcoin idea is as a non-statecontrolled money. This can be useful in countries where the national currency, due to government overspending or corruption, becomes worthless. Up to now, bitcoin has not proven itself as an alternative currency. The needed price stability is not there. Price swings can be as bad as government money. That makes bitcoin an undependable replacement. Nevertheless, it does give you control, in a way that national currencies will not allow you.

Bitcoin’s dream to be the financial system not controlled by any single government is the original dream that’s now becoming a financial reality. Just not with bitcoin. Today there

are many kinds of Crypto Assets. Many are technology-wise superior to bitcoin. Bitcoin is still the original, the granddaddy of the crypto world. The dream of bitcoin and crypto assets is replacing money. We have not seen that. What we have seen is the enhancing of the form of money.

Money has been moving to a digital place long before bitcoin. The regular economy is more intermingled with digital fintech every day. This mix in our economy results in value imitation, stronger security, faster processes, and new products that we all can benefit from. bitcoin has inspired all of this, even if it never fulfills the global currency dream.

Bitcoin, that is to say digital money owned by people for people and to benefit people is a dream much bigger than bitcoin itself. The dream is still alive and the potential for bitcoin to become more useful in the next wave of growth is possible. For me, I will hold on to my bitcoin, smartly but also sentimentally as it was the way I first caught the crypto dream.

There may be better investments that we should all consider. Crypto’s as a class is still high risk. Still there are enormous opportunities in this space. There is still some much change to come. As we went from letters to email, we will continue to move from physical money to digital currency.

The dream of bitcoin as a new kind of money is true. While this has been world changing, it’s more impactful seeing the changes to our financial system. There is no going back: there is only going forward. That means, forward into the dreams of our financial future. Each morning as you awake, fight for the dream that bitcoin has inspired in each of us.

Dream on, bitcoin, dream until the dream comes true!

Back to the Table of Contents Publisher’s Letter 4

AN EXCITING NEW ERA FOR FINANCIAL IT

We know and you know who is who in fintech. But … who WILL be who?

The inaugural edition of Financial IT magazine was published on 21 November 2012, a little over a decade ago.

Since then, our focus has remained the same: on what really matters at the intersection of financial services and technology.

We have been a:

• voice and platform for the fintechs who have been looking to reach communities in the broader world of financial services.

• journal of record, identifying specific events and developments.

• forum, enabling leaders to express their views and companies to showcase their offerings.

• source of analysis, clarifying what are the complex themes and trends and explaining how they are entwined with what is happening in the global economy and society.

We remain committed to these activities and to excellence.

However, Financial IT is now about to enter an exciting new era.

Currently we look at the people, companies and ideas that dominate the present.

Shortly, we will also be looking at the people, companies and ideas that will (likely) dominate in two-to-three years time.

We are enhancing the business so that it becomes a true source of original research

– delivering commercially valuable insights. In looking in depth at start-ups and other unlisted companies – across all areas of fintech and in every part of the world – we will provide you with research that is unavailable from any other publishing house or consultancy.

Further, we will deliver the data in a way that is accessible and interactive.

With our help, you will really be able to see who will be who.

Watch this space.

Publisher’s Letter 5
Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023

EDITORS' LETTER

2 MUCH MORE THAN JUST ISO 20022

Andrew Hutchings, Editor-In-Chief, Sabrina Akramova, Managing Editor, Financial IT

COVER STORY

PUBLISHER'S LETTER

4 DREAM ON, BITCOIN Chris Principe, Publisher, Financial IT

5 AN EXCITING NEW ERA FOR FINANCIAL IT

Chris Principe, Publisher, Muzaffar Karabaev Founder, Financial IT

LEAD STORY

10 CHANGES TO THE WORLD OF PAYMENTS IN 2023-25

Domenico Scaffidi, Vice President and Global Lead of the Payments Innovation Practice, Volante Technologies

12 KEY REGULATORY TRENDS FOR 2023 EVERY COMPLIANCE PROFESSIONAL NEEDS TO KNOW

Andrew Davies, Global Head of Regulatory Affairs, ComplyAdvantage

8 PROCESS MINING WHAT IS IT AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Karina Buschsieweke, Director of Product Strategy, Appian Corporation

16 PREMATURE REGULATION: IS PSD3 COMING TOO SOON?

Ainsley Ward, Vice President, Payments Solutions, CGI

20 OPENING UP THE PAYMENTS MARKET: PAYMENT ORCHESTRATION AND PSD3

Rene Siegl, Founder and Executive Chairman, IXOPAY

FEATURED STORY

24 CORE BANKING IN THE CLOUD: THE REVOLUTION IS HERE

Lena Hackelöer, CEO and Founder, Brite Payment Group

26 EMBRACING THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INNOVATION OPPORTUNITY IN THE ERA OF ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY

Kathy Stares, Executive Vice President of North America, Provenir

28 CONTROLLING YOUR ENVIRONMENT IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS

Danielle Weinblatt, Chief Product Officer, Taulia

30 SELECTING A NEW ISSUING AND ACQUIRING PROCESSOR: WHAT’S ON YOUR SHOPPING LIST?

Paul Chandler, Sales Director – Europe, Compass Plus Technologies

32 HOW FINTECHS CAN ENABLE SMES TO ACHIEVE INTERNATIONAL GROWTH

Peter O’Sullivan, Head of SME, Airwallex

34 STRONG MOBILE SECURITY THAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL LOVE

Paul McGuire, CEO-Founder

tru.ID:

36 RESHAPING FINANCIAL SERVICES THROUGH OPEN AND EMBEDDED FINANCE

Radha Suvarna, Chief Growth Officer and Head of Embedded Finance/BaaS, Finastra

38 12 YEARS IN FINTECH FROM CUSTOMER SUPPORT MANAGER TO AKURATECO'S CO-OWNER

Alexandra Dolia, COO and Co-owner, Akurateco

6 Contents

Innovation should be

second

nature It should be something you do every day rather than in a lab on the side Make innovation your priority

Compass Plus Technologies is passionate about payments technology and architecting it properly for the needs of today and tomorrow From start-ups and industry disruptors to recognised innovators and market leaders, our exceptional technology puts our customers in the driving seat and ultimately in control of their payment ecosystems Together, we deliver ground-breaking and industry-leading products and services with uncontested ease and proven time-to-market

compassplustechnologies.com

Karina Buschsieweke, Director of Product Strategy at Appian Corporation (www. appian.com). She was previously Co-Founder and Managing Director of LANA Labs GmbH and held a senior role with technology group INPRO. Since late 2020, she has additionally been Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Sine Foundation.

PROCESS MINING

What is it and why does it matter?

We recently caught up with Karina Buschsieweke, Director of Product Strategy at Appian Corporation, to talk about process mining—a technique for discovering, monitoring, and improving processes. Appian is a software company that automates business processes on a unified platform, including everything that you need to design and optimise even the most complex processes from start to finish. In 2021, Appian acquired Lana Labs, a process mining company that was co-founded by Karina. Our conversation focuses on the increased need for process efficiency within financial organisations and how process mining can help.

Financial IT: So, the Appian Platform for process automation can help boost the efficiency of organisations – a lot of which are in the financial services sector, right?

Karina Buschsieweke: All of that is true. Appian has been in business for over 20 years and at its roots has been servicing the financial services industry across the globe. In working with our clients, we design business processes, connect data and build applications. Appian is used for a variety of process and risk control use cases, from loan origination and management to customer lifecycle management to AML and compliance. Over the last few years or so, we have made two acquisitions to further strengthen our platform. One of these is in robotic process automation, or RPA, which is a technology that can be used to automate manual steps. The other, which I co-founded, is Lana Labs, a leader in process mining technology.

Financial IT: What is process mining?

Karina Buschsieweke: Process mining is the visualisation and analysis of event data in an IT system. In particular, it looks at which process steps are executed, in which order, and when. Every stage is timestamped. Consider, for instance, what happens when a retail

customer looks to open an account with a bank. Processes are undertaken by both the (prospective) customer and the bank. The customer has to provide certain details and documentation at various points. The bank has to undertake credit and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks. Process mining enables the bank to see exactly what happened across all these processes. Were there obvious bottlenecks? Did the prospective client give up on the entire exercise?

Financial IT: Great. Where does Appian actually help?

Karina Buschsieweke: Suppose the process mining tool shows that problems are arising because of unstructured or nonstandardised data. The Appian Platform makes it possible to standardise the data and act on it. Our RPA solution replaces the manual filling out of forms, saving employee time and reducing human error. And the Appian Platform helps standardise what still needs human input and orchestrates the flow of that now-structured data. It also enables our clients to quantify their return on investment (RoI) in terms of money earned or saved, time not wasted, customer experience and satisfaction, and employee morale.

Financial IT: Businesses have been looking to improve process efficiency since well before the digital age. Why is process analysis more important now?

Karina Buschsieweke: There are two words that answer that: regulation and risk. Relative to 20 years ago, the consequences today of non-compliance with regulations are far greater, and more costly. There is also greater understanding of risks and the need to control those risks. Today, corporate management needs to better understand the processes within their businesses and whether or not those processes are optimal. And with the increasing complexity that organisations face, this

often can’t be handled effectively with manual analysis. That’s where process mining can help.

Financial IT: What about business sustainability?

Karina Buschsieweke: I would argue that it is impossible to be, or to be seen as, a sustainable business without process mining. Sustainability involves maximising the creation of value—in the broadest sense—relative to wealth. With process mining, management can understand exactly how value is being created. Process mining enables continuous improvement to achieve greater sustainability and competitiveness.

Financial IT: How would you summarise the benefits of process mining for financial services?

Karina Buschsieweke: Process mining can solve complex problems across multiple mission-critical use cases, namely in the compliance and risk areas, by providing transparency and actionability on insights. It’s also commonly used to reduce friction around the customer onboarding experience and throughout that client’s lifecycle. It can assess and identify any process areas that need attention, thus helping to mitigate any issues caused by legacy systems. Outside the financial services industry, it is widely used in areas like pharmaceuticals, life sciences, healthcare, and utilities. Across all these industry verticals, process mining enables businesses to remain sustainable and competitive in the context of relentless change.

Back to the Table of Contents FinovateEurope 2023 Issue 9 Cover Story

CHANGES TO THE WORLD OF PAYMENTS IN 2023-25

What are the changes that haven’t been discussed?

It is a reasonable bet that March 2023 will long be remembered as the month in which ISO 20022 became the standard for crossborder payments and cash reporting.

Momentous as it is, the arrival of standardization will probably be seen as just one of a wave of changes that have hit the global payments industry over recent years – providing new challenges and opportunities for established financial institutions and fintech start-ups.

From the arrival of the European Union’s Second Payments Directive (PSD2), through the global economic impact of a war and a pandemic, to the current journey to mandate instant payments, institutions are consistently navigating change, often with diminished resources.

Each of the changes on this (incomplete) list has been discussed at length – in Financial IT and elsewhere.

With lugubrious conditions persisting, an obvious question, therefore, is: what are the changes that – so far – have not been discussed or capitalized upon sufficiently?

Using data and having confidence

With the adoption of common messaging, new technology and the rapid rise of crossborder transaction volumes, payments are no longer primarily just about the movement of money from A to B, but present a rich source of data.

Obviously the traditional, larger financial institutions can benefit from this but, so too, in a world of open banking, can smaller institutions and innovative fintechs.

In fact, more than ever, financial institutions will have to decide whether or not payments is a core business for which they need to develop and own the technology. Most will be assessing wider business models and only those who embrace new solutions addressing both client and G20 performance requirements will gain precious market share.

Competitive pressures will continue to increase. There will be demands for faster payments, new and better services, greater focus on sustainability issues and lower costs – all challenges that insightful information can help to unlock.

In fact, when taking a two-to-three year view, it is likely that it will be intelligence

on data not currently envisaged, that will be driving innovation and investment.

For many of these institutions – and, especially those that are dependent on legacy technology – it will make sense to work with an established and specialist provider of Payments as a Service (PaaS) solutions.

The rise of PaaS

Obviously, this is good news for PaaS companies. However, it is not – and will not be – enough for them to deliver good solutions: they will have to demonstrate to their clients – the financial institutions –that they can achieve an attractive return on investment from the PaaS solutions on offer.

At Volante, our low-code platform means that our solutions come ‘off the shelf’. Being cloud agnostic and easily configurable, enabled us to help a major Italian bank to transition in six months. For a smaller institution, we could make a similar transformation in seven-to-eight weeks.

For a smaller institution, the adoption of an external provider’s PaaS solution levels the metaphorical playing field. With limited resources they can now develop offerings that would normally only be available from a much larger institution.

For those looking to meet eco-friendly payment practice requirements, digital adoption and PaaS also addresses the need for greener practices. Whether ethical or resource driven, reaching ESG goals is a happy outcome for change whatever the economic backdrop.

We don’t see ourselves as being just a technology company that provides cloud-native, truly innovative edge PaaS solutions. We are a partner company that helps our clients to really monetize their investment. To that end, our employees are people who really understand the markets that our clients operate in.

Changing the world for the better

The G20 financial authorities have determined that, by 2027, three-quarters of all payments will take place within one hour of being initiated and that 90% of the world’s population will have access to cross-border payments – even if they don’t have a bank account. So it's clear the

pace of change in payments will increase yet further, as will the pressure on all protagonists to adjust to that change.

Align your growth strategy with a PaaS provider that helps you grow and differentiate from others out there. After all, if you don’t, there are plenty of others waiting to claim your position.

Domenico Scaffidi, Vice President and Global Lead of the Payments Innovation Practice at Volante Technologies

Domenico Scaffidi is Vice President, Global Lead Payments Innovation Practice at Volante Technologies. He has over 25 years’ experience guiding and supporting financial Institutions, PSPs, central banks, and central infrastructures in the fields of instant and realtime payments, cross-border payments and helping to improve liquidity and settlement management.

Dome is a member of the Standard Advisory Panel (SAP) at the Bank of England, and has been a member of various working groups and task forces within the ECB European Central Bank (ECB) and European Banking Authority (EBA) helping to shape and influence payments standards in the UK and Europe.

Dome has worked extensively in both fintech and banking, including as Head of the Payment Systems and International Business Applications for the International Cooperative Banks.

Volante Technologies is the leading global provider of cloud payments and financial messaging solutions to accelerate digital transformation. It serves as a trusted partner to over 125 banks, financial institutions, market infrastructures, clearing houses, and corporate treasuries in 35 countries. Volante Technologies solutions and services process millions of transactions and trillions in value every day, powering four of the top five corporate banks, 40% of all US commercial bank deposits, and 70% of worldwide card traffic.

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Back to the Table of Contents 11 Lead Story

KEY REGULATORY TRENDS FOR 2023 EVERY COMPLIANCE PROFESSIONAL NEEDS TO KNOW

Navigating the ever-changing financial crime regulatory landscape has been no easy feat for compliance professionals in recent years. As financial crimes such as fraud scams and money laundering continue to evolve and a tense geopolitical environment gives rise to economic volatility, the challenge to mitigate risk and remain compliant with new/updated legislation has never been greater.

In our State of Financial Crime 2023 report, we surveyed 800 C-suite and senior compliance decision-makers across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific to get their take on the regulatory trends shaping the financial landscape and what this might mean for the year ahead. This article explores four key trends and actions compliance staff can take to stay ahead of the latest developments.

Growing Regulatory Focus on NFTs, Stablecoins, and DeFi

The collapse of crypto firms, including Terra/ Luna and FTX, has triggered an increased regulatory focus on non-fungible tokens (NFTs), stablecoins, decentralized finance (DeFi), and other largely unregulated virtual asset products. Countries, such as the US and Canada, are looking to introduce regulatory regimes for stablecoins. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also issued a Consultation Paper on the Proposed Regulatory Approach for Stablecoin-Related Activities laying out its approach and requirements to be imposed for firms issuing and providing intermediation activities of stablecoins.

South Korea appears to be leading the way and is anticipated to have a comprehensive

crypto framework by 2024. The framework will include guidance on NFTs and initial coin offerings (ICOs) and look to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The country has also indicated that it will issue guidelines for security tokens. Also, in September 2022, South Korea proposed adopting the Metaverse Industry Promotion Act to support the metaverse development in South Korea, which is unique in the world. Following this announcement, the administration is set to issue the Digital Asset Basic Act (DABA)

Beneficial Ownership and Corporate Transparency

In 2023, countries will continue to grapple with implementing beneficial ownership transparency requirements. This includes deciding whether to create publicly available registries, determining who can access private registries, and how to balance the competing needs for beneficial ownership information and data protection.

A recent case in Luxembourg has created some challenges by ruling that access to beneficial ownership information by the public could be a data protection breach. Countries in Europe and around the world are assessing the impact of this legal finding and what this will mean for their beneficial ownership registries. In the UK, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill will introduce provisions to address weaknesses identified in Companies House, including amendments to Limited Partnerships, clarity around who can register a company, and increased powers for the Registrar. Switzerland is also set to have

a centralized beneficial owners registry by June 2023.

Filling Crypto Regulatory Gaps

Firms operating in the crypto space have long called on regulators and governments to clarify and “fill gaps” in regulation. Our survey shows firms operating or planning to operate in crypto globally have big plans, with 59 percent of firms planning to seek their own crypto license rather than partner with a licensed firm.

Echoing the need for regulatory clarity in a fast-evolving sector, the Financial Stability Board’s February 2022 paper, emphasized the multifarious nature of cryptoasset markets and the potential they have for regulatory gaps, fragmentation, and arbitrage. As such, the FSB called on regulators for “timely and pre-emptive evaluation of possible policy responses”.

Global Responses

In 2023, global authorities continue to operate at different speeds. In the UK, the crypto industry has been calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to provide more clarity on crypto regulation, but also to accelerate licensing approvals. Sunak had previously indicated that he was “determined” for the UK to be “the jurisdiction of choice for crypto and blockchain technology.” On February 1, the UK Treasury took a step towards pursuing its plan to become a global crypto hub by launching a new consultation on regulation.

In Europe, firms are waiting for the Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation

Back to the Table of Contents
Lead Story 12

(MiCA) to pass. This would not only provide clarity for firms on market entry requirements for crypto but would also introduce “passporting” provisions to allow for firms regulated in one jurisdiction to be passported to other EU member states.

In Australia, the government has begun reforming its crypto regulatory regime with a new consultation paper published in February 2023, outlining the basis of a “token mapping framework” to help explain how various cryptoassets might fit into existing regulatory frameworks. Clearer standards such as these and a more uniform approach to regulation could lower operating costs and generate trust in licensed, regulated crypto asset firms.

Tax Evasion and Transparency

Finally, there continues to be a push for more transparency in corporate tax arrangements. It is estimated that corporate tax abuse leads to losses of at least $483 billion annually. In 2021, the G20 agreed to a minimum global tax of 15 percent for multinational corporations, and countries around the world continue to develop domestic frameworks to implement this.

At the United National General Assembly in November 2022, the Africa Group put forward a resolution calling for “inclusive and effective tax cooperation,” laying the groundwork for members to develop a new UN convention on tax and giving the UN the mandate to “monitor, evaluate and determine global tax rules and support the establishment of a global tax body.

Individual countries are also looking at improving tax transparency. For example,

Davies, Global Head of Regulatory Affairs at ComplyAdvantage

Andrew is a veteran of the financial crime risk management world. Before joining ComplyAdvantage, he served as vice president of global market strategy at Fiserv. Andrew works with customers worldwide to design and deploy effective risk management solutions to mitigate financial crime risks.

Australia is looking at requiring more detailed reporting by corporates. As part of its 2022/2023 budget, the government has introduced a multinational tax integrity package detailing antitax avoidance rules to minimize the risk that global entities with global revenue of at least AUS$1 billion claim tax deductions in no-or low-tax jurisdictions. Measures will be effective from July 1, 2023.

Responding to global regulatory themes

Firms must continue to ensure that they are aware of global regulatory themes and assess how looming changes and trends will likely affect them. With new regulations coming in 2023, firms of all sizes should devise a strategy for staying ahead of the latest developments. Five key steps to take include:

• Horizon scanning – Firms should stay ahead of the curve by ensuring their compliance teams have adequate budgeting approved by senior management to address changes and that the right level of resourcing has been allocated to address regulatory changes

• Carry out risk assessments – These should be completed as needed, taking a riskbased approach when adopting changes. Gap assessments should likewise be completed against upcoming regulatory changes and emerging threats, with policies, processes, and systems updated as required.

• Understand new requirements and impact

– Take the time to fully understand new requirements and the possible impact on operations, as new regulations may require adding a technology layer or

developing a strategy to exit a pool of clients who are suddenly deemed to be breaking the law

• Contribute to regulatory consultations and outreach – This will help to ensure that laws are being developed that do not stifle innovation or lead to the development of regulations that could have a serious negative impact on the industry

For more insights from our global compliance survey, and practical tips from our Regulatory Affairs team, download The State of Financial Crime 2023.

ComplyAdvantage is the financial industry's leading source of AI-driven financial crime risk data and detection technology. ComplyAdvantage's mission is to neutralize the risk of money laundering, terrorist financing, corruption, and other financial crime. More than 1000 companies rely on ComplyAdvantage to understand the risk of who they're doing business with through the world's only global, real-time database of people and companies. The company identifies thousands of risk events daily from millions of structured and unstructured data points. ComplyAdvantage has four global hubs in New York, London, Singapore, and Cluj-Napoca and is backed by Goldman Sachs, Ontario Teachers, Index Ventures, and Balderton Capital. Learn more at complyadvantage.com.

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Back to the Table of Contents
13 Lead Story

PREMATURE REGULATION: IS PSD3 COMING TOO SOON?

Following the consultation in May 2022 we are now (eagerly?) waiting for the first draft of the European Union’s third revision of the Directive on Payment Services (PSD3), listed for ‘early 2023’. Given the content of the consultation it seems easy to speculate what PSD3 might contain and what some of the potential impacts will be. But the EU has a habit of surprising us when it comes to new legislation and naturally there will be a long process and many changes as it passes through the Commission, Parliament and its committees, and the influence of external lobbyists. Typically, we should expect this process to close sometime in late 2024 with a date sometime in late 2025 for it to come into force – effectively meaning that we’ll be working on PSD3 projects as soon as we’re finally done with all of the global ISO 20022 migrations.

For banks represented by the main banking associations (also known as the ECSAs or European Credit Sector Associations) there is a strong feeling that PSD3 is coming too soon, especially given that many banks have been mandated to join the SEPA Instant scheme, pushed to provide secure two-factor authentication and fought valiantly to avoid supporting Open Banking APIs. And while much of this reticence is down to the high levels of technology debt present in most banks, the ECSAs make a valid point that the industry could probably do with a moment to breath and see what the impact of all this change actually is. The reality of regulation though is that it will continue to come at pace,

and from a variety of sources, as payments is the meeting point of several different regulatory areas. Essentially, change will continue regardless of protest and so you either need to get yourself into a position where your infrastructure can support that pace or get someone else to do it for you.

While the market consultation created more questions than answers, it is pretty clear that PSD3 will become a consolidation vehicle to merge some existing legislation, including the European e-money directive (EMD) which governs electronic money organisations, and some of those pieces in other legislation that cover the activities of fintech’s and other non-bank businesses. Essentially it’s likely we’ll see a levelling of the playing field for any organization that is moving money from A to B (or C) at the request of a payment system user. This will potentially lead to a stronger definition of ‘what a payment is’ and should include some reflection on the growing crossover between card systems and instant payments. With the changes in open banking that have come about since PSD2, there is an expectation that payments using this network access method will be more heavily legislated. We also see additional technical regulations required to be drafted by the EBA, mostly with regards to QR code-based payments and other technical implementations of instant payments outside of online banking. Some of the banks that I am currently talking with are also hoping that the definition of payment accounts becomes broader so that

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Back to the Table of Contents
17 Lead Story

non-traditional accounts can now become target recipients for payments via SEPA or other open banking systems.

Fundamentally what won't change is that a payment will still require settlement in Central Market systems and therefore dictate that ultimately a bank will be fundamentally responsible for providing the finality in our payment systems.

Buy now, pay later

Although instalment payments have been available through credit cards for more than 20 years in several European markets, we've seen a real acceleration of the buy now, pay later market (BNPL). To date, this market lacks real legislation and, like payday lending before it, will likely be a focus of specific pieces of PSD3. Many are expecting this to be aligned to existing credit card legislation or at least given boundaries that create a better environment for consumer transparency. The European Union normally looks to curb the excesses of companies that are looking to profit significantly from those in the market that could least afford to bolster corporate returns and so it is likely that the regulation will target interest rates and affordability alongside the right to cancel credit agreements if goods are returned. There may also be changes that align the credit mechanisms with the guarantees already offered by credit cards as a protection against rogue providers.

Wider inclusion

During the drafting of previous iterations of the Directive on Payment Services, there were considerable debates around the inclusion of loyalty accounts and those managed through the European e-Money Directive. Eventually, the lobbyists got their way and PSD2 was somewhat trimmed down in scope focussing almost exclusively on interbank payments. The final version of the directive even eliminated considerations such as cheques and other paper instruments meaning that consumers still tied to these legacy pieces were not getting the benefits brought about by the new legislation. Worse still,

the absence of closed loop systems and those classed as e-money meant that consumer rights could easily be bypassed, particularly when merchants decided not to support payment methods regulated under PSD2. There is an expectation the PSD3 will drive us towards greater convergence and deliver some benefits expected from the great expenditure ploughed into ISO 20022.

At CGI we work with many fintech’s and neo banks, helping them to exploit technology to deliver new innovations and help drive the market forwards. However, it’s often when projects move from theory to practice and they engage directly in money movement or connecting to banking infrastructure that the shocks start to appear. Most recently we guided a Nordic neo bank through the process of connecting to a legacy payment system, following a path that was a little overgrown to say the least. It'd be great if PSD3 could take a proper look at how open payment systems and networks are to adding new participants and lay out the standards for how documentation is made available. Where we have struggled daily with legacy, we have P27 who have made specifications directly available to registered vendors so that we can support the changes that seems outdated and unnecessarily obstructive to creating market competition.

The cloud as an innovation driver

One of the other great obstacles to modernization of payment systems in many banks is the lack of clarity regarding deployment of core systems such as payments into public cloud infrastructure. While this is proving to be a safe and flexible platform for the deployment of high availability applications it has shifted technology into a direction where risks and rewards cannot be readily discussed in the same terms as legacy mainframe. While the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) will look to streamline thirdparty risk management and so should solve some of the macro issues, the fact that a database containing Personally

Identifiable Information (PII) isn’t on a specific server, or rack in a specific cage, located in a specific segment of a specific building, still seems to terrify some in the regulatory and risk world. The fact that data is fully encrypted while in transit and at rest, and is protected by multi-level security that is designed to massively reduce the opportunities for exposure, still seems to be belittled by advocates of old-school physical security with padlocks.

Done properly under a recognized international security framework, which is what PSD3 should be regulating, public cloud deployment can move us away from proprietary installs and take us towards a future where banks can implement changes to the SEPA rulebook in less time than it takes for the consultation to be consolidated. Lean applications with multiple workflows that allow a bank to offer specific (micro) services to niche payment clients become massively more feasible when you’re no longer fighting for every MIP (Million Instructions Per second). With a strong sustainability argument also linked to cloud migration, this is a chance to PSD3 to have a genuine real-world impact.

Conclusion

It is clear that many organizations with a vested interest have already made their pitch for what they want out of PSD3, and for many it is simply ‘less of the same’. However, as a vendor looking to support a vibrant and innovative market driven by healthy competition, there are some clear steps that need to be taken to level the playing field and facilitate the acceleration of efficient and sustainable technologies. To compete with fintech’s and neo banks, the more traditional section of the market will need to look at technological overhaul, which should be driven by PSD3 as well as DORA. To maintain market stability and trust, fintech’s and neo banks need easier access to market schemes so they don’t worry about trying to bypass them. We need PSD3 to be the fuel for the digital payments fire, and the cautionary fire guard that stops us from burning down the house.

Back to the Table of Contents Lead Story 18

OPENING UP THE PAYMENTS MARKET: PAYMENT ORCHESTRATION AND PSD3

PSD2 focused on establishing a safe and open payments landscape in Europe. The industry is eagerly anticipating PSD3 and the changes it will bring. In the following, we look at the latest updates from the perspective of a payment orchestration platform.

The first Payment Services Directive (PSD) was adopted in 2007 with the aim of increasing competition in the payments industry across Europe. This included encouraging participation by non-banking enterprises and harmonizing consumer protection. The Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) came into force in 2016, and took things a step further. Key objectives included a more integrated European payments market, level playing field for payment service providers, the introduction of open banking, and strong emphasis on secure payments and consumer protection like SCA (Strong Customer Authentication).

With some time having passed since PSD2 was introduced, the European Commission submitted a call for advice to the European Banking Agency (EBA), asking for recommendations on updating the directive to reflect developments in the interim and to address any problems. The EBA’s response was published last year.

Reducing Fraud with SCA

Of particular interest to those of us in the payments industry is the subject of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). For the most part, the EBA has deemed SCA a success. Data shows a significant reduction of 40-50% in the volume and value of fraudulent card-based transactions between September 2020 and April 2021, coinciding with an increased adoption of SCA over the same period.

One area of concern with SCA was the disenfranchisement of vulnerable

groups. PSD2 leaves it up to payment service providers (PSPs) to choose their authentication approach, with many relying on smartphones. This has led to the exclusion of customers who are less techsavvy, do not have access to digital devices, have certain disabilities, and the elderly.

One of the EBA’s suggestions is a general requirement in PSD3 for PSPs to take the needs of all customers into account when designing authentication solutions. This would include considering alternative methods not reliant on smartphones or similar devices. Other suggestions were awareness and education campaigns and requiring PSPs to inform customers about alternative SCA solutions.

The EBA stops short of recommending specific implementations or promoting specific solutions. This would go against the directive’s objectives and prevent PSPs from applying more secure solutions should they wish to. The EBA does

About IXOPAY

IXOPAY is a payments orchestration platform enabling independent, flexible and global payment processing. As a highly scalable and PCI-DSS certified “fintech enabler”, IXOPAY fulfills the needs of large merchants as well as those of “white label” clients: payment service providers (PSPs), acquirers and independent sales organizations (ISOs). The modern, easily extendable architecture offers smart transaction routing & cascading, state-of-the-art risk & fraud management, fully automated reconciliation and settlements processing, comprehensive reporting as well as plugin-based integration of acquirers, payment service providers and alternative payment methods (APMs).

IXOPAY is part of the IXOLIT Group, founded in Vienna, Austria in 2001. With local entities in Austria and the USA, IXOLIT supports national and international customers across various industry verticals. The owner-led and -financed company has grown from 2 to more than 80 employees and is focused on building innovative solutions for eCommerce.

Please find more information about IXOPAY here: https://www.ixopay.com

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Back to the Table of Contents
21 Lead Story

however recommend that the European Commission consider the implications of the EU Accessibility Act to avoid overlaps or contradictions between the two pieces of legislation. A more inclusive payments landscape is surely something to be welcomed by all players.

The EBA also raised concerns over the use of merchant initiated transactions and mail order/ phone order (MOTO) payments to avoid the application of SCA, offering proposals to address this. Other points of interest include a need to clarify liability when SCA exemptions are applied. Given that exemptions play a key role in reducing friction for low value payments, we will be keenly following any changes in this regard. Overall, the EBA’s recommendations focus on tweaking existing provisions, rather than a large-scale overhaul.

Improving Open Banking

Another area of particular interest to platform providers such as IXOPAY were the EBA’s comments on open banking . PSD2 ushered in the concept of open banking in the EU by requiring standardized access to payment accounts via an API. This opened the doors for third party banking services ranging from initiating payments to account and financial management services, and IXOPAY offers connections to several open banking providers.

One key failure identified by the EBA was the lack of a standardized panEuropean API for open banking. This was something we noted as a deficiency ourselves , and has led to the proliferation of multiple conflicting standards. While the UK notably decided early on to

implement a single, nation-wide standard, other member states left it up to the industry to define the APIs. The result is a patchwork of incompatible standards. This causes significant challenges for third-party providers, increasing the effort required to connect to multiple service’s APIs. We can only hope that important lessons have been learned for the upcoming introduction of Open Finance. As a company whose USP is based around providing a single, unifying API, we understand how much easier integration becomes when there is a single standard to adhere to. The EBA proposes addressing this issue with a common API standard for the entire bloc. While recognizing that this would bring additional short term compliance costs, the benefits would far outweigh the disadvantages. Key benefits would include:

• Technical uniformity, with third party providers spending less time and effort on connections and more on innovation and competition (one of the key objectives of PSD2)

• Reduce barriers to entering the market

• Lower costs of maintaining and adapting APIs over the long term

• Contribute to a level playing field

• Provide clarity regarding the legal compliance of interfaces

• Facilitate authorities in assessing compliance

• Provide a firmer foundation for Open Finance and future data sharing

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) models, which have risen in prominence over recent years, were also addressed briefly. The EBA recommends clarifying how this business model is treated. PSD2 allows

payment institutions to grant credit under certain conditions when related to the provision of payment services, but it is unclear whether BNPL meets these criteria. The EBA believes that the core service is of a lending nature and should be considered as granting credit. The EBA acknowledges that BNPL services are generally tied to the provision of payment services, but that these payment services are dependent on the BNPL business model itself. In most common cases, no additional regulatory approach is recommended.

The role of payment orchestration

The response covers far more ground than can be summarized here, but the overall tenor is positive. PSD2 has generally had the intended impact on the European payments market, with SCA leading to a reduction in fraud and open banking becoming a global trend, despite some initial teething problems. It remains to be seen what form the next Payments Service Directive (PSD3) will take, but we expect more of an evolution than a revolution based on the EBA’s response.

For payment orchestration providers like IXOPAY, we see the need to focus on independence and flexibility, in line with the aims of PSD in opening up the payments market. Allowing our clients to integrate the PSPs and payment methods of their choice is key to offering them the flexibility they require, allowing them to adapt to new technologies and developments as they arise. No matter what form PDS3 ultimately takes, we will be ready.

Back to the Table of Contents
Lead Story 22

Whoever said this probably wishes they could hit rewind. They didn’t realize that to retain customers, you have to evolve with technology. And now they have no customers left. With Volante, that will never happen to you.

Our corporate-to-bank integration service gives your business the freedom to evolve, so you can keep up with technology and your customers’ needs — like reducing their onboarding time by 60%.

So, what are you waiting for?

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Featured Story 23 Back to the Table of Contents
“I WOULDN’T WORRY ABOUT THIS VIDEO STREAMING SERVICE THING.”
VolanteTech.com
– Former Executive, video rental chain

Lena Hackelöer, Experienced leader in the Fintech industry, transforming the space since her arrival at Klarna in 2010, where she began building their global B2B marketing. Lena moved to pursue further positions in the broader FinTech industry, gaining additional unique insights into the limitations and challenges facing existing brands, before founding Brite Payments in 2019. Here she continues to innovate and share her insights within the industry, to inspire further creation and innovation of services to bring an accessible, more affordable payment solution to the ever-evolving markets. Having recently launched Brite Payments, Lena is uniquely placed to speak knowledgably on both technical industry topics, and to provide insights around founding a business and strategy recommendations for topics such as talent acquisition and development across European markets.

LOSING CASH AND CARDS: WHY THE FUTURE OF PAYMENTS IS UP FOR GRABS

Across Europe, a growing number of countries are making the transition to near cashless economies. Even some of the continent’s most cash-loving holdouts, including Germany, are approaching an inflection point.

In the UK, more than 23 million people reported using virtually no cash in 2022, up from 13.7 million the previous year, with UK Finance predicting that within the next decade, notes and coins will account for only 6% of payments. It’s a similar picture in increasingly cashless Denmark, which did not record a single bank robbery last year.

The idea of a cashless society is not without its detractors though, and there is vocal ‘access to cash’ movements in many countries. In fact, the European Union is committed to guaranteeing freedom of payment choice, which includes the right to pay in cash across the Euro area. However, few can deny the benefits of switching to cashless payments in terms of enhanced convenience, reducing certain financial crimes, and greater financial stability.

Only a few years ago, when the primary alternative to cash was physical cards (credit and debit), the case for cashlessness was less solid. But the rise of mobile payments, biometric authentication, and account-toaccount (A2A) bank payments has been a further catalyst for the shift away from cash.

The charge for innovation

Consumers are now conditioned to expect seamless, intuitive experiences when they interact with technology – and these expectations now extend to banking and payments. Whether it’s the rapid growth of smartwatch payments in the Netherlands, or the growing ubiquity of Apple Pay, the future of payments in Europe may be defined by a lack of physical cards as much as a scarcity of cash.

Take, for example, the UK, which is one of the countries in Europe furthest along its cashless journey. In 2020, nearly a third (32%) of adult consumers in the UK registered to use their smartphone or wearable device for mobile payments in stores, an increase of more than seven million over the previous year. Rates of consumer credit card usage, especially among young people, are also

declining in the UK, with a report from 2021 finding that borrowing was down 14.5% to a record low.

Getting to grips with contactless

Modern payment methods, such as A2A transactions that run on open banking infrastructure, as well as a range of mobile solutions, offer an alternative to cashless payments that rely upon the traditional debit and credit card rails. They have opened the door for new, convenient, and secure ways for consumers to pay for goods and services, and – importantly – a more cost-effective way for merchants to accept payments.

From the perspective of businesses, cardless digital payments (i.e. A2A payments) offer improved operational efficiency, enhanced security measures, and elimination of costs associated with fraudulent chargebacks. When providers, such as Brite, leverage open banking infrastructure to deliver instant A2A payments, there is the additional benefit of immediate payment and settlement, and improved customer experiences that can engender greater customer loyalty.

From cashless to cardless

While significant strides have been made towards a cashless (or at least ‘less cash’) society, a cardless future is still very much under construction. Simply put, card payments are deeply entrenched in the merchant payment ecosystem, and it will take some time for open banking-based payments to build critical mass. Today, consumers are comfortable with a ‘pick-and-mix’ approach to payments, combining mobile banking, (cardless) mobile, and card payments. We are currently living through a transitionary period, but one where new ways to pay have the opportunity to rise and challenge the incumbents.

Security, speed, and simplicity: a2a steps forward

Given the transitory period the industry is currently going through, it is an opportune

moment to reflect, and to adapt to ensure we’re championing the most effective forms of mobile and contactless payments.

Which brings us to the instant A2A payments category, which may ultimately be the ‘gold standard’ of cardless payments. In terms of security, A2A payments benefit from the security layer of the bank account itself, as well as giving merchants greater cash flow predictability and delivering operational efficiencies. When it comes to speed, in some markets A2A payments are already executed instantly, though this is dependant on the underlying infrastructure. Instant processing of A2A payments means the process of waiting to get paid, or to claim refunds, is greatly reduced. Both sides of the till benefit from faster processing, and can have greater control of their cash flow.

Additionally, A2A payments are designed to be incredibly simple in terms of implementation. This reduces barriers to entry for accepting payments, thus aiding the transition to a cardless future.

The future is near

The onus is on merchants, payment providers and financial institutions to listen to the concerns of consumers, and to promote solutions that address these challenges head on. While still somewhat nascent, A2A payment solutions stand out in this respect, and are perfectly suited to the demands of a changing world.

At Brite Payments, we believe in the importance of developing faster, smarter and more secure payment methods, and are committed to bringing the benefits of instant A2A payments to consumers, merchants, and the broader economy.

For more information about Brite, please visit: https://britepayments.com/

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Featured Story 25 Back to the Table of Contents

North America for Provenir, a global leader in data and AI-powered risk decisioning software, processing more than 3 billion transactions annually for disruptive financial services organizations in more than 50 countries worldwide.

EMBRACING THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INNOVATION OPPORTUNITY IN THE ERA OF ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY

Historic federal reserve rate hikes have marked the fastest pace of interest rate increases in 40 years, impacting consumers, businesses, and financial institutions.

Mortgage rates have skyrocketed, causing a slowdown in the housing market. Home loan applications have fallen to their lowest level in 25 years. Auto loans are at their highest rate since 2012. Many consumers with credit cards and adjustable-rate loans are experiencing the effects of higher interest rates, translating into higher monthly payments. And many businesses, unable to access credit, are pumping the brakes on expansions and hiring.

Financial institutions are trying to navigate the economic downturn, adjusting loan and deposit pricing to align with market expectations, increasing credit spreads on loan offerings to protect against losses, and taking steps to guard against defaults.

They say, “necessity is the mother of all invention,” and we are indeed witnessing a period of reinvention with new innovations and lending products emerging.

FIs that can leverage additional data sources, and test and deploy new strategies to ensure the business is operating in a healthy manner will be the ones that can capture new market share during this downturn and reap the benefits of growth when others are pulling back from the market.

In a poll conducted in August 2022, 46 percent of leaders in financial services organizations are responding to economic uncertainty with new offerings to address shifting customer needs.

These organizations have not resigned themselves to be financial fatalists, they are navigating disruption to forge a successful path for the organization and for their customers.

This includes the use of predictive analytics to understand which consumers have the best propensity to pay, and then develop strategies that will help them stay financially whole as debt ratios rise. Moving forward, financial institutions must emphasize that even when times get tough, they’re going to be there to help consumers and business clients weather the storm.

FIs that can deliver products that allow their customers to live a financially healthy life, even when there are bumps in the financial road, will reap the benefits associated with customer loyalty, product graduation and expansion. This will be especially relevant in the new-to-credit and immigrant populations, as well as the sub-prime segment – sectors which have traditionally been poorly served by this industry.

Today’s ecosystem of data providers, infrastructure providers, and data science professionals will be presented an incredible opportunity (and challenge) to demonstrate how best to operate in uncertain times.

Machine learning and AI will be crucial in navigating these new uncharted waters. Lenders must aspire to capture the most market share they can in the least risky manner, and the right data and technology combination can help them do that.

With alternative data sources, open banking, AI and advanced data science, banks and FIs are now able to assess risk more accurately and more dynamically. Those banks and fintechs that can leverage these new data sources and techniques to deliver a stronger customer experience will best weather this downturn.

Machine learning and AI can help lenders understand not only a customer’s historical financial position, but also their current and, potentially, near-term position. Traditional data is not the most accurate predictor of future ability to pay. Leveraging alternative data is key to detecting and understanding the early warning indicators for those who might be headed for significant financial trouble and being ready to help them with payment options.

As we face economic uncertainty, innovative technology such as AI and machine learning for real-time, datadriven risk decisioning can aid the financial services industry in delivering the right products and services to support customers in their time of need – and experience growth as a result.

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Featured Story 27 Back to the Table of Contents
Winners have not resigned themselves to be financial fatalists; they are navigating disruption to forge a successful path for the organization and its customers.
Danielle Weinblatt, Chief Product Officer, Taulia

CONTROLLING YOUR ENVIRONMENT IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS

Success can come in many different forms and is entirely subjective to everyone. When I was young, I always knew I wanted to succeed in my chosen career. I was raised in an environment of very positive, educated, and career-centric women, and I grew up living vicariously through them. Before building a career in fintech with Taulia, I spent over 12 years in technology and the early part of my career was solely in finance, as I had roles in Investment Banking and Private Equity. I learned it is easy to go unnoticed as a woman in the industry, and I’ve had to become my own champion. The key to my success has been focusing on controlling my abilities and environment to reach my highest potential. A career in any industry or a journey down any path comes with noise and distractions. My advice for women is to focus on what they can control and maximize their potential no matter what.

Channel stress and prioritize self-care

Channeling stress in the right way can be a brilliant motivator. However, it’s important not to stop taking that much-needed time off to prioritize self-care.

The reality is that the world of fintech comes with high-stress levels. If you are someone who is looking to rewrite the rules, disrupt the financial industry and break away from the status quo, then stress is likely going to be a byproduct. But stress doesn’t have to be bad and can often generate very positive results. Being put in certain environments, under stress, can generate unique and beautiful outcomes. In

the same way that great wines are produced by vines under stress, in the world of work, pressure, and stress can lead to brilliant innovation and solutions.

The key I have found to supporting a level of motivation and balance is self-care. Take your holiday – every day available to you – and keep your weekends for yourself, where you can. Find your own ways to de-stress and re-balance. Whilst working in a stressful environment might create innovative, exciting results, too much can burn you out. Know your limits, recognize your stress responses, and book a vacation accordingly.

Be brave and speak up

If you have something to say, be brave and say it. In the finance industry, you can often find yourself in a crowded, loud, and often male-dominated environment. I recognize as a woman, under these conditions, it can be difficult to stand out in the crowd. My career in finance has taught me to speak up, regardless of the environment or setting I find myself in. I encourage anyone who feels similar to speak out on the issues you believe in, be true to your values, and demonstrate the best version of yourself. The more we speak up and persevere, the more our voices can be heard.

On occasions, I’ve felt deflated when being in meetings and not feeling like my voice was really heard. There have been times when I feel attention has been lost when I speak up. However, I believe that I deserve a seat around that table, and I don’t allow myself to leave a meeting without saying what I went there for.

Seek a like-minded mentor

Lastly, finding a mentor was perhaps one of the most influential elements that helped me achieve my professional goals. I was introduced to one of my mentors, Edie, by a friend. He thought we’d get along well, and had a lot in common. At the time, Edie was the Chief Diversity Officer at Goldman Sachs, and we met at an event that focused on supporting Veterans transitioning to the workplace. Since then, Edie and I have created and nurtured a great relationship. This mentorship extended beyond just the workplace, with Edie being the most wonderful friend to me as well.

Seeking a mentor requires time and investment to nurture that long-lasting connection. You can’t expect a mentor to find you, you have to do the work to find the right one. Once you have, do the work in keeping them – I promise you that you will reap all the benefits.

Taking control of my own environment is my secret to success. Every journey will have outside stimulus, noise, and distractions. But if you stay true to yourself, you will stand a great chance of achieving your potential, which matters most when we talk about “success.” Be brave, speak up, and show you are the leader you intend to be. Never forget to care for yourself and channel positive energy. Most importantly, never stop searching for like-minded mentors who can help you achieve your true potential.

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Featured Story 29 Back to the Table of Contents

SELECTING A NEW ISSUING AND ACQUIRING PROCESSOR: WHAT’S ON YOUR SHOPPING LIST?

Selecting a new payments processor is a complex task, made more so by the fact that, on the surface, the majority of processors in the market today appear to cover all the bases, with very little between them other than branding and price. We can all acknowledge that the processor a financial institution (FI) decides to partner with will be instrumental to the success of its payments business, so what should be on their shopping list when looking to determine if a processor is the right fit?

A successful processing relationship should have all the ingredients in place to go the distance. Making the wrong choice can be both very expensive and time consuming to extricate and migrate away from, and FIs don’t want to find themselves lockedin to unrewarding partnerships that are detrimental to their long-term success.

This comprehensive processing shopping list has been put together based on extensive first-hand experience of working as a processor, working as a technology provider for processors, and years of payments industry expertise, to ensure that whomever an FI selects, they will be able to support their vision, enable their strategy and facilitate their businesses growth both for the here and now, and well into the future.

#1 Breadth of service

There are numerous reasons for scoping payments processors in the market; from starting up a new payments enterprise, migrating part or all of the business to one of a number of outsourcing models, or just moving away from a partner that is no longer a viable strategic fit. Something to consider, regardless of where an FI sits in their business evolution, is the strategy for growth over the next two to ten years.

Whilst it is important to partner with a processor that meets an FI’s imminent requirements, those that drove them to start shopping around in the first place, the strategic fit needs to reach beyond the immediate to ensure one set of bottlenecks isn’t being replaced by another.

For example, short-term, a card issuer may seek a processor that can help it expand its product portfolio by introducing new card schemes into the mix, mid-term it may want to introduce new payment methods such as x-Pays, but in the long-term, it may plan to expand geographically into new territories. An e-commerce acquiring business may have the initial requirement to move away

from its current pricing model or longdevelopment queues, but in the future, has plans to expand to POS acquiring in order to add physical merchants to its repertoire. By selecting a universal processor with the experience, capability and flexibility to enable growth, an FI is already paving the way to facilitate and future-proof its success.

#2 Time-to-market

Competition is rife in today’s payments space and time is of the essence to launch new products and services in order to retain and grow market share. Every processor can issue a new card product, or set up a new merchant. However, the effort and time this takes can vary massively from processor to processor depending on a wide variety of factors, from the agility of the underlying technology and the service delivery models on offer, down to the resources available and where an FI will sit in terms of priority in the development queue.

When selecting a processor, an FI should choose one that reduces time-to-market for new products and services. It must not compromise its vision by making a choice

Featured Story 30 Back to the Table of Contents

that only offers efficient time-to-market for pre-packaged, off-the-shelf services. There is no differentiating or marketleading “off-the-shelf” innovation.

#3 APIs

A modern-day, successful payments business must be an integral part of the larger payments ecosystem. APIs are hugely important in order to integrate with systems both internally and externally, however not all APIs are created equal. The importance of understanding this fact when selecting a processor is key, as this goes beyond the connections or third-party relationships a processor already has in place.

An FI making the choice to align itself with a processor that is API-first with fully-functional, extensive and welldocumented APIs, will sit much happier than one with pre-2000 APIs that are not really fit-for-purpose. This will not only ensure smooth integration with its own systems and those of existing third parties, it will also be in a position to easily integrate with new suppliers in order to seamlessly interact with any payment ecosystem participant, ultimately injecting value into its business and facilitating growth.

#4 Experience

Selecting a processor that is proven, with clear and tangible longevity, integrity and experience, underpinned by a strong and knowledgeable team of experts is a no-brainer. An experienced processor is more maneuverable and can quickly anticipate and resolve issues. It is this proven maneuverability and agility that will be invaluable to an FI long-term. The more experience a processor has, the more insight it will be able to bring to the table in terms of understanding and realising an FI’s requirements on both a consultative and problem-solving scale, from initial migration, to ensuring zero disruption to day-to-day business.

#5 Underlying tech

The processor’s underlying payments platform will underpin an FI’s capability in how it runs its business now and any boundaries it may bump into in the future. It is imperative that FIs take a

closer look at the underlying technology in order to understand what a processor’s platform capabilities and limitations are so they can make an informed choice of processing partner to power their business.

For an FI, underlying system age and capability will translate into how innovative its products and services can be, how closely the processor will match its requirements, how quickly a product can be launched, how vendor independent it can be, alongside a host of other dependencies.

#6 Deployment models

The ideal processor should offer various deployment models including SaaS, PaaS, and hybrid, and allow an FI to switch between them to meet its changing business needs. FIs who start out on the SaaS deployment model will have a natural inclination to move toward PaaS, others will be more geared toward bringing parts of their system in-house, especially those generating competitive advantages. A few FIs may opt to reverse the flow and go from licence to outsourcing, from PaaS to SaaS depending on real-world challenges, resource availability and expertise, or as a strategic play. When it comes to service delivery models, a processor that offers a static choice between A and B or no choice at all, may not be the partner an FI wants to align its business with.

#7 Pricing transparency

Pricing models for processing services vary significantly from processor to processor. Often, initial quotes don’t offer transparency in terms of associated cost dependencies and an FI can find itself veering towards selecting a processor that will end up costing a lot more than it budgeted for. At the same time, a processor that offers complete visibility over pricing may be struck off the list of prospects early for being too expensive, when in fact, it has taken a significantly larger number of variables into consideration. FIs should seek to understand how prices are put together, what is and isn’t included and how they scale in order to make a decision that doesn’t end up costing a lot more than they bargained for.

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Featured Story 31 Back to the Table of Contents
Paul Chandler, Sales Director – Europe, Compass Plus Technologies

HOW FINTECHS CAN ENABLE SMES TO ACHIEVE INTERNATIONAL GROWTH

Peter O’Sullivan, Head of SME, Airwallex

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK have entered the new year with stark concerns over the state of the economy. There is recognition that SMEs are the driver of innovation and there is a huge commitment to supporting them by providing financing as they have increased pressure on cash flow. This, alongside predictions of a potential recession, rising inflation and ongoing market uncertainty highlight a rocky path forward for SMEs.

Despite this doom and gloom, there is recognition that technology can drive greater efficiency and agility,and enable SMEs to more easily navigate an unpredictable environment.

With SMEs making up 99% of all businesses in the UK, it’s more important than ever to support business builders with their growth ambitions. In fact, Airwallex’s recent research showed 70% of UK SMEs are planning to scale internationally this year –and they are increasingly relying on digital finance solutions to do so.

The changing times: From traditional banks to fintechs

Shifting to fintechs can support expansion efforts. Fintechs have established streamlined operating systems and reduced costs, which provides distinct advantages for high-growth SMEs. Offering virtual bank accounts, expense management solutions and real-time cross-border payments will enable organisations to foster international growth and financial interactions with foreign markets.

As a result of this, almost half (42%) of UK-based SMEs are moving more aggressively towards digital/fintech platforms and away from traditional banking services due to the current economic environment. Traditional banking has long struggled to compete with digital finance solutions. Fintechs have leaner operations, superior financial technology systems and cost a fraction of the cost of traditional banks.

Additionally, digital solutions are particularly effective when it comes to meeting and maintaining customer needs and demands – this is in large part due to its financial technology and systems. Fintechs also provide a layer of trust as businesses can receive and send money internationally instantly. This means fintechs are not only more convenient but also more cost-effective for SMEs than traditional banks.

The move to faster and digital payments enables transparency, certainty and lower business costs – ultimately, providing greater opportunities for SMEs.

Building a successful global business with financial infrastructure

Having the right financial infrastructure in place enables businesses to remain agile, fosters operational efficiency, and allows them to avoid the hidden costs involved when moving money globally. Many SMEs have a strong domestic presence but may lack the infrastructure, licenses and expertise to enable cross-border growth.

The key to supporting SME growth is to find financial solutions that can scale with them. The overhead and complexity involved in building new infrastructure are significant, so SMEs can turn to financial partners to help navigate new markets. This is because the knowledge-sharing between partners can be incredibly valuable, especially if they’ve been in those particular markets for longer and have technologies and processes that are more established there.

Based on our research, we found that establishing new partnerships will be central to SME expansion strategies for 2023, with a third (33%) aiming to establish new trade partnerships and a quarter (26%) wanting to build new channel partnerships. Partnering not only allows a business to immediately leverage a solution that’s more sophisticated but also saves overhead costs, which can then be reinvested into other focus areas such as hiring, employee retention and/or marketing.

It is also important that businesses understand the processes involved when transferring funds across borders. This can incur a number of hidden costs, particularly when it comes to accepting and settling payments online in different currencies. To avoid this, businesses can utilise fintech solutions that offer simplified processes and streamlined operations.

Utilising technology to succeed in an ever-changing market

The current economic environment makes it extremely important to reduce unnecessary expenditure, and digital solutions can play an integral role in improving efficiencies and enabling businesses to do more with less. In acknowledgement of this, almost three-quarters (71%) of SMEs are now

planning to invest in technology and tools to optimise workforce productivity and reduce unnecessary expenses in the face of mounting economic pressure.

Technology can better enable SMEs to manage costs and boost output. For example, expense management tools provide a modern solution for businesses to monitor their expenses in a fast, seamless and hasslefree way. Managing spending efficiently is critical to the success of any business, especially when trying to navigate market turbulence. Tools like this provide a cohesive solution to one of the biggest administrative challenges businesses face when scaling across borders.

The right software will enable organisations to streamline the expense process by offering a single integrated platform to manage spending. For instance, through a fintech solution, they can easily upload receipts for approval, reconcile expenses and gain real-time visibility over card transactions – all of which are crucial to managing growth at scale. It’s evident that implementing a digital-first approach and having the right financial and banking infrastructure in place can enable businesses of all sizes to sustain and even thrive in today’s market.

By ensuring the right infrastructure is in place, SMEs can enhance operational efficiency and generate growth. This will not only support them in responding to present barriers but will also provide long-term business stability during future periods of unprecedented setbacks.

Achieving growth amidst economic volatility

At a time when many businesses are facing mounting internal and external pressure, access to cost-effective technology shouldn’t be an added hurdle for international growth. Instead, SMEs should look for a fintech partner that can support their expansion needs – financial infrastructure, easy integration, global licences, etc –while enabling trust with their end users. Implementing the proper technology and finding the right fintech partnerships will ensure that the entrepreneurs, business builders, makers and creators are able to achieve their growth aspirations.

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Featured Story 33 Back to the Table of Contents

STRONG MOBILE SECURITY THAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL LOVE

Banking and fintech customers all have one thing in common: they all believe, with good reason, that the money they have in their account is theirs.

Banks, however, run into brand perception problems when they make it difficult to access and transact on customer accounts, be it because of elaborate password settings, card readers or extra verification steps: barbed wire fences that discourage customer engagement.

What customers don't always understand, of course, is that tight security is vital to protect their accounts, and for essential compliance with regulations such as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and PSD2.

In a rankings survey of personal and business account holders by the UK's Customer and Markets Authority (CMA), the smaller challenger banks came out on top for customer experience compared to bigger traditional players.

There is certainly more to customer experience than account access, but the digital experience a bank provides its customers is a crucial touchpoint for ongoing relationship-building. It’s measured not only by public rankings such as the CMA league table, but by internal NPS figures, and ultimately the loss of customers to more agile competitors.

Time to modernise account access with foolproof security – that actually improves the customer experience.

The MFA problem: Massively Frustrating Access

Proving a customer’s identity at account opening is an elaborate process of verifying a real-world identity, usually involving addresses, bills, and increasingly selfies, voice and other forms of biometrics. This expensive and laborious process cannot be repeated every time a customer wants to login, so a digital identity needs to be established for that customer.

The customers' digital identity then needs to be secured.

This is where the problems start. Email and password alone is highly vulnerable, and with common password habits you may as well keep the door open, so multi-factor authentication (MFA) practices require a second form of authentication.

OTPs (one-time passwords) via SMS were the old standard, but not only are they inconvenient and unreliable – they’re rife with security problems that are now well-known, meaning that new standards like SCA and PSD2 require a stronger proof of possession.

Device-based biometrics are a popular and convenient alternative, usually in the

form of a fingerprint. However, not every user is willing or able to associate their biometric data with their banking.

Here are some of the other forms of MFA banks currently use to increase account access security:

• Card readers with time-based PIN codes

• IVR and call-back with time-based PIN codes (usually mobile to desktop and vice-versa)

• Government-issued ID or document

• Device binding with mobile-native biometrics

None of these processes are ideal –they’re hugely expensive, and not what customers expect or want.

Chief Information and Security Officers (CISOs) would put forward a strong case that bad actors are everywhere. Reports of cybercrime such as account takeover, phishing, and fraud have grown by 300% since the pandemic began. Banks are prime targets, with 80% of financial institutions experiencing a breach.

What was previously a largely desktop problem is now multi-channel, with mobile the primary vector: more than 50% of high-risk transactions originate from mobile devices.

The challenge for IAM managers and CX leaders is how to adapt to these new challenges without experiencing high drop-

Featured Story 34 Back to the Table of Contents

Global mobile verification platform tru.ID is Paul's third venture, building on over 20 years of entrepreneurship in telecoms, mobile and financial services. Prior to tru.ID, Paul founded Paymo Inc which was acquired by Boku, where he became a Board member and ran worldwide business development. Prior to Paymo, Paul was co-founder and COO of mBlox, pioneers of mobile messaging, building a business active in over 50 countries that was acquired by Sinch. Paul's early career was at Booz, Allen & Hamilton. Paul holds an MBA from INSEAD and an Engineering degree from Cambridge University.

off rates, or drowning in negative reviews and poor customer satisfaction ratings.

The silent SIM-based alternative

There's a perception in security that the more complicated a solution is, the more secure it is. However, the simpler solutions are often better – they increase the chances of user adoption and provide fewer opportunities for misuse.

The SIM card on your phone is designed to connect you to the network seamlessly and invisibly, using your mobile phone number, and nothing else.

SIM cards are tamper-resistant, cryptographically secure, and share the same microchip technology that is built into every bank card.

The greatest benefit of the SIM card is that it’s already used by 6.37 billion people daily – meaning customers don’t need to lift a finger to take advantage of the powerful possession-factor MFA that it represents.

How SIM-based authorisation works: users don't have to do a thing

When we use data on our mobile phones, we don’t need to type our email and a

password to log in. We are automatically logged onto the mobile network because the mobile operator performs a silent cryptographic check of the unique SIM card. From that point forward, all communication between the device and the network is fully encrypted.

This strong, cryptographic security is built into every mobile network and SIM card, and it happens silently in the background every time we use our mobile device.

SIM-based mobile verification is the new solution that harnesses network authentication, and you can embed this powerful possession factor into your app now.

Because there’s no user action, unlike other factors, SIM possession can’t be faked or fraudulently accessed by a remote threat actor – meaning you have assurance that the user really is holding the expected device.

Superior security and customer experience

SIM-based network authentication by tru. ID can establish a verified digital identity that's authenticated each time by the network-issued SIM card.

• Use verified mobile numbers as part of onboarding and use tru.ID to implement SIM-based device binding

• App authentication can be used to authenticate your customers across other channels too, such as desktop/ laptop

• Use SIM change monitoring for verifying payment and transfer requests

• Replace card readers from your customer experience

With silent possession-factor auth, you can now boost your phishing-resistant security and provide a modern, mobilefirst customer experience.

Ready to upgrade to next-gen customer authentication?

Adding tru.ID to your security stack is easy.

To find out how to implement tru. ID silent auth and deliver high-security, low-friction digital identity assurance for your customers, talk to us at https://tru.id/ book-demo , or simply visit https://tru.id to find out more.

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Featured Story 35 Back to the Table of Contents
Paul McGuire, CEO-Founder tru.ID:

RESHAPING FINANCIAL SERVICES THROUGH OPEN AND EMBEDDED FINANCE

Having recently reached its milestone fifth birthday in the UK, it’s a good time to reflect on the progress achieved by Open Banking and to examine the opportunities that lie ahead for open finance. We’ve seen the move to ‘open’ grow from an emerging idea to a clear priority for financial institutions across the world, enabling as it does business model shifts such as embedded banking and the potential to better serve customers at the point of need.

Looking at the evolution of Open Banking, Finastra’s recent ’Financial Services: State of the Nation Survey 2022’ reveals that Open Banking is now universally and unequivocally regarded as a key part of a bank’s landscape. Some 99% of respondents consider it either a ‘must have’ or ‘important’ to their business. They also report clear benefits, with 50% agreeing it’s already helping to improve the customer experience and 48% saying it’s helping them to attract new customers.

Views on open finance, seen as a natural evolution of Open Banking, are also maturing with some 94% of financial institutions regarding it as either a ‘must have’ or ‘important’. In the context of data sharing, 85% of professionals agree that open finance is already making the industry more collaborative and is having a positive impact. The implication is that the sector globally is actively investigating products and services that would benefit from an ecosystem model.

Revolutionising the customer experience

The power of ecosystems and increased collaboration is clear to see when you examine how Banking as a Service (BaaS) and embedded finance have become firmly rooted in the financial services sector. Some 83% of the institutions we surveyed agree that BaaS and embedded finance are now expected or demanded by customers.

As a result, institutions are boosting their efforts to improve or deploy innovative business models. Our research shows that more than a third (35%) of institutions surveyed improved or deployed BaaS in the past year and a fraction less (33%) deployed embedded finance.

Banks are increasingly working with both consumer-facing and B2B platforms –enabling these non-financial businesses to integrate and provide financial services as part of their product offering. Any company that offers or delivers its products and services online, for example, will understand that reliable financial services capabilities underpin every transaction. Whether it’s the ability for companies to accept payments on behalf of customers, offer credit products to support customers in completing a transaction, or invite customers to store value in an e-wallet to receive preferred customer benefits, financial services underpin every transaction in the internet economy.

Banks and businesses that do not take on board changing customer expectations and new opportunities (such as embedded financial solutions) may find themselves edged out in the race to retain customers and remain competitive. According to Juniper Research the global embedded finance market is estimated to grow by 182% in 5 years, from $65 billion in 2022 to $183 billion in 2027.

Building embedded finance ecosystems

In the fast-growing embedded finance space, embedded payments and embedded lending are some of the most well-developed areas. Perhaps the most advanced part of the sector is embedded payments, with firms like Uber popularising this usage for millions of users. Driving navigation maps, like Google Maps, even offer users in some areas the ability to find and pay for parking, all within the app.

In the lending space, Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) is often cited as an example of embedded finance, although in many ways it’s more of a credit-card replacement product. It certainly adds convenience for customers, so long as they’re aware of the costs associated. While BNPL is typically used to finance lower value transactions, embedded lending and purchase financing comes into play for higher value purchases, such as home improvements and elective medical treatments. Embedded

lending allows financial institutions to provide traditional lending products at the point of sale, using highly regulated and proven origination processes. By adding this feature at checkout, retailers and merchant aggregators remove the need for consumers to fill out lengthy paperwork and wait for a loan to be approved, dramatically simplifying the process.

By partnering with distribution partners and platforms, banks have the opportunity to get the right financial products to customers exactly when they need them. For example, embedding the lending process directly into the customer purchase journey brings added value to all parties. It delivers ease and convenience for customers at the point of sale; speeds up the transaction process for retailers; and allows banks to benefit from new indirect sales channels for their traditional lending products, and acquire net new customers. A BaaS model enables information to be exchanged securely between the brand and the bank, giving the financial institution the context around the customer and the purpose of the loan in order to make a risk assessment and give the customer the optimum rate associated with a traditional loan.

Delivering on the vision of open and embedded finance

Looking ahead, I anticipate an acceleration in the ‘unbundling of banking’, with distributors and financial institutions increasingly collaborating with external partners to offer products procured outside of their own organisations. This shift to ‘open’ –underpinned by open platforms – offers huge potential to embed and deliver banking services in context, designed to meet the customer at the point of need. Embedded finance will help to eliminate friction in the ecosystem so that financial services can be delivered in the best way – as well as being fairer, more sustainable, and inclusive for all.

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Featured Story 37 Back to the Table of Contents
An Interview with Alexandra Dolia, COO and Co-owner of Akurateco

12 YEARS IN FINTECH FROM CUSTOMER SUPPORT MANAGER TO AKURATECO'S CO-OWNER

Alexandra is COO and co-owner of Akurateco and a seasoned fintech professional with 12 years of experience. In this ‘Women in Tech’ section, we will delve into her journey in the industry, the challenges she faced as a woman, and her thoughts on the current and future state of fintech.

Financial IT: Tell us about your journey in the fintech industry

Alexandra Dolia: My journey started in fintech in 2012, as a part-time job while I was at university. I was offered a job at Portmone.com, a local Payment Service Provider in Ukraine, and what was planned as a temporary position turned into a permanent role and a part of my professional life. Over the years, I have worked in 4 companies and have gained experience in both B2B and B2C payments, starting from a customer support manager to now as a COO of Akurateco, a Payments Orchestration Platform.

Financial IT: Who were the major influences in your career in fintech?

Alexandra Dolia: I have been fortunate to have two professionals who have greatly shaped my career in fintech: Igor Gorin, the founder of Portmone, who was always willing to share his knowledge and gave me a strong foundation for understanding payment processes, and Andrew Riabchuk, the founder of Akurateco, who has a diverse and extensive knowledge of all aspects of fintech.

Financial IT: As a woman in fintech, what do you believe are the biggest challenges you have faced?

Alexandra Dolia: Fortunately, I haven't faced systematic discrimination in my career. However, there were instances of clients preferring a male representative

and being surprised when referred to me during technical discussions. This was rare and mostly taken with humor as a relic from the past. As I advanced in my career, I noticed fewer women around me. Also, I’d like to mention that I observe a lack of female representation in the startup world and felt it acutely as the only woman founder at a recent award ceremony Startup Wise Guys.

Financial IT: Are women really judged based on emotions?

Alexandra Dolia: Expressing disagreement can be difficult due to the stereotype that women are emotional. Men's expressions of disagreement are seen as normal, whereas women’s are often met with the request to "be constructive" no matter how they put their thoughts into words. Women may have to refine their language or accept that their arguments will be perceived as emotional because of their gender.

Financial IT: How do you believe diversity in fintech can be increased?

Alexandra Dolia: Hiring and supporting women, giving them opportunities for career growth, involving them in decision-making, and promoting them to managerial positions. I’ve never regretted hiring a woman for my team. If you want to see not only men but also women with you at C-level meetings, then why not invest in it yourself, especially if there is an opportunity?

Financial IT: What’s your opinion on the current state of the fintech industry?

Alexandra Dolia: Obviously, it has undergone significant changes over the last 12 years, with power and opportunities for change and innovation shifting from banks to smaller companies and startups. Decentralization is also underway, as

businesses no longer want to rely solely on a single Payment Service Provider (PSP) and are opting to control their payments through their own gateways or payment management software.

Financial IT: Any predictions on fintech in the next 5-10 years?

Alexandra Dolia: Apart from decentralization, there is a huge boost in the use of SaaS solutions. SaaS allows companies to reduce in-house development costs and improve customer service, making it a major force in transforming the payments industry. I also believe that the payment cycle will continue to become shorter and more "invisible," with a trend towards payment validation through identity and the rise of Open Banking.

Financial IT: What advice would you give to women who want to be a part of the fintech industry?

Alexandra Dolia: 1. Don't be intimidated by the word "fintech". Overcome the fear and stereotypes that women don't belong in tech. fintech is a complex industry, but you can learn anything if you put your mind to it.

2. Speak up and be confident in expressing your opinions. This will help you stand out and make a lasting impression.

3. Support other women in the industry and don't tear each other down. Women supporting women is crucial for growth and success.

4. Help your colleagues grow and succeed as well. This will create a strong support system and make difficult times easier to handle.

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Featured Story 39 Back to the Table of Contents
Or visit: https://tru.id

“WHAT GOOD IS A PHOTO YOU CAN’T HOLD IN YOUR HAND?”

Whoever said this wasn’t thinking big picture. If they were, they would’ve known that evolving with technology is critical to staying competitive in any industry — especially banking.

That’s where we come in.

Our cloud Payments as a Service (PaaS) enables you to get ahead, stay ahead, and beat the competition.

This is PaaS done right.

Spring Issue • FinovateEurope 2023 Featured Story 41 VolanteTech.com/Payments
– Former Chief R&D Officer, camera company
REGISTER TODAY
MONEY DOES BUSINESS. Get your ticket to the only Fintech show you need this June and get €200 off with discount code FIT200. This is where the future of the industry is shaped and boundaries are constantly pushed. From global power players and tech giants to the boldest new voices and disruptors, everyone is here to connect, access new knowledge and insights to shape strategy and form the partnerships of tomorrow. THE PLACE WHERE europe.money2020.com Money2020 Money20/20 Money20_20 Follow us:
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.