Page 1

Enabling seamless customer journeys and digital readiness www.fintechmagazine.com

DECEMBER 2019

A CLOUD-FIRST TRADING REVOLUTION

The ‘Harry Potter problem’ solvers

Maarten Ectors, Chief Innovation Officer, on solving the most complex digital innovation problems

INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS


FOREWORD

W

elcome to the December

edition of FinTech magazine.

“At the moment, we have more

In this issue we also bring you some exclusive content from October’s Money20/20 USA event.

demand than we can handle,” says

This includes interviews with

Maarten Ectors, Chief Innovation

President of Money20/20, Tracey

Officer at Legal & General, in this

Davies, and ethical hacker Alissa

month’s cover feature. As we discover,

Knight, who revealed the astonish-

that’s no bad thing for Ectors and

ing results of her recent research

his Future Ventures team.

at the show.

He and the small group of innova-

03

We also explore the digital

tors that comprise the team seek out

journeys of several other leading

and solve what they call ‘Harry Potter

organisations in the financial

problems’ – issues, he says, that

services sector, including ING,

“businesses and organisations have

Meridian Credit Union, Libertex

tried and failed to solve, and don’t

Group and C2FO.

know who to turn to for a solution”. The only remaining course of action for such companies is to approach innovators like Ectors, who are capable of rapidly bringing new technologies and business approaches to the fore that can solve problems

If you wish to share your story, or discuss key industry trends in more detail, please get in touch at matthew.high@bizclikmedia.com Matt High

cheaper, faster and more effectively than anyone else.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


From Inspiration

to Innovation


Click the home icon (top right of page) to return to contents page at anytime

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

MATT HIGH CREATIVE DIRECTORS

DANIEL CRAWFORD STEVE SHIPLEY

PRESS PLAY! WHEN YOU SEE THE PLAY BUTTON ICON, CLICK TO WATCH OUR VIDEO CONTENT

CREATIVE TEAM

ERIN HANCOX OSCAR HATHAWAY SOPHIA FORTE SOPHIE-ANN PINNELL PRODUCTION DIRECTOR

DANIELA KIANICKOVÁ PRODUCTION MANAGER

OWEN MARTIN DIGITAL VIDEO DIRECTOR

Wherever you see these icons in the magazine click to be directly connected via social media

JOSH TRETT DIGITAL VIDEO PRODUCER

JOSHUA S. PECK EMILY McNAMARA SOCIAL MEDIA PRODUCERS

DANIEL WEATHERLEY JACK GRIMSHAW EVELYN HOWAT KAYLEIGH SHOOTER

05

PROJECT DIRECTORS

ANDREW STUBBINGS JAKE MEGEARY JACK PASCALL NATHAN HOLMES JORDAN HUBBARD SHIRIN SADR DIGITAL MEDIA DIRECTORS

ARRON RAMPLING JASON WESTGATE

CLICK NOW TO SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

ALEX BARRON GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR

JAMES PEPPER CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

ANDY TURNER PRESIDENT & CEO

Visit the fintechmagazine.com website and sign up to receive exclusive access to one of the world’s fastest growing business news platforms

GLEN WHITE

IF YOU LIKE US PUBLISHED BY

FOLLOW US!


CONTENTS

10

28

DECEMBER 2019


40 50

60

76 Events w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


CONTENTS

80

Libertex

110 WSIB

94

130

Emirates NBD

Meridian Credit Union

146 Kubra DECEMBER 2019


160

178

ING Visions Federal Credit Union

192 C2FO

204 INLOOP

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


10

Legal & General: the ‘Harry Potter problem’ solvers WRITTEN BY

MATT HIGH PRODUCED BY

JAMES PEPPER

DECEMBER 2019


11

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


LEGAL & GENERAL FUTURE VENTURES

Maarten Ectors, Chief Innovation Officer at Legal & General, discusses his team’s approach to solving the most complex digital innovation problems

A

t the moment, we have more demand than we can handle,” says Maarten Ectors, Chief Innovation Officer at Legal & General (L&G).

But, for Ectors and his Future Ventures team, that is no bad thing. He, and the group of innovators he collaborates with, seek out and solve those most 12

critical of business problems – and they answer them in weeks. Ectors has termed such challenges ‘Harry Potter problems’, the type of issues, he says, that “businesses and organisations have tried, and failed, to solve and don’t know who to turn to for a solution. The only course of action left is to go to the innovator that might hold a magic wand in the shape of new technologies or business approaches to solve the problems faster, cheaper and more effectively than anyone else. We’re that innovator.” Ectors joined L&G in June 2017 as Chief Digital Officer with a singular mission: to make insurance smart and exciting with the aim of disrupting the industry. It didn’t take long; the company’s general insurance unit won awards for the most innovative home insurer and best claims technology solution – SmartClaim – of the year in 2018. That same year, DECEMBER 2019


13

ÂŁ2,049mn Net income (2018)

1836

Year founded

8,000+

Approximate number of employees w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


LEGAL & GENERAL FUTURE VENTURES

14

“Have a Harry Potter problem? A critical business problem which others weren’t able to solve? Take it to the innovators that can bring a magic wand, by using new technologies and business approaches to solve your problem in a faster, cheaper and award-winning way”

he assumed his current position in the organisation, taking the same awardwinning approach and building a team focused on solving business problems with the help of innovative technologies such as next-generation blockchain, AI, serverless solutions, mobile apps and chatbots, experimenting with continuous deployment and new business models, in collaboration with some of the world’s most disruptive innovators. Key to the success of the L&G team over the last three years is the innovative mindset which Ectors brought to the organisation. Having previously held roles at businesses such as Nokia Siemens and Canonical/Ubuntu, he was highly experienced in innovation

Maarten Ectors, Future Ventures Chief Innovation Officer, Legal & General

and technology, yet freely admits he had less knowledge of how to bring that experience to an incumbent in a sector that is more traditional in its approach. “Can a 180+ year-old company be a fast innovator?” he asks. “Yes. Innovation is an attitude that you can easily teach to business, technical and support functions. Innovation, and our Harry Potter problem approach is all about mindset. I joined L&G from a technology background. When it came to innovating, I’d previously formed

DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘LEGAL & GENERAL’S CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER, MAARTEN ECTORS, ON SOLVING THE MOST CHALLENGING ‘HARRY POTTER PROBLEMS’’

startup-like groups, within which we

This approach led to SmartClaim,

would take specific problems or a new

an award-winning home insurance so-

technology like cloud computing, cre-

lution that integrates multiple data

ate specialised teams and focus solely

sources and combines technology

on those problems for weeks to come

and automation to simplify the claims

up with a solution. You don’t know what

notification, verification and validation

will happen after that time, and it’s a

processes. “At one of our first meet-

case of ‘you either do this and you do it

ings, we sat with some of the largest

well, or you don’t’. We never allowed

brands and businesses, including

ourselves a big budget, which means

Google, Oracle, IBM and Accenture,

you can’t approach things in the normal

and gave them four key problems and

way, and so have to find a way to make

a three-month exercise in solving them

things work. This is the type of thinking

– one was around claims,” says Ectors.

we now embrace at L&G.”

“The premise really was ‘let’s make it as w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

15


LEGAL & GENERAL FUTURE VENTURES

16

easy as possible for an honest custom-

from start to finish, and that’s for a full

er and as hard as possible for a

serverless solution that is chat-bot

dishonest customer’, and that became

based, uses AI and image recognition

the first Harry Potter problem.”

to validate the claims and learns as it

Testament to the innovative spirit that

works to improve fraud detection. The

drives L&G, a solution was in produc-

solution won the best claim technology

tion within a remarkable six weeks.

of the year award last year and our

Graeme Findlay, Innovation Delivery

Net Promoter Score (NPS) went from

Director, elaborates: “There’s a really

negative to 90, which is pretty close

nice dichotomy in the product from an

to perfect.”

insurance perspective, in making the

The success of SmartClaim marked

act of claiming easy for the genuine

the turning point for L&G’s digital trans-

and hard for the disingenuous.

formation journey. According to Ectors,

SmartClaim was born in just six weeks

the overriding sentiment in the

DECEMBER 2019


business at that point, in September 2018, “was whether we could bring this approach to more areas of the business – the remit became ‘let’s innovate all over the company’.” The result of that remit was the development of the Future Ventures team, as Ectors sought to bring the brightest and most willing innovators on board. This includes Future Ventures Director Peggy Loo. “The problem with established businesses is that any innovation is preceded by long cycles of planning, developing business cases and then implementing ideas years in advance. You actually want to get into the mindset

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Maarten Ectors Maarten Ectors is Chief Innovation Officer for Legal & General, the UK’s big gest investment manager, annuit y, pension provider and life insurer. Maarten came from a soft ware innovation background. His mission is to launch faster, cheaper and award-winning solutions to critical business problems the industry was not able to solve before, or Harry Potter problems.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

17


LEGAL & GENERAL FUTURE VENTURES

18

“Can a 180+ year old company be a fast innovator? Yes. Innovation is a mindset that can spread like a virus” Maarten Ectors, Future Ventures Chief Innovation Officer, Legal & General

DECEMBER 2019


19

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


A result-driven, committed software partner for global insurers Streamline core operations, improve underwriting accuracy, reduce administrative costs, and prevent fraud with DataArt, a niche technology advisory and consulting firm. Partner with DataArt to identify key business & technology trends within the insurance industry, develop solutions, and implement them for helping your clients keep ahead of the curve.

Learn More

www.dataart.com sales@dataart.com


of operating with a startup mentality

Harry Potter problem model to identify

and, through your innovation and tech-

the key ‘problems’ for L&G, and seek

nology, compete with them. What I saw

out the opportunities to scale them up.

very quickly is that the startup way of

Despite working within the confines of

working – being really innovative, devel-

one of the largest insurance, pension

oping ideas rapidly and proving the

and investment companies, the team is

concept early before further develop-

resolute in its disruptive mindset: “It

ment – is how Maarten and Graeme

may sound strange to some, but we re-

were approaching innovation within

ally feel like a startup company,” says

L&G. It was obvious that it should be

Findlay. “We have a modest fixed budg-

the way in which we as a wider organi-

et and culturally we’ve adopted a

sation should approach all our projects.

mentality whereby we move very rap-

Think like a startup, fail fast, fail cheaply

idly, try and fail quickly, and we don’t

and keep innovating.”

waste time reaching decisions.”

Since, Loo, Ectors, Findlay and their

Naturally, that mindset has resulted

Future Ventures colleagues have relied

in the development of several innova-

on the “very repeatable and simple”

tive new products. This includes new

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

21


LEGAL & GENERAL FUTURE VENTURES

Blockchain platform Estua(re), the first pension risk transfer execution platform driven by blockchain technology. Developed through the use of Amazon Web Services and recognised as a single ecosystem, Estua(re) is capable of driving each stage of the pension risk transfer reinsurance value chain, including pricing, claims handling, financial reporting and collateral using data that is stored on the blockchain. It will, says Matt Bannock, who is leading the blockchain delivery, “greatly reduce 22

the workload of operating contracts and the use of smart contracts, will mitigate the need for reconciliation between insurer and re-insurer, and make it easier for L&G and its customers to interact securely. The system is built on the Hyperledger fabric, which is being supplied by Data Art.” Similarly, the team is in the process of rolling out a new mobile app, first to L&G employees but with the intention of distributing to its customers. The Harry Potter problem in this instance? “Our workplace pension team needed to enhance their mobile proposition to remain competitive in their tendering process,” says Ectors. DECEMBER 2019


“Think like a startup, fail fast, fail cheaply and keep innovating” Peggy Loo, Future Ventures Director, Legal & General The driving force behind the app’s development was simplicity. “It collates a series of functions whereby people can interact with each other, and ultimately customers, into a single ecosystem where services complement each other,” says Loo. “You may wish to speak with a tech advisor or a financial adviser, for example, which in turn may lead you to considering options related to your health, employee share schemes or pension. Ecosystems are important. No one thinks of their life in a single, compartmentalised way anymore. All of our interactions relate to each other. For us, however, it was really important to create a single place where people can w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

23


LEGAL & GENERAL FUTURE VENTURES

24

DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘LEGAL & GENERAL’S FUTURE VENTURES TEAM: PROBLEM SOLVING, INNOVATION AND TRANSFORMING FROM WITHIN’ 25 access everything they need to and

something done, you can log in, get it

suppliers can come on board to serve

done and carry on being as productive

these customers and take it in their

as possible. It’s always all about

own direction. The solution in its early

‘what is your problem, and how can we

phases, distributed via employers and

solve it in the most effective way?’.

employees. It’s super scalable too –

Whichever direction we take our inno-

ultimately, people can fully personalise

vation, it needs to be faster, cheaper

how they use the app. You have the

and better. It’s the Netflix or Amazon

ability to collate favourite services,

mentality, strip away complexity and

products or content, or to develop it with

allow people to get what they want

a particular group or social club in mind.”

quickly and simply.”

“We’re making the anti-Facebook

Naturally, developing innovative solu-

app,” Ectors adds. “We don’t want

tions at the pace in which the Future

people to spend a long time within it.

Ventures team works, requires close

If you are an employee and you need

collaboration with industry-leading w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


LEGAL & GENERAL FUTURE VENTURES

partners. The team has a rigorous se-

and ultimately spread it across the

lection process, according to Sean

business. What’s really important from

O’reilly, Head of Technology Innovation:

our perspective is that we don’t sup-

“We like to specify one of our Harry

port people forever. We introduce the

Potter problems and to set it as a chal-

problem followed by the technology,

lenge for a number of potential partners

but then take a step back and expect

in the shape of a five minutes RFI. We’ll

people to take it forward. Collaboration

expect a presentation on potential so-

is key throughout the process.”

lutions in as little as week with a one to

To date, the Future Ventures team at

three minutes video on how easy our

L&G has achieved spectacular results

problem can be solved. Watching the

in a short period of time. It is rare to

video, we can discard solutions in five

find such an innovative and disruptive

minutes. Afterwards, we collaboratively

mindset in large corporations but the

develop the solution with our partners

spirit that Ectors and his colleagues

26

DECEMBER 2019


embody is rapidly becoming more

cheaply than anyone else. Innovation

commonplace across the business.

even spreads beyond company bor-

“I see innovation as something that you

ders and changes relationships from

inject, and it spreads like a virus,” he

suppliers to partners as we are seeing

explains. “It shouldn’t be bound by a

from our collaborations with the likes

team. It’s a way of creating a movement

of DataArt, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.

where everyone in the organisations

That’s what drives me and that’s what

comes together – moving quickly is

I want more of.”

always best if everyone looks at the same problem from different perspectives and meets at the final solution. We are bringing people together in the organisation to come up with the best possible solutions fast and more 27

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

28

DECEMBER 2019


Alissa Knight – recovering hacker, entrepreneur and influencer – on being the bearer of bad news to the financial services industry WRITTEN BY

MATT HIGH

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

29


S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

“ G enerally, the reaction has kind of been ‘you have to be kidding me, this is crazy’” Alissa Knight, Cybersecurity influencer, hacker, industry analyst, author

30

A

lissa Knight has many talents.

through its CCTV cameras in the park-

Started hacking at the age of 13?

ing lot? Yes, that really did happen.

Check. Arrested for hacking a

Most recently, Knight had the pleas-

government network at 17, only to sub-

ure of addressing an eager Money20/20

sequently work with the US intelligence

USA audience comprised of visitors

community in cyber warfare (presum-

from the global financial services sec-

ably to keep her on the right side)?

tor. She was there to tell them that,

Check. Serial entrepreneur now on her

as part of a recent research project,

third company sale and exit – the first

she had hacked 29 of 30 mobile

being sold when she was 20? Check?

financial services apps from some of

Hacking into a bank’s internal network

the biggest players in banking, stock

DECEMBER 2019


her app research in more detail – the results of which she has been delivering on a whirlwind tour around the world – and picked her brains on cybersecurity in the financial services sector. “Generally, the reaction has kind of been ‘you have to be kidding me, this is crazy’,” she explained. “It’s a real problem and, basically, I’m the one that gets paid to be the bearer of bad news, which feels pretty cool.” That ‘news’ is that Knight – has also spent her time in Stuttgart, Germany ‘penetration testing’ connected vehicles by taking control of their steering and braking – downloaded 30 leading financial services apps and reverse engineered them all, finding hardcoded API keys, tokens and credentials for the banks and their third-party paytrading, digital currency wallets and

ment processors, and having the run of

insurance. Each of them in less than

their data in the backend. The results,

eight minutes. Today, Knight is an

she conceded, were “pretty bad”, add-

ethical hacker or, ‘penetration tester’,

ing that “the numbers were a lot higher

if you don’t want to use the ‘H’ word.

than I thought they would be – I thought

Regardless, whether it’s cars, financial

it would be around 50%. It’s clearly

services, or anything else, if it exists,

systemic, I really didn’t spend that long

she can hack it.

on the project, about a week in total,

FinTech was fortunate to take some

so when you put it in perspective that

time with Knight towards the end of

I hacked 29 banks in a week – we need

the event, during which we discussed

to be doing better.” w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

31


S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

The day prior to our meeting, Knight

32

to merged production and private

had presented the results of her

keys with no password; hard-coded

findings in more detail. After her open-

credentials (“when I found it, it was an

ing gambit – “are you guys all sitting

‘oh my god, it’s amazing’ moment”) and

down? I don’t think any of you are doing

more. In short, everyone, everywhere

anything correctly” – she proceeded

is not delivering on their cybersecurity

to explain that, contrary to what many

developments.

may have expected, the research was

And while she conceded that “the

not focused on community banks or

research took on a life of its own and

small credit unions. Rather, she took

became more about API security

the 100 largest banks from a Wikipedia

than the other vulnerabilities,” she

list and set about her work. The one

added that “there were dozens of

that survived was an (unnamed)

other vulnerability categories that

German bank, the rest were large US

were problematic across all the apps.

and European financial institutions. “There’s some really bad hygiene out there,” she explained to us. “There are so many vulnerabilities that have just kept reappearing over the last 20 years.” Over the next 20 minutes or so of her presentation, Knight blasted through some of her key findings, including the hard-coding of both bank and third-party payments processor keys; gaining access to credentials for the likes of Amazon Web Services and Amazon S3 buckets; banks publishing their API documentation so any hacker worth their salt can jump straight in; developers leaving access DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘ALISSA KNIGHT: RECOVERING HACKER, BREACHER OF 29 FINANCIAL SERVICES APPS AND SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR’ 33

“When you put it in perspective that I hacked 29 banks in a week – we need to be doing better” Alissa Knight, Cybersecurity influencer, hacker, industry analyst, author

I also looked at fintech apps. I actually thought that the smaller companies would have the most vulnerabilities, but it was the complete opposite. The cryptocurrency wallets in smaller companies have more secure code than their larger counterparts. It’s the weirdest thing – the bigger banks, the bigger institutions have the worst, most horrible apps.” Our follow up question mirrored that likely on the lips of all those who attended her presentation: how? One of the main problems, she explained, is that contrary to popular belief, w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

banks are outsourcing a large propor-

training, and budgeting for that. We

tion of their development work. “It’s a

need to be looking at APIs differently.”

case of a lot of outsourcing, but very

34

And it’s the last point that lies behind

little checking. The developers will

one of Knight’s several recommenda-

approach the bank, needing the tokens

tions to counter the problem: hire

and keys to work through the app and,

hackers, not developers. The latter,

once the banks have given the informa-

she told Money20/20, “are drunk

tion over, they’re washing their hands

on their own Kool-Aid,” insisting that

of it so it ends up embedded in the app

banks should “hire people like me and

– there’s no visibility. I even encoun-

hack yourselves before somebody

tered banks that made ownership of

else does, and then tries to sell you

their app development a function of

their findings. Banks should also focus

their marketing team.”

on static and dynamic code analysis

We live in an API-first world, Knight believes. The problem with that world is that many organisations don’t understand how to secure their APIs. “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” she said. “They’re securing them with web application firewalls or API gateways, and that’s wrong. In many API breaches, the organisations had API gateways in place, but they’re not using API security gateways. And that’s because we’re not shifting left in security, meaning that when we’re developing the app, we need to be implementing security controls in the development process, sending our developers to secure development DECEMBER 2019


“ Are you guys all sitting down? I don’t think any of you are doing anything correctly” Alissa Knight, Cybersecurity influencer, hacker, industry analyst, author

of the applications of mobile apps too. If you’re not doing it, do it.” It’s clear from watching Knight over the course of Money20/20 that she has little time for rest. Indeed, hot on the heels of breaking into some of the world’s largest financial apps, she’s in the midst of developing what she called “the sexiest thing anyone would hear about all show”. In essence, this is a large, fake bank – sexy, if you’re that way inclined. Knight is. “It’s based off the idea of Sun Tzu’s Art of War: if you’re going to defeat your enemy, you need to understand your enemy. So, we’ve created a fake bank complete with internet-facing APIs, and even a fake website; we want them to be hacked. It’s all about understanding and monitoring how our adversar ies are breaching APIs so we can study their tactics, techniques and procedures.” Knight calls the project, for which she has already gained multiple sponsors, ‘adversarial analysis’. As part of it, she explained, the data has been weaponised: once breached, the code grabs the hacker’s system info, the IP location and other data. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

35


S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

“ If you’re going to defeat your enemy, you need to understand your enemy” Alissa Knight, Cybersecurity influencer, hacker, industry analyst, author 36

DECEMBER 2019


“If they’re doing it to us, why shouldn’t we do it to them?” she asked. “The key thing is to figure out how we can get ahead of the threat.” We couldn’t leave Knight without touching on the small matter of her gaining access to an unnamed bank’s internal network from the comfort of her own car in the parking lot (completely sanctioned, of course). “I just drove up to the parking lot, found their CCTV cameras on the wireless network and jumped straight to their internal network,” she said, making it sound far too simple. There was a serious side, however. “Humans are always the weak link,” she explained, “and that will likely never change. If it can be made by humans, it can be broken by humans – this bank just didn’t look closely enough at its infrastructure and, like those companies in my app research, forgot the golden rule: implement network segmentation so your IoT devices aren’t on the same network as the rest of your critical production systems.”

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

37


COVERING EVERY ANGLE I N T H E D I G I TA L A G E The Business Chief platforms offer insight on the trends inf luencing C and V-level executives, telling the stories that matter

CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE

HOME TO IND U S T RY- L E A D ING D IGI TA L BU SINE S S P L AT F OR M S


w w w.businesschief.com

H AV E YOU SEEN OUR OT HER T I T L ES ?


LEADERSHIP

40

WRITTEN BY

MATT HIGH

DURING A BUSY MONEY20/20 USA IN LAS VEGAS, FINTECH MAGAZINE SPOKE WITH PRESIDENT, TRACEY DAVIES TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS YEAR’S EVENT

DECEMBER 2019


41

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


LEADERSHIP

T

he fintech industry is changing. Technology and innovation may still be the driving force at the heart of the sector, but our view of that

technology has evolved. The question, according to President of Money20/20 Tracey Davies, is no longer what we can do with technology, rather, what we should do. This was one of several messages given during Davies’ introductory speech at Money20/20 USA, in which she also highlighted the power of inclusivity and driving issues such

42

as privacy and ethics up the agenda. FinTech magazine was fortunate enough to spend some time with Davies on the final day of the four-day event, which sprawled across several stages, rooms, exhibition centres and more of the suitably grand Venetian Hotel on Las Vegas’ famous Strip. More than 400 speakers graced the main stages of the event to discuss, debate and engage with the audience on every conceivable topic facing the financial services sector under one unifying theme: The Future of Money. Understandably, considering both the depth of keynote speeches, content sessions, fireside debates, startup pitch sessions and more, and the inevitably packed schedule that Davies faces at each Money20/20, choosing a personal highlight proved a difficult task. She described to us DECEMBER 2019


“THERE’S BEEN A DEFINITE SHIFT OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS THAT HAS SEEN THE SECTOR MOVE AWAY FROM ‘SHINY AND NEW’ TECHNOLOGY TO THINKING ABOUT FINTECH FOR SOCIAL GOOD” Tracey Davies, President of Money 20/20 and Rise Up founder

a strong event with “really high energy” that showed a market characterised by positivity and excitement, particularly around those ideas outlined in her introductory speech. In particular, she pointed to the Monday morning keynote speeches – delivered by Uber’s Head of Payments Peter Hazlehurst; Head of Calibra, David Marcus; and Dan Schulman, President and CEO of PayPal – as both a favourite collective moment and being indicative of shifting market sentiment. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

43


LEADERSHIP

“IF WE HAVE INCLUSION, BUSINESSES OPERATE BETTER, THEY REFLECT SOCIETY MORE BROADLY AND THEY ARE MORE SUCCESSFUL” 44

Tracey Davies, President of Money 20/20 and Rise Up founder

FINTECH FOR SOCIAL GOOD

after Davies’ introduction, discussed in

Each of these three sessions saw the

detail the financial struggles faced by

announcements of new and innova-

a large proportion of Americans and

tive approaches to offering financial

how, for PayPal, the provision of work-

services, focused more on the user

ing capital and financial health and

than the delivery method. In the case

wellbeing is a fundamental objective.

of Uber, for example, Hazlehurst deliv-

“They gave three very different per-

ered a 35 minute ‘Building Financial

spectives that, together, really summed

Services at Uber’ update. He discussed

up the direction in which tech and inno-

how the ride-hailing firm is changing

vation is heading,” said Davies. “There’s

the way financial services are deliv-

been a definite shift over the past few

ered to better fit customers’ daily lives

years that has seen the sector move

in the shape of new division, Uber

away from ‘shiny and new’ technology

Money. Schulman, taking the stage

– which, in this industry we all love – to

DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘PRESIDENT OF MONEY20/20, TRACEY DAVIES, ON FINTECH FOR SOCIAL GOOD AND DIVERSITY IN TECH’

thinking about fintech for social good

to fintech, it’s no longer just about what

and how technology and financial ser-

it is, it’s about what it can do, how we

vices can impact lives for the better.”

can use it and the impact it can have.”

This, she explained, is representative

Money20/20 exists to do two things,

of the stage at which the industry is at

said Davies: inspire and connect.

in terms of its development, rather than

On the former, she described the

a case of the largest organisations

ideas that unified those three keynote

leading in a new direction. “It was fasci-

speeches – fintech for good, purpose

nating to hear about how Uber is using

and profit – informing a considerable

tech as a platform for a wider purpose,”

amount of the debate at this year’s

she noted, “or to learn how Calibra’s

event. In addition, she highlighted

new plans are based around social

other key themes including the role of

good, and why PayPal is firmly focused

companies in some of the world’s most

on purpose and profit. When it comes

challenging problems, both in terms of w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

45


LEADERSHIP

“IT’S NO LONGER JUST ABOUT WHAT IT IS, IT’S ABOUT WHAT IT CAN DO, HOW WE CAN USE IT AND THE IMPACT IT CAN HAVE” Tracey Davies, President of Money 20/20 and Rise Up founder

46

DECEMBER 2019


and gain the personal and professional skills to break down the remaining barriers in an industry that is still lagging in terms of inclusivity. One year on, Davies was able to reflect on a programme that has already achieved considerable success. “We set out to create something that had real impact,” she told us. “There are many great initiatives out there, but the goal for Rise Up was to work closely with each cohort to build a very deep, personal leadership development programme – and it’s worked.” In just 12 months, 125 women have passed through Rise Up, with environment and inclusivity, and ideas

close to one third of the 2018 cohort

around gender roles and equality.

taking on more senior positions. And while she recognised the many similar

CREATING “REAL IMPACT”

programmes currently operating,

The latter is an important area for Davies.

Davies spoke of the real impact on

Last year’s Money20/20 in Las Vegas

those Rise Up women, noting that “they

saw the launch of Rise Up, a curated

feel inspired, they feel they’ve met

leadership academy for aspiring

their tribe and there is a real collective

female talent in the financial services

sense of ‘we can do this’.”

sector that provides a four-day pro-

Inclusivity, on a broader level, contin-

gramme in personal leadership and

ues to grow in importance – an agenda

development. Through this, Rise Up

that global events such as Money

provides a connected network within

20/20 can lead. For Davies, the posi-

which women can support one another,

tive attitude shift is both notable and w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

47


LEADERSHIP

“THE GOAL FOR RISE UP WAS TO WORK CLOSELY WITH EACH COHORT TO BUILD A VERY DEEP, PERSONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME”

48

Tracey Davies, President of Money 20/20 and Rise Up founder

across the industry to support the inclusion and empowerment of women in the workforce and bring about the end of gender-based pay gaps. “We have a big stage and a worldrecognised platform with which we can take action, and so it’s our duty to work with the industry and to encourage both men and women to work together to call out inequality, to make a stand and to solve the problem together,” she stated. “If we have inclusion, businesses operate better, they reflect society more broadly and they are more successful. There’s a real prize for everyone if we can take action.”

welcome, with many large companies such as Accenture and PayPal pub-

POSITIVE CHANGE

lishing measurable inclusivity targets,

Gauging the impact of that action, and

along with new laws on female board

the direction of the industry beyond

representation and gender pay data

2020, is a point often put to Davies.

visibility being implemented. “The sta-

Deviating slightly from that standard

tistics are improving, but they’re still not

question, we asked about her expecta-

great,” she said. “For example, women

tions for fintech – and for Money20/02

in the US make an average of 19% less

– for the next decade or more. “Every

than their male counterparts, which

year, you wonder what will happen,”

has been the basis for our Breaking

she said. “And then, suddenly, you get

the 19 Challenge.” Breaking the 19 is

an Uber Money or Calibra keynote. It’s

a new initiative that, over 19 days from

just always evolving and always ongo-

1 October this year, encouraged action

ing. The way that technology is devel-

DECEMBER 2019


49

oping as we see now, the progress with

responsible for its organisation, as

quantum computing and the capacity

well as the industry itself. There is, she

that that will give and the ongoing

highlighted, “so much positive change

development technology, means I have

that can come, but I have no idea

no idea where we will be, but I’m hop-

where it will be in 2030. The joy for us

ing we will see more positive impact

is that we have these annual moments

on people’s lives and access to capital,

to stop, take stock of the conversations

and using fintech.”

and to move on. It’s genuinely really

Money20/20 was originally con-

exciting and I look forward to a future

ceived with a view to what 2020 would

that looks pretty different to where we

look like for fintech. That this year’s

are today.”

event proved as strong, fresh and innovative as any before is a testament both to Davies and the large team w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


CYBERSECURITY

50

THREAT IDENTIFICATION RSA SECURITY’S DANIEL COHEN DISCUSSES THE BROADENING CYBER THREAT LANDSCAPE, AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN USER EXPERIENCE AND SECURITY WRITTEN BY

DECEMBER 2019

MATT HIGH


51

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


CYBERSECURITY

C

ybersecurity is, in an unfortunate sense, the gift that continues to give. As the industry develops at an incredible pace – think new and innovative market entrants

bringing unique digital banking experiences,

a shift to mobile and other disparate devices that enable ‘any time, any where’ banking, and new initiatives such as Open Banking and PSD2 – so too does the volume and sophistication of the threat. To discuss that risk in more detail, FinTech magazine questioned Daniel Cohen, Director of Fraud & Risk Intelligence at RSA 52

Security. Here’s what he told us. How has the cyber threat changed as the financial services sector diversifies from one dominated by incumbents to one populated by a growing number of fintechs, startups and innovative technologies? Just as the financial sector has diversified, so too have the threats it faces. While digital innovation has opened a lot of opportunities for organisations, it also creates new digital risks that need to be managed. Take, for example, the number of digital touchpoints that consumers can engage with to access financial services, which have increased dramatically through initiatives such as Open Banking and PSD2 regulations. DECEMBER 2019


“WHILE DIGITAL INNOVATION HAS OPENED A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR ORGANISATIONS, IT ALSO CREATES NEW DIGITAL RISKS THAT NEED TO BE MANAGED” — Daniel Cohen, Director of Fraud & Risk Intelligence, RSA Security This widens the attack surface that hackers can take advantage of. For example, cybercriminals expanded to social media platforms, hosting cybercrime websites on the blockchain and launching attacks from IoT devices – there’s many more avenues for adversaries to exploit in their quest to compromise banks and consumers for financial gain. New types of attacks have emerged that take advantage of the digitalisation of finance; they’re finding ways to exploit vulnerabilities in innovations like open APIs and digital w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

53


CYBERSECURITY

“MORE CHANNELS MEAN THAT THE NUMBER OF POTENTIAL POINTS OF COMPROMISE AND POTENTIAL VULNERABILITIES IN SYSTEMS HAS INCREASED” — Daniel Cohen, Director of Fraud & Risk Intelligence, RSA Security 54

increase in risk. With a growing array of digital banking channels available, customers seemingly have infinite possibilities for conducting financial business. At the same time, this has expanded the number digital risks that banks must manage. More channels mean that the number of potential points of compromise and potential vulnerabilities in systems has increased. When it comes to fraud, there’s now a far higher risk of fraudulent transactions slipping through

payments, creating rogue mobile

the net because of the rise in the vol-

applications, mobile-based card-

ume of digital payments, for example.

not-present fraud, and even adapting

The total value of money being trans-

banking malware to exploit current

ferred through digital channels is also

trends and pose a more sophistic-

increasing, which is exposing the

ated threat.

sector to more potential losses from reimbursing victims.

Does the growth of new fintech

However, there are risks to not en-

businesses and consumers’ focus

gaging with and embracing innovation

on digital banking increase the

too – such as loss of market share and

risk, then?

revenues – which are just as real. We

Traditionally, banks have had very

live in a hyper-connected world and

closed systems, which gives them an

organisations that don’t engage in that

added layer of protection against

will be left behind as customers have

outside threats. When you open this

such high expectations of service. So

up, it naturally creates new risks. So

it’s really about balance: organisations

it is fair to say that yes, there is an

need to understand the digital risks

DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘RSA – DIGITAL RISK IS NOW EVERYONE’S BUSINESS ’ 55 they’re exposed to and assess these in

familiar high-street banks and brands.

the context of the business to deter-

In my experience, because they’ve

mine the right digital risk strategy that

grown up in the digital age, younger

balances the needs of the customer and

people are more bothered about

the business with the need for security.

convenience and user experience, and therefore more open to fintech

Trust is often mentioned, particularly when it comes to fintechs or

innovation. Revolut and Monzo are good exam-

new digital banking solutions. Do

ples of brands that are disrupting the

you think consumers do have issues

traditional market. So, while there is

with trust?

a portion of the market that will always

It’s often a question of demograph-

go for the stability of a known brand,

ics. Typically, the older generation is

this is changing. When you consider

often more wary of new startups and

that the customers who will be the

fintech companies, compared to more

most profitable – those who will be w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


CYBERSECURITY

getting credit cards, loans, mortgages, and so on – are those aged between 25-40, the need to balance convenience and security in a way that provides minimal friction to the user becomes even more critical. Ultimately, banks will begin to lose their foothold if they cannot meet the demands of their customers. This is why user experience and design thinking needs to be an integral part of any digital risk management strategy. 56

What can businesses do to mitigate the risks and ensure consumer trust remains high? In such a fast-moving and competitive industry, fintech startups could potentially be at risk of viewing security as something as an after-thought on occasion, or worse – something the big banks should worry about; prioritising user experience over stringent security controls and processes. But this is something of a false economy as these organisations are, by their very nature, less established and therefore more fragile to reputation damage. History tells us that if a well-known high-street brand suffers a data breach DECEMBER 2019


or significant increase in fraud, it’s not likely to suffer irreparable damage. Smaller companies may not fare so well. This is why it’s essential for smaller fintechs to have clear digital risk management policies, and work in partnership with the larger financial institutions to achieve a scalable and secure fintech industry. They should consider that digital opportunity and risk are two sides of the same coin – having the ability to manage risk enables you to embrace business opportunity.

57

Traditional players need to create a digital risk management strategy that

“USER EXPERIENCE AND DESIGN THINKING NEEDS TO BE AN INTEGRAL PART OF ANY DIGITAL RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY” — Daniel Cohen, Director of Fraud & Risk Intelligence, RSA Security

serves a much wider range of customers – from the grandmother in West Wales, to the millennial at university in London. This is no mean feat, as simple solutions such as text authentication might not work for Molly in Aberystwyth. This is why it is vital to take a holistic approach to managing digital risk. You mentioned user experience and a focus on personalised services, does that shift bring about any new risks, or change the way in which cybersecurity is addressed? w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


CYBERSECURITY

Financial institutions often need to build an ecosystem of third parties and open up APIs to provide access to data in order to deliver greater personalisation. APIs are a relatively new way for organisations to offer these digital capabilities, such as linking customer accounts to payments for everyday services. The worry is that open APIs, accessed by multiple third parties, will create concentrated points of failure and a new attack vector for adversaries to target. This means that financial 58

companies need to weigh up the added value to customers versus the new risks that are introduced to the business from these new services. Any new technology or service must be built with security in mind, and any access to sensitive data should always be limited to a need-to-know basis by

From the consumer perspective,

default. Banks also need to be careful

do you think that the risks are accu-

who they get into bed with and ensure

rately explained?

they have conducted a thorough risk

It’s certainly true that consumers are

assessment before opening up any

more aware of cyber risks than they

systems, while limiting access to

ever have been, but awareness alone

absolute need. Applications and APIs

doesn’t always translate into secure

should also be constantly monitored

behaviours. Convenience often trumps

for cyber-attacks and fraud.

security, even where our personal details or money is concerned.

DECEMBER 2019


E XECU T I VE P RO FI LE

Daniel Cohen Daniel Cohen is Director of Fraud & Risk Intelligence at RSA Securit y, which is part of the Dell Technologies family of brands. More than 30,000 customers worldwide — including nearly half the global Fortune 500 and 99% of the world’s top banks — rely on RSA’s business-driven security strategy for cyber threat detection and response, identity and access management, online fraud prevention, and governance, risk and compliance solutions. Daniel leads the company’s Fraud & Risk Intelligence practice, helping to protect customers from fraud and cybercrime across web and mobile channels. 59

I believe every business has a responsibility to not just educate users, but translate that education in action; find ways to positively change consumer behaviours to make us all more secure. That’s no easy feat, as more security can mean more limits on what consumers can do, or more hoops for them to jump through. Ultimately, a balance has to be struck between security and user experience.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


T O P 10

60

DECEMBER 2019


61

FinTech magazine takes a look at 10 companies at the forefront of fintech disruption WRI TTE N BY

MATT HIG H

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


T O P 10 MARKET VALUATION

62

10

$1.2bn

KABBAGE

[ Atlanta, GA, USA ]

“AI-blockchain-cryto tech,� is how co-founder and President of Kabbage, Kathryn Petralia, describes the AI-driven small business lender. The Forbes Fintech 50 2019-listed company, formed in 2008 and valued at more than US$1bn, uses innovative AI technology to make small business lending both more efficient and more profitable. It is capable of making loan decisions in 10 minutes, rather than the weeks that banks take. According to a survey by the Federal Reserve Banks on small businesses, online lender use has grown exponentially, from 19% in 2016 to 32% last year, meaning business looks good for Kabbage. Since it was formed, the fintech has lent as much as $8bn and continues to evolve rapidly as it launches new cash flow needs prediction tools. DECEMBER 2019


MARKET VALUATION

09

$1.5bn

63

CHIME

[ San Francisco, CA, US ]

Chime was formed with the mission of creating financial peace of mind. It also happens to be the fastest-growing mobile banking challenger in the US, having acquired unicorn status earlier this year after finalising a US$200mn fundraiser that placed it above its peers in the summer. In a world where many laud their digital disruption credentials, Chime is more than capable of walking the walk. It was co-founded in 2013 by CEO Chris Britt and CTO Ryan King, who wanted to find a new approach to improving financial literacy; it’s app already has around three million users; it offers no-hidden-fees banking and an automatic savings account; and it lets users get paid their earned money early thanks to its instant direct deposits, which are typically two days earlier – yes, really. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Building an ecosystem? Connect the dots. “Your journey to cloud must navigate pitfalls and opportunities that are unique to your business. We support you in imagining and delivering your cloud journey and making it run�. Eric Meistermann, Deloitte Partner in charge of AXA Group


MARKET VALUATION

08

$1.7bn

65

REVOLUT

[ London, UK ]

Revolut is, for many, the go-to disruptor bank. And there’s a good reason for that. Each month, 600,000 people open an account with the digital challenger bank to spend and manage their money. That’s an impressive statistic, whatever your metrics. But, considering that Revolut started only four years ago with the promise of never stopping moving forwards, it’s hardly surprising. The UK-based fintech was founded by Vlad Yatsenko and Nikolay Storonsky in July 2015 and today it has more than seven million customers worldwide. It offers a host of innovative digital banking services, including a prepaid debit card, currency exchange services, cryptocurrency exchange and peer-to-peer payments, all through its app. For the majority of those services, it also refuses to charge fees. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


T O P 10 MARKET VALUATION

07

$3bn

OSCAR HEALTH

[ New York, NY, USA ]

Oscar Health applies big data and machine learning to the enviable vision of reinventing preventative health care management, with a view to making it more transparent, safer and cheaper. The company was founded in 2013 by Josh Kushner, Mario Schlosser and Kevin Nazemi, each of whom had disruption firmly in mind. At the end of last year it was valued at upwards of US$3bn and is continuing to gain members rapidly. Schlosser has gone on record stating that increasing knowledge and options for those seeking health insurance can change the entire health system for the better, noting that change can be brought about through the use of ‘engagement technology’.

DECEMBER 2019


MARKET VALUATION

06

$3bn

67

CIRCLE

[ Boston, MA, US ]

Peer-to-peer payments company, Circle, was founded in 2013 by Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville; today it is worth close to US$3bn. The business has been a leader in the field of crypto technologies since its founding; it received the first BitLicense issued by New York State’s Department of Financial Services in 2015 and received the first virtual currency license issued by the British government a year later. Today, the company offers a platform to individuals, institutions and entrepreneurs who want to build businesses, invest and raise capital with open crypto technologies in a bid to develop and implement next-generation blockchain technology. Circle partnered this year with Coinbase to develop an ethereum blockchain-based USDC coin, and is backed by the likes of Goldman Sachs. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


AT HARBOUR IT, WE GIVE OUR CUSTOMERS THE FREEDOM TO FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST Learn more

đ&#x;˘’đ&#x;˘’

Harbour IT are proud to partner with Ooh! Media on their IT transformation journey. At Harbour IT, we give our customers the freedom to focus on where it matters and not be slowed down by IT capability challenges. Known for our knowledgeable and personable service, we offer the most secure and flexible hosted and managed cloud offerings available in the Australian market.

harbourit.com.au

Harbour IT is proud to partner with Ooh! Media on their IT Transformation Journey. Our unique difference is being large enough to provide customers with extensive expertise, established processes and advanced enterprise level solutions, yet small enough to be hands-on and deliver the high-touch customer service that you demand.


MARKET VALUATION

$4bn

05 05

69

CREDIT KARMA

[ San Francisco, CA, US ]

Credit Karma is just over 10 years old. And yet, the credit and financial management platform has 100 million users and counting. The company was co-founded by Kenneth Lin, Ryan Graciano and Nichole Mustard in 2007 under the belief that “everyone deserves to feel confident about their finances� and that financial progress should be possible for everyone. Credit Karma offers a comprehensive credit score and financial management platform to users, as well as several associated services. Crucially, every service that the company offers is free and, as it states on its website, this will always be the case. In October this year it was announced that Credit Karma is considering entering the UK sector to offer consumers its unique blend of personalised and education credit reporting services. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


T O P 10 MARKET VALUATION

70

04

$3.5bn

N26

[ Berlin, Germany ]

Disruptive challenger bank, N26, was founded in 2013 by Valentin Stalf and Maximillian Tayenthal; the N26 Mastercard was officially launched in 2015. Speed, ease of use and customer centricity define the N26 banking experience, where customers can access every aspect of their finances through their mobile, removing the need for desktops, laptops and banks altogether. N26 users can sign up for an account in minutes; “no paperwork, no fuss”, as it explains. Users will receive no fees on card payments abroad, they can control account security through the app and they are able to set aside funds or set out specific financial goals through ‘Spaces’ sub accounts and use services such as Apple Pay. Little wonder, then, that it boasts a customer base of more than 3.5 million people across 24 European countries. DECEMBER 2019


MARKET VALUATION

03

$3.5bn

71

TRANSFERWISE [ London, UK ]

Unlike banks, which often have high charges for overseas transfers, Transferwise doesn’t. That’s the premise that founders Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus – who, incidentally, was the first employee at Skype – formed the business under, driven by their own experiences with transferring money between Estonia and London. It’s worked. The business has grown rapidly since, with around six million customers reportedly sending more than US$4bn each month through its platform. Transferwise uses machine learning technology to create a world for “people without borders”. For transfers, it charges the day’s bank exchange rate, offering the best possible rate; customers can receive money with international bank details, track transactions via mobile notifications and spend with a free debit Mastercard. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


T O P 10

02

ROBINHOOD

MARKET VALUATION

$5.6bn

[ Menlo Park, CA, US ] It’s time to do money. A short, sharp introduction to Robinhood, a pioneer of the commission-free investing fintech model. Founded in 2013 by Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev, the Californiabased fintech lets users invest in public 72

companies and exchange traded funds on US stock exchanges without paying commission, foreign exchange fees or account minimums, it enables the purchasing of cryptocurrencies and – in December of 2018 – began rolling out a range of banking services too. So far, these include checking and savings accounts, as well as debit cards. Earlier this year, Robinhood revealed it had doubled its users on the previous 12 months to around six million. Much like its namesake, the company remains dedicated to providing for the many, not the few, favouring financial equality.

DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘CNBC – HOW ROBINHOOD MAKES MONEY’ 73

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


T O P 10

01

STRIPE

MARKET VALUATION

$35bn

[ San Francisco, CA, US ] It’s hard to overlook the rise of online payment innovator Stripe. The San Francisco-based fintech is behind a suite of online payment solutions, which it refers to as “the complete toolkit for internet business”. Originally designed for small businesses navigating their way 74

round ecommerce, today it’s used by tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft. The business was founded by Patrick and John Collison, who wanted to make life simpler for those new online businesses looking to establish online billing and payment systems. Fast forward nine years and it’s now a featured company on the Forbes Fintech 50 list of the most innovative companies in fintech and recognised as one of the most highly valued private fintech companies in the US (as of 2019).

DECEMBER 2019


75

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘INTRODUCING THE GPTN’

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


EVENTS & A S S O C I AT I O N S

The biggest events and conferences around the world for fintech leaders

3–4 DEC 2019

Fintech Connect [ LONDON, UK ] Fintech Connect has been described by Barclays to be “the best place to learn about the latest trends, concerns 76

4–6 DEC 2019

Money 20/20 China

and enhancements in the fintech

[ HANGZHOU, CHINA ]

space”. The 2019 event will be held at

This edition of money 20/20 is com-

ExCel London, and over 6,000 mem-

mercially focused in order to assist

bers of the fintech community from

business expansion within China. This

80 countries will be in attendance to

will be provided over the course of

showcase new products. The goal

three days, as over 300+ speakers will

of the conference is to provide a net-

host discussions across 11 hot topics in

working space to delegates of major

finance today. One of the key speakers

financial firms to enable informed

includes Apple co-founder, Steve

buying decisions. With six major con-

Wozniak, who will share his insight into

ferences in place, discussions will

the latest trends, as well as his predic-

focus around the key components

tions for “the next Apple.” According

of fintech: digital transformation,

to the event information, 1 in 4 of the

payments, financial security, regtech

delegates in attendance are of C-Suite

and blockchain. There will also be 50

executive-level or higher, providing

tech demos, showcasing the latest

excellent networking opportunities to

innovations from fintech startups.

build and learn with fintech peers.

DECEMBER 2019


EDITED BY

AMBER DONOVAN-STEVENS

7–10 JAN 2020

7–10 JAN 2020

[ LAS VEGAS, USA ]

[ LAS VEGAS, USA ]

Now running for a fifth consecutive

The event will focus on how AI, AR and

year, the Digital Money Forum will last

VR are transforming the retail industry.

four days and focus predominantly on

Retailers, buyers, hardware and dis-

innovation and the transition to block-

play manufacturers, POS systems, and

chain within finance. Trends of focus

other bodies of the E-Commerce

include: AI, 5G, Biometrics,

community. The 2019 event hosted

RoboAdvisors, Crypto, Blockchain,

speakers such as Feng Cheng, CEO

cybersecurity, interfaces and voice

and Co-Founder, Linc Global; Michael

recognition. The event is said by

Childers, Chief Consultant, Content

Michael Casey, co-author of the Truth

& Media Strategy, Lufthansa Systems;

Machine, former Wall St. Journal

Gene Han, VP, Innovation, Target;

reporter, CoinDesk and MIT Crypto-

Maureen Conners, CEO, Conners

currency Advisory Boards to “involve

Consulting; Heidi Forbes Öste, CEO,

nothing short of a social revolution,

2BalanceU, as well as a number of

one in which various cultures, Silicon

other c-level executives who shared

Valley startups, financial professionals

their insight into meeting the customer

and electronics engineers and mar-

needs of price, convenience, experi-

keters, must come together.”

ence, privacy and loyalty.

The Digital Money Forum at CES

High-Tech Retailing at CES

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

77


EVENTS & A S S O C I AT I O N S

The biggest events and conferences around the world for fintech leaders

12-13 FEB 2020

Future of Finance and CFO Summit Asia 2020 [ SINGAPORE – LOCATION TBC ] The Future of Finance and CFO

10-12 FEB 2020

Fintech Week Tel Aviv [ TEL AVIV STOCK EXCHANGE, ISRAEL ] 78

Summit Asia 2020 is an event that seeks to create the connections and share the knowledge that will bridge the gap between industry 4.0 and 5.0.

Now in its fourth year, Fintech Week

As the title suggests, this will be an

Tel Aviv is an annual event in Israel that

excellent opportunity for CFOs to

brings together a mass of fintech com-

come together to share critical strate-

panies in order to network, discuss

gies as the industry gears itself for

and plan for the future of finance. This

the next wave of digital disruption.

year’s conference will bring regulation

Speakers include Axel Paix, Chief

into focus, as this remains an integral

Financial Officer, Asia Pacific Brenntag

part of the successful evolution of fin-

Asia Pacific Pte Ltd; Dr Yanyong

techs. Other key points of discussion

Thammatucharee, Chief Financial

include: personalisation, robo-advice,

Officer, Leadway Heavy Machinery

identity management in fintech and

(LHM); Joe Diche, Chief Financial

diversity across the industry. Fintech

Officer, Propertyguru Group; Daniel

week has a huge sponsorship, includ-

Berenbaum, Chief Financial Officer,

ing major finance and tech firms such

Asia Pacific GlobalFoundries; and

as IBM, HSBC, Citi, Intel, Barclays,

Philip Pfeiffer, Chief Financial Officer

KPMG and Allianz, to name a few.

Asiatic, Llyod Maritime LLP.

DECEMBER 2019


EDITED BY

AMBER DONOVAN-STEVENS

26-27 FEB 2020

FiNext Dubai 2020 [ DUBAI ]

24-27 FEB 2020

Payments Summit 2020

FiNext Dubai is not only a conference hosting fintech startups, tech provid-

[ SALT LAKE CITY, USA ]

ers and investors from all over the world,

This years Payments Summit takes

but it is also an awards ceremony that

place in Salt Lake City, with the

acknowledges fintech thought leaders

venue situated just next door to the

who are shaping the payments indus-

University of Utah, Salt Lake Marriott

try today. Speakers include: Ramkumar

Downtown at City Creek. In February,

Balasubramaniam, Head of Financial

Secure Technology Alliance and the

Planning and Analysis and MI, Barclays;

U.S. Payments Forum will again join

Mark Homeier, Global CEO, Maxonrow;

together to host the 13th annual event,

Alex Mashinsky, Founder Celsius

where delegates will discuss the

Network, Venture Investor; as well as

$20bn industry that is fintech in North

speakers from The Kibrel Network,

America. The event is open to both

Policybazarr.ae, Circe Partners and

members and non-members, welcom-

Ehata Financial. Dubai is the first of

ing payment providers, networks,

three FiNext conferences in 2020, with

fraud experts, investors and anyone

events taking place in San Francisco

else operating within the industry.

and Amsterdam later in the year.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

79


How Libertex is trading up its tech game 80

WRITTEN BY

DAN BRIGHTMORE PRODUCED BY

JAMES PEPPER

DECEMBER 2019


81

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


LIBERTEX

Libertex is pushing a cloud-first, big data strategy underpinned by security and agile transformation

F

ounded in Russia, Libertex Group (formerly Forex Club), was originally established as an academy to teach people how to

trade in Forex. The originators decided to create their own trading platform and take a lead in the market. Five years ago, amid growing instability and regulatory issues in the Russian market, international expansion began in Latin America. Three months later, activating a licence the company held 82

with a Cyprus regulator, Libertex made the move into Europe. During the journey from single market operator to international trading platform provider Chief Information Officer Grant Brett has led the transformation at Libertex. “Five years ago, it took us a quarter to achieve a delivery cycle, but now we’re delivering every day,” says Brett. “We’ve gone through big changes of our culture, technologies and work practices to realise that.” That change of culture began with the IT strategy Brett implemented as part of a three-year plan that focused on cloud first. “We looked at the five stages of our maturity: Level One being Ad hoc. Level Two, Repeatable. Level Three, Defined. Level Four, Measured, Level Five, Optimised,” explains Brett. “We discovered we were quite low in the scale, and that a company with 20-year-old legacy DECEMBER 2019


83

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Innovative telecom provider

WORLDWIDE Get 70% more calls with CommPeak Dialer All-in-one web interface In-depth stats and reports Data Centers in every region No minimum contract

60

100

calls per hour

calls per hour

Manual dialing

CommPeak Dialer

Seamless CRM integration Free VoIP and SMS trial 24/7 Multichannel Support

VOICE Direct interconnections with all major networks

DIALER Rules system to fully automate your call center

DID

Local, mobile, toll-free numbers for 65+ countries

PBX

Speech-to-text

Complete control of your call center from everywhere

SMS

VPN Gateway

Direct, high-quality, and wholesale global routes

Get

$50

Recognition of 120+ languages. Instant keyword search

Anonymize your office’s internet connection

cashback for your first $500 deposit with promo code LBRTX

DIRECT ROUTES TO

+72 MORE

+44 7520 64 00 56

+7 4999 18 61 66

sales@commpeak.com

commpeak.com


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘LIBERTEX – TU SCOUT FINANCIERO’ 85 systems needed big transformational

reveals Brett. “We had to forget about

changes. We realised early on we

the legacy and dispose of technical

needed to push a cloud-first, Big Data

debt: because when you’re a com-

strategy allied to security and agile

mercially driven company things often

transformation. Of course, none of this

need to be done quickly to meet com-

would be possible without utilising our

mercial demand.” Operating with a

competitive advantage, the capable

hybrid approach to cloud, Brett’s team

people in our organisation.”

is tasked with implementing DevOps,

The cloud-first strategy at Libertex targeted transforming from monolithic

SysOps and NetOps while preparing for BizOps.

systems to service-oriented archi-

“The game we’re in is the challenge

tecture. “We adopted AWS as our

of balancing commercial delivery with

cloud partner and began focusing on

the architectural purity of our platform,”

technical mobility with a plug-and-play

says Brett. “As we transition away from

mentality rather than tight integration,”

monolithic systems we have to make w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


LIBERTEX

86

sure the benefits outweigh the cost.

activity. By moving key elements and

We’re seeing plenty of cases that prove

utilising the elasticity of the cloud, we

we’re on the right track. For exam-

were able to scale up easily and back

ple, two years ago the industry was

down after the hype was over.”

gripped by the latest round of crypto-

Helping drive transformation at

currency hype. We offer Crypto trading

Libertex, and making sure it’s ready for

instruments, and in one month our

the next market hype, the company is

traffic increased 320%. The Bitcoin

partnered with Elastic, which offers end-

price was going crazy and without

point security and open source search

having made some of those key trans-

and analytics solutions. Libertex also

formations, we would have been dead

partners with Salesforce for flexible

in the water. There’s no way that our

CRM services managing the sales

environment could have scaled 320%

organisation, sales targets and core

overnight to cope with that month of

customer interactions. “We’ve also

DECEMBER 2019


E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Grant Brett A resourceful, analytical, and highly adaptable executive, with a proven background in executive board level leadership, as CIO & Transformational leader at Libertex, Grant Brett formulates strategies and tactical improvements that consistently exceed ROI expectations. “I offer expertise in driving operational excellence and major projects that meet organisational objectives, while propelling transformational improvements, building key alliances, and high-performance teams,” says Brett, the former CIO/CTO of Goldbet Sportwetten and Betonline.com. “I’m consistently defined by exceptional identification and implementation of significant cost savings initiatives company wide, while managing small and large business transformation initiatives that exceed $40mn, and guiding a staff of 300 specialists, exceeding all challenges through critical thinking, and business intelligence expertise.” Brett’s background working across a diverse range of industries, from manufacturing and distribution to banking and telecommunications, has seen him develop the flexibility to meet a variety of challenges while dealing with diverse cultures and delivery schedules focused on optimising environments, saving money, building teams and developing systems.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

87


We create innovations. IndigoSoft is one of the leading technology providers for E-commerce widely known for its Broker Pilot, the web-based platform for risk management, monitoring and broker business processes automation in real-time. Learn More

brokerpilot.net

indigosoft.net contact@indigosoft.net facebook.com/IndigoSoft

“Because we’re a mobile first company, we’ve had to spend a lot of time and effort to simplify the mobile space and make it a fast pathway for our customers to understand trading” — Grant Brett, CIO & Transformational Leader, Libertex DECEMBER 2019

used some interesting tools to help us in that journey towards real-time CRM,” adds Brett. “Mixpanel have also helped us with our customer communication tools.” Meanwhile, the company’s own internal communications have been given a boost through its recent association with CommPeak. The leading VoIP provider was brought in to enhance connectivity and improve the efficiency of staff collaborations with a range of multi-channel engagement solutions (VoIP, SMS, DID, PBX, Dialer). Brett also notes the importance


KE E P I N G L I BERT EX I N T HE GAM E

The common theme with any ecommerce business is acquiring, converting and retaining the customer,” reasons Grant Brett, CIO & Transformational Leader at Libertex. “They’re absolutely similar in terms of process and strategy. The only thing that’s different is the ‘game’. So, the dynamics of the particular ‘game’ is really only a small part of the overall process f low. Having that experience in different industries (gaming, manufacturing, banking, telcos) helps me guide our team to apply learnings that can improve our trading platform.” Brett recalls that four years ago he realised the company needed to build a bonus engine but faced resistance from old school thinking that dictated that’s not how things are done with Forex. “I remember saying, ‘guys, we need to build a bonus engine and be running hundreds of campaigns every day to attract customers.’ Of course, it’s all changed now because the market’s become more competitive, while regulation has become much tighter. I’m here to make sure we look outside of our bubble at what other industries, like gaming, are doing to make sure we maximise the potential for our business.”

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

89


LIBERTEX

90

“The game we’re in is the challenge of balancing commercial delivery with the architectural purity of our platform” — Grant Brett, CIO & Transformational Leader, Libertex

DECEMBER 2019


of working with reseller IndigoSoft. A company with many years of experience on software development projects for financial clients, IndigoSoft develops IT systems for brokerage companies and investment funds. It also has expertise in connecting to different liquidity providers and electronic stock exchange gateways, including the integrated software of third-party trading platforms. Rising to the challenges posed by the need to meet the demands of commercial delivery, Brett believes the solution is more than just technology. “It’s about people,” he says. “Changing people’s thinking, let’s say, from hosted to cloud environments, where they need to start considering the economics of what they’re delivering, how it’s going to be deployed and used. That was a big issue for us. Introducing a message broker met with resistance. When you’re used to dealing with monolithic systems, point-to-point integration is rare, but when you start moving into service-oriented architecture then you need to have a message box. But when people get it, the lights come on and everyone’s on board. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

91


LIBERTEX

Thanks to our close relationship with AWS we’re migrating everything to Kafka. The world’s changing a lot, particularly with third-party integrations, now it’s all about data streaming, so Kafka is helping us a lot.” Brett notes that Libertex is unique among trading platforms as it’s closely aligned to a much stronger control over risk while reacting to market trends for mobile products. “Margin trading is quite a risky product, but the stakes that you make when you go 92

1997

Year founded

2.2mn+ Clients worldwide

700

Number of employees

about opening a trade, the stake that you trade, is the limit of your risk,” he

“We’re keeping pace with the key issues around Big Data, introducing agility and managing security, while ensuring our platforms are scalable. We’re not aiming to be bleeding edge, but we’re in the game” — Grant Brett, CIO & Transformational Leader, Libertex DECEMBER 2019

explains. “Because we’re a mobile first company, we’ve had to spend a lot of time and effort to simplify the mobile space and make it a fast pathway for our customers to understand trading. We’re looking at creating a different window of opportunity for people to trade with us. If they’re on their mobile, it’s easy to do, they can make a trade and monitor it on the move. It’s not like you imagine a trading desk with several monitors at a control station. Our market is to bring people into the world of


launches reaching the market,” says Brett. “We’re keeping pace with the key issues around Big Data, introducing agility and managing security, while ensuring our platforms are scalable. We’re not aiming to be bleeding edge, but we’re in the game.” That game is good to go globally, with Libertex setting sights on addressing performance in South America and Asia. “We’re looking at ways we can break up our environment so that we can distribute it worldwide and address any performance issues,” confirms Brett. “Again, AWS has been very helpful to us in this space. There’s always a training trading because it’s already quite com-

or security issue to address, but the

petitive at the top end. We’re looking to

commercial side of the business has

expand the market from the bottom.”

all the tools it needs to be successful.

The pace of change at Libertex in the

Looking ahead to 2020, now is the

past 12 months may have been swift

time for us to focus on developing

but Brett is proud that his IT team has

an IT-excellence programme, so that

risen to the challenge and technol-

we’re actually confident that data is

ogy hasn’t been the bottleneck. The

good, performance is good, security

company’s development centre in

is good, and we’re eliminating what’s

Belgrade has taken on new staff (the

left of the monolithic solution.”

IT department has swelled from 90 to 170). “We’re always evolving and finding new ways to work with product w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

93


THE VANGUARD OF THE MIDDLE EAST

94

WRITTEN BY

AMBER DONOVAN-STEVENS PRODUCED BY

JORDAN HUBBARD

DECEMBER 2019


95

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


E M I R AT E S N B D

RICHARD MORTON, ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT FOR LEGAL, EMIRATES NBD, DETAILS THE BANK’S MOVE TO DIGITAL AND HOW THIS CONTRIBUTES TO DUBAI’S PAPERLESS FUTURE

96

E

mirates NBD is currently undertaking one of the largest and most accelerated digital transformations globally in its drive for

innovation as a global player based in the Middle East. As the company unveils two of its new digital banks, Richard Morton, Associate Vice President for Legal, details how the company is at the forefront of Dubai’s competitive edge. Before Emirates, Morton worked for DHL from 2000 to 2012, starting out at the company’s IT headquarters in San Francisco. His role took him to Brussels and, not long after Deutsche Post bought DHL, the company opened a state-of-the-art data centre in Prague, where Morton relocated to lead the legal team. From there he went to IBM in 2013 and, at the start of 2019, moved to Emirates NBD in order to assist with its digital transformation and, more specifically, digital banking and the GDPR transformation. DECEMBER 2019


— Richard Morton, Associate Vice President for Legal, Emirates NBD

97

One of Morton’s critical responsibilities is to ensure that the company’s technology transformation is viable in the market from a regulatory perspective. “For example, we have an initiative for electronic transactions with a significant real estate company here in Dubai, and the courts that have jurisdiction over these particular transactions have agreed in principle to the structure of the proposal. Part of our responsibility is to ensure that we liaise with the relevant Ministries w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


E M I R AT E S N B D

98

“We invest a lot of time and resources into cybersecurity, privacy and confidentiality” — Richard Morton, Associate Vice President for Legal, Emirates NBD

to ensure its viability, even though the transaction structure may not be explicitly provided for in the relevant statutes.” Emirates NBD wins numerous awards every year, often for technological advancements and innovations, and Morton attributes this to the radical overhaul of the company’s infrastructure. “CIO Miguel Rio Tinto has been running full-speed ahead for the last two and a half years on completely transforming the infrastructure. We’re expecting to complete this prior to Expo 2020, and this is a significant milestone for us,” says Morton.

DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘DISCOVER A WORLD OF INNOVATIONS THAT PUT YOU FIRST’ 99

BECOMING “THE TECH COMPANY THAT OFFERS BANKING”

“It was a very deliberate choice to

The philosophy at the heart of Emirates’

make Liv and E20 separate brands

vision can be encompassed by a phrase

from the ENBD. The idea is to provide

often said by CEO, Shayne Nelson:

a user experience that provides a

“We shouldn’t be a bank that does

much wider platform than traditional

tech, we should be a tech company

banking. Liv and E-20 accommodate

that does banking.” To build upon this

younger generations that are more

ethos, Emirates NBD created two

attracted to the variety of services

new digital banks: Liv, a digital lifestyle

on these platforms, and the ease and

banking app for millennials, which

speed of digital banking.” As Morton

was launched in 2017; and E20, which

states, the need for banks with which

launched at the end of September

users can personally identify with is the

2019, designed for SME enterprises.

future, and this approach has clearly

“These were created because there

been successful as Liv already has

was a demand for them,” says Morton.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


E M I R AT E S N B D

100

over 300,000 clients, with that number

use of the data on those platforms. AI

rapidly rising. “This shows us that

is a great tool and it will only become

there was demand and we are meeting

more interesting as its analytical capa-

that demand.” Both of these platforms

bilities become more advanced, but

harness AI and Big Data to better

GDPR needs to be embedded into the

understand customer behavior and

DNA of the company because the risks

provide a more tailored experience,

are enormous. The sole purpose of AI

but Morton notes that there will of

and the use of Big Data is to improve

course always be regulatory chal-

the client’s experience, and we cer-

lenges around this. “GDPR is a huge

tainly invest a lot of time and resources

variable when looking at various

into ensuring an excellent client expe-

platforms, and companies should be

rience, but we also invest a lot of time

very cautious and deliberate about how

and resources into cybersecurity,

they access these platforms and the

privacy and confidentiality.” It is this

DECEMBER 2019


101

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Richard Morton Richard Morton worked for DHL from 2002 to 2012, starting out at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. His role took him to Brussels and not long after Dutch Post bought DHL, it opened a state-of-the-art data centre in Prague, where Morton relocated in order to head the legal team. From there, he went to IBM in 2013 and, at the start of 2019, moved to Emirates NBD in order to assist with its digital transformation and more specifically, digital transactions and GDPR transformation, as Associate Vice President for legal.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Open Banking Gains Momentum in the Middle East

Richard Ransom Head of Payments and Transaction Banking, Europe & Middle East, Virtusa

Open banking is now a reality

The term ‘open banking’ covers a wide range of activity, broadly around banks opening up access to data and services through open Application Programming Interfaces (API). This could be bank-controlled third party access for FinTech collaboration, direct connectivity for corporate customers, or regulator-controlled access to third party FinTechs, or other banks. Although the open banking concept is relatively new, it has become a major influence on the agenda globally. The UK’s ‘Open Banking’ initiative, has steadily gained momentum since it became available to customers in early 2018 with over 125 third party FinTechs registered to offer payment initiation and account information services. Across Europe, PSD2 is starting to have an impact on payment services, and in Australia, their take on the UK model is close to becoming a reality. Banks are growing their externally facing API libraries, offering services such as instant cash positions to corporate customers.

2019 – a pivotal year for open banking in the Middle East

The open banking revolution is an opportunity for growth. Encouraging progress is being made by regulators, banks and FinTechs in the Middle East region towards adoption. In May this year, National Bank of Bahrain launched open banking services in the country. It was based on the EU’s PSD2 model of enabling account holder permitted third party access to view account and transaction data, and to initiate payments. In August, UAE’s Emirates NBD certified their first five FinTech startups through their API Sandbox.

To illustrate the potential in the region, In September Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) had registered 100 FinTech companies. Elsewhere, banks in Saudi Arabia are exploring FinTech collaboration, and will soon be able to leverage a new national real-time payment system announced earlier this year.

Making open banking work for the customer and the bank

Even though open banking adoption requires significant innovation investments, it is possible to leverage these investments to obtain a commercial return through new revenue opportunities. To enable such API-driven services, banks need to make significant changes to their information infrastructures. For many banks, these APIs will become a set of discrete products, addressing a rapidly evolving financial services ecosystem. Furthermore, by monetizing APIs in a strategic way, banks can protect their market share and disarm the threat of nimble FinTechs. API monetization could simply be in the form of new external APIs bringing new or extended access to bank services such as more timely or detailed transactional data, however, banks are increasingly collaborating with FinTechs to build new joint propositions and improve internal processes.

Open innovation strategies

FinTech collaboration works best when done on purpose. For instance, through an open innovation platform that can facilitate innovation for banks beyond standard sandbox without impacting live systems. Curated FinTechs can be onboarded to help solve internal bank challenges or create new propositions to provide directly to customers. A ‘building block’ approach to FinTech collaboration can bring greater rewards, creating combinations of different FinTech and bank applications to improve processes such as corporate customer onboarding or KYC ongoing due diligence. Building and testing such solutions at speed and with quality can be achieved through a purpose-built innovation and gamified development platform, such as Virtusa’s Open Innovation Platform. Learn how Emirates NBD leverages Open Innovation Platform to drive better outcomes for its innovation program.


Securing bank systems in the new world

Open banking exposes endpoints in banks to third parties, so requires appropriate levels of audit, control, and monitoring. The current manual auditing and static reporting practices are not sufficient, and given the speed at which threats manifest themselves, an automated continuous API Security Assessment is needed. Using a dynamic, real-time automated tool to analyze your open banking readiness – quantitatively and qualitatively – is the preferred approach, which provides actionable insights and remediation measures. API security issues highlighted by such tools may require you to refactor the processes, applications, internal policies, and people to reduce the security gaps, and help you integrate with external third parties that you may not have a contractual relationship with.

The fundamental ingredients for the success of open banking in the Middle East are either in place, or at least in planning and consultation stages. To make this an opportunity to modernize, compete, and monetize, banks need to look front to back at their systems, processes, security, and their approach to collaboration with FinTechs and technology providers. Regulators need to work with financial services organizations too, as open APIs evolve over time to match customer expectations.

Enhance your digital future with open banking innovation At a scale and speed that defies traditional IT infrastructure

Learn More

Download Virtusa’s latest Open Banking white paper to learn why monetizing Open Banking APIs is vital for long-term success.


PIONEERING INNOVATIVE

TECHNOLOGY TO

REIMAGINE CAPITAL MARKETS

Regional Banks Central Banks Exchanges and CCPs Insurance Companies Pension Funds Asset Management Companies Hedge Funds www.calypso.com

solutions@calypso.com


105

passionate drive to cater to customer

documented and mitigated, but they

demand and its diligence with regula-

will never be eliminated.”

tory challenges that Morton believes

With such a large transformation

gives Emirates NBD its competitive

underway, it is unsurprising that change

edge. The same cautious approach

management is being carried out with

is applicable to cloud capabili-

great care. “When you’re dealing with

ties. “There is still concern around the

the huge number of changes that we

cloud and how information is secured,

are going through, it’s important to

even more so for a bank,” Morton

have great leadership, not just from

explains. “It’s important for us that

the top down, but at all levels,” he

the legal department compliments the

says. “The first step to change is that

facilitation of new ideas. Tech moves

there is a belief that this is the right

much faster than law and we have to

thing to do and, on the ground level,

ensure that the risks are well analysed,

that we all believe in it. Everyone here w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Business is about people Condo Protego is the leading regional IT infrastructure and information management solution provider. With an impressive client list that includes some of the largest organizations in the region, Condo Protego is the partner of choice for these organizations to support them on their digital transformation journeys and is one of the top partners for DELL EMC, RSA, VMware and Veritas.

Learn More

condoprotego.com


“Once you really take the physical world out of the equation, you’re dealing purely with digital worlds” — Richard Morton, Associate Vice President for Legal, Emirates NBD

the management of Liv CEO, Jayesh Patel, and Evans Munyuki, CDO and founder of E20, both of whom he describes as “really carrying the innovation of future banking”. As Morton and Emirates NBD move forward, they anticipate the growth of E20 and Liv, and the role that both will play in Dubai’s drive to going paperless. “The government in Dubai has been incredibly innovative and supportive in its promotion of new technologies, and

understands that the banking industry

its drive to be the first truly paper-

is changing fast and is under threat at

less city,” explains Morton. “What’s

every level.” Echoing the sentiments of

most compelling about the future isn’t

CEO Shayne Nelson, Morton says: “we are upgrading the company on a granular level. From the sign-up process through to terms and conditions; everyone is empowered to do what needs to be done to become more relevant, more flexible and more future-proof.”

THE VANGUARD OF THE MIDDLE EAST Morton has been particularly impressed with the speed and accuracy of the transformation. “Miguel has worked incredibly hard and the results show it has been profound across the landscape.” Morton also commends w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

107


E M I R AT E S N B D

1963

Year founded

$2bn+

Revenue in US dollars

10,000

Number of employees

108

1mn+

Active current accounts

just the bank, but the entire region and its regulatory landscape. We’ve been given the opportunity to serve our customers in entirely new ways.” Morton considers Emirates NBD as “the vanguard of the Middle East” and believes that the bank is well on its way to becoming one of the world’s most innovative banks. “We are at the tip of the iceberg; going paperless is just the beginning, because the fact is that once you really take the physical world out of the equation, you’re dealing purely with DECEMBER 2019


“When you’re dealing with the huge number of changes that we are going through, it’s important to have great leadership, not just from the top down, but at all levels” — Richard Morton, Associate Vice President for Legal, Emirates NBD digital worlds. In the digital world the capabilities are endless, the opportunities to serve your clients in new and innovative ways are infinite, and this is only going to grow as a trend.” Emirates NBD remains a corporate stronghold in the Middle East and, with its shared vision with the city of Dubai, it will evolve this role into the digital space as a leader on an international level.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

109


110

Seamless customer journeys and digital readiness WRITTEN BY

MARCUS LAWRENCE PRODUCED BY

JAKE MEGEARY

DECEMBER 2019


111

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


WSIB

Samantha Liscio, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, discusses the organisation’s digital transformation and its drive to enable seamless customer experiences

I 112

n Ontario, Canada, workers benefit from legislation compelling their employers to provide workplace insurance. This

strategy necessitates a provider for that cover and Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is that very organisation. While many companies view digital transformation as a means to keep up to date with the times or gain a measure against the competition, such compulsions are not so clear for state-mandated entities; if the organisation is essential, one might wonder why that organisation would prioritise exhaustive modernisation and the heavy investment and strategic challenges of shifting operations to digitised solutions that it entails. Samantha Liscio, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at WSIB, dismisses such notions. The focus, she says, has to be on making the customer experience seamless, straightforward, and easy, irrespective of whether employers have the option to change insurer. “Our DECEMBER 2019


The digiHUB is located at WSIB’s head office. It is a workspace for all things digital, featuring an open layout that encourages employees to come together and collaborate

1914

Year founded

CA$4.4bn Revenue in Canadian dollars

4,000 Number of employees

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

113


WSIB

“Our CEO affirms that our goal here is to be the insurer of choice. Even as a monopoly, if our customer had a choice they should pick us, and he’s very vocal about that”

114

— Samantha Liscio Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer, WSIB

CEO affirms that our goal here is to be the insurer of choice,” she says. “Even as a monopoly, if our customer had a choice they should pick us, and he’s very vocal about that.” This obligation is driven by the services and solutions that customers have come to expect from the modern world, where vital information and operations can be accessed and actioned through apps that define and enable sleek, optimised customer journeys. “We still have competition on customer expectations, and

WSIB has a lab at Kitchener’s innovation hub Communitech – employees can collaborate and leverage other communal creative environments

DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘WE’RE MAKING IMPROVEMENTS TO DELIVER BETTER SERVICE’ 115 we feel that very keenly these days

status, and they want the WSIB to be

when people can go online and bank

easy and straightforward and availa-

or purchase airline tickets with one

ble. That really is what’s driving digital

click,” explains Liscio. “It makes an

transformation for us.”

imperative for us to be able to provide

With this focus on the customer,

services like that to them, because

WSIB has identified the processes

when our clients come to us they’re

which define the customer journey

injured or they’re ill and they expect

and performed a series of ethno-

that the great work that we do to help

graphic studies into the needs and

them get better and return to work

expectations of its customer base. By

isn’t overshadowed by how difficult it

then taking staff through each facet of

is to deal with us. They don’t want to

that journey, the areas of convolution

be worrying about mailing or faxing

and friction become clear. Addressing

information to us, they don’t want to

these areas of frustration, Liscio says,

have to call to figure out their claim

will enable the digital transformation w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


WSIB

“With a clear focus on what our customers want, IT can foster discussions around the art of the possible in using digital tools to enable transformation”

118

— Samantha Liscio Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer, WSIB

to precipitate the correct changes for

enable transformation. IT can show

the organisation as a whole. “Getting

the business what modern technol-

staff to think from an outside in kind

ogy and modern software can bring

of focus, and getting that customer

in terms of enablement and meeting

experience right, drives other values

those customer needs, effectively

too. We track public value as a key

orchestrating and architecting for the

measure and part of our strategic

future in a scalable, efficient, and

metrics reporting, and if we get the

sustainable way.”

customer piece right, our public value

While Liscio believes that some tra-

and trust measures change for the

ditional access channels will remain

better as well. With a clear focus on

in place to serve the less digitally-

what our customers want, IT can

enabled, removing reliance on paper

foster discussions around the art of

is a fundamental piece of the trans-

the possible in using digital tools to

formation. Claims related documents

DECEMBER 2019


Located in WSIB’s head office at Simcoe Place, the digital factory represents its commitment as an organisation to develop solutions for the people it serves, improve its processes, upgrade its systems, and enable employees to provide the services that customers need with the least amount of effort. WSIB’s digital factory is both a physical space and a way of working E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Samantha Liscio As Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at the WSIB, Samantha is responsible for digital transformation, leveraging technology and customer experience to streamline processes, provide value and modernise the business. She ensures IT operational excellence, directs innovation and drives the highest possible value from technology assets and investments. Samantha has over 20 years of experience in IT leadership roles. In previous positions in both the public service and private industry, she led the design and implementation of large-scale digital transformative initiatives.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

119


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘PETE’S RETURN-TO-WORK STORY’ 121 can now be uploaded directly from a

because if you’re handling digital

laptop or mobile phone and delivered

information it fundamentally changes

to the organisation digitally, signifi-

the business processes, rationalising

cantly decreasing the lead times for

those business processes in line with

postage and processing of faxes that

customer journeys and then finally

traditionally hinder the expedition of

deploying the enabling technology

claims processes. This customer-

using agile methods that can be sus-

facing element permeates through

tainable in the long term. Doing all

the organisation as part of what Liscio

three of those together is key so this

calls WSIB’s biggest transformation

isn’t just a technology project, even

endeavour in its 105-year history: the

though a big component of that is

core services modernisation pro-

replacing and upgrading our core sys-

gramme. “It’s essentially doing three

tem of record.”

things,” she explains. “It’s getting rid of paper and becoming digital at source,

This is where key partner Guidewire comes in, providing a suite of w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


WSIB

PA RT N E R S

Wipro “Providing continuous improvement enhancement and on-going defect fixes has been a vital component in maintaining performance and stability in our core system. Wipro have helped the WSIB rollout system enhancements that have reduced the number of clicks from our core system users by more than 50%” 122

IBM “We’ve just partnered with IBM to do our managed hosting and cloud services, and they’re helping us understand how we can be better use data and analytics in our data centres so that we can automate the repetitive server administration tasks and drive efficiencies as we plan and orchestrate cloud services” Samantha Liscio Chief Transformation and Innovation officer

DECEMBER 2019

WSIB’s leaders come together frequently to talk about its modernization journey and plan for next steps


digitally-enabled insurance tools to facilitate rapid claims registration, administration and return-to-work processes. “A ‘quick win’ for us has been the digital document upload tool that we launched last year, and its connectivity to Guidewire,” enthuses Liscio, adding that the organisation’s time to market has been cut drastically through using the digital factory to drive development. “In the past, it took years to launch WSIB products, but this one was 16 weeks from inception to launch. In 2018, we received more than 2.3mn pieces of paper either by mail or by fax and we’re cutting a lot of that through the digital upload tool; it now has more daily uploads than the total documents we receive in paper. They come in and they go into the Guidewire backend system instantaneously. It also removes some of the call volume that we have from people asking if we have received their postal or fax documents, removing all of the barriers to good and fast customer service.” To remove the barriers to its own transformational success, WSIB has also partnered with IT and business w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

123


Change. It’s what we do. Avenai is a business and IT services consulting company that specializes in helping our clients transform into high performing organizations. With a value driven focus, we work with our clients to create business strategies and solutions that drive positive impact. With offices in Ottawa, Toronto and Victoria, BC we are a growing consultancy that has an excellent reputation for working closely alongside our clients and rolling up our sleeves to make sure that change sticks. Learn More

We’re honored to help WSIB deliver on its mission


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘DOUG’S RETURN-TO-WORK STORY’ 125 services consultancy Avenai to intro-

it,” Liscio explains. “Avenai helped

duce a new, digitally-empowered

us do a current state assessment of

organisational framework. “Previously

how our legacy model was impeding

there were silos of IT operations and

our progress and then suggested an

solutions delivery; it didn’t work well

industry standard IT operating model

together. When a major project was

that was much more client focused,

finished and the development work

with delivery verticals leveraging agile

was done, it kind of got thrown over

and DevOps methods and supported

the fence to operations to manage

by horizontal IT shared services func-

and maintain it. If there were defects

tions. We’ve moved our entire 300+

that needed to be worked through

person IT organisation into that new

with problem management, that work

functional model, and have started to

was difficult to assign and there was

change behaviours at the leadership

finger pointing between operations

level by agreeing on a set of values

and delivery as to who should do

that we aspire to. At its heart, it’s w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


WSIB

An employee uses WSIB’s new best-in-class phone system, Genesys

about being customer focused, collaborative, demonstrating clear value to the business and moving from a project to a product focus. Avenai was very helpful in helping us help shift the organisational culture, applying specific behavioural performance objectives, and helping us bring the necessary leadership, values, and culture piece into the change management approach during the deployment of the new model.” Change management, the Everest of all digital transformations, has thus DECEMBER 2019

“In the past, it took years to launch WSIB products, but for the digital upload tool it was 16 weeks from inception to launch” — Samantha Liscio Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer, WSIB


127

been enabled by this structural revolu-

simple reimbursement for medical

tion to WSIB’s IT operations and the

costs. Those can be processed auto-

associated change in culture across

matically in the Guidewire solution,

the IT organisation. The success of its

based on WSIB business rules, and

new digital products, and the ability to

we can take advantage of the auto-

automate repetitive tasks and expand

mation potential within the software

the capacity for employees’ additional

itself. This straight-through process-

value-added activities, is facilitated

ing means that claims processing

by this newly-enabled readiness. An

times are dramatically improved and

example that Liscio offers regarding

staff with high skills and expertise

automation is in the straight-through

can spend their valuable time on the

processing of medical expenses

complex claims that require human

claims that it enables. “More than

decisions.” As a result, a claims

70% of the claims that we have involve

process that could have taken a full w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


WSIB

128

“It’s about being customer focused, collaborative, demonstrating clear value to the business and having the IT leaders model those behaviours by building commitments into their performance objective directly” — Samantha Liscio Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer, WSIB

DECEMBER 2019


payment cycle to deliver has become instantaneous, and the benefit for customers speaks for itself. In the age of digital transformation, customer centricity and operational preparedness are characteristics that separate the winners from the chasers, and this is no less certain for companies whose offering is mandated by local authorities. These qualities resonate through the entirety of Liscio’s strategic endeavours. “For digital transformation to succeed, IT can’t be the order taker to the business to execute on individual priorities, it needs to demonstrate clear value that’s aligned to the customer, it needs to do these things while keeping the engines running and the plumbing working, all in a safe and secure and sustainable way,” she asserts. “It’s about looking at things foundationally, assessing the key pieces that we need to have in place to truly transform how we do our business, and leveraging the expertise of key partners that will help us get that right.”

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

129


130

MCU: putting members at the heart of digital transformation WRITTEN BY

OLLIE MULKERRINS WRITTEN BY

JAKE MEGEARY

DECEMBER 2019


131

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION

David Baldarelli, SVP for Meridian Credit Union, keeps member quality of life and security at the heart of digital transformation

A

s a credit union, Meridian (MCU) is 100% owned by its Members: their interests are first. Profits are returned to them not in

dividend payments, but in the form of innovative products, technology and services along with a focus on community and overall member well-being. 132

“We’re ruthlessly focused on our members and employees, we’re really all about focusing on wellbeing: financial, physical and mental,” says David Baldarelli, SVP, Digital & Analytics and COO, motusbank. Baldarelli led the campaign to develop motusbank, a subsidiary of Meridian. It took four years of heavy lifting – both technology build and regulatory approvals – before motus launched in April 2019. The name Motus is Latin for new movement, representing disruption and rebellion, an idea MCU wants motusbank to embody, with a new movement in banking. This new movement is putting customer welfare and a sustainable relationship between the platform and its members at the forefront of its development.

DECEMBER 2019


133

2005

Year founded

2,000

Approximate number of employees

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION

“The legacy way of doing things is no longer accepted” 134

— David Baldarelli, SVP, Digital & Analytics and COO, MotusBank for Meridian Credit Union (MCU)

DECEMBER 2019

MCU is aware that modern cultural shifts have left consumers expecting more from their financial services. “So Financial Institutions in Canada are now being compared to the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple, Uber, because this is who they’re using for their day to day,” says Baldarelli. “They’re expecting the same from financial companies. The legacy way of doing things is no longer accepted.” The financial sector has been forced to adapt and evolve to changing demands from consumers, as younger generations requiring more immediate


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘MOTUSBANK: OUR STORY’

access to their finances enter the

them for the sort of change they want

market. “Three or four years ago,

to see as members. “One of the

digital didn’t contribute much at all to

biggest things is to never assume that

the overall new membership growth,”

you have the answer,” says Baldarelli.

explains Baldarelli. “When you fast

“It’s important to listen to what your

forward to today, digital is the number

members are saying, to spend time in

one new member acquisition channel

operations, the contact center and

across all of our districts.”

branches as well as obtaining a holistic

The launch of motusbank has realised a surge in new membership for

understanding of the business.” Specifically on digital member

MCU. As new members benefit from a

experience, MCU worked closely with

holistic approach towards banking with

TELUS Financial Solutions. Keith

a company that doesn’t assume the

Nugara says: “Through collaboration

needs of its users but rather approaches

with Meridian, we aligned on its digital w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

135


TELUS Financial Solutions A partner to help you grow.

We empower financial institutions. Our experience and agility are rooted in nearly three decades of close collaboration with Canadian financial communities. It’s what has allowed us to provide financial institutions with robust technology solutions that are designed to digitize and streamline processes and help businesses gain a competitive edge in the industry. Let us help you too.

AST2756-11-2019

To learn more, visit telus.com/financial-solutions


137

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

David Balderelli As Chief Operating Officer of Motus Bank, David oversees and executes go-to-market strategies and is responsible for delivering against the bank business plan. He is responsible for overseeing the strategy, management and execution of Digital Banking and Analytics strategy for both the credit union and the bank. This includes a strong focus on driving a superior digital member experience, operational efficiencies, and member engagement and growth.Â

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION

IDVision

TM

with

Is your business fit to fight fraud? With integrated fraud solutions, businesses and consumers can transact more safely and seamlessly in a digital world. By partnering with TransUnion, Meridian Credit Union and Motus Bank benefit from our IDVision® solution which enables accelerated digital identity management. Our advanced analytics and new data assets help lead to greater accuracy which promotes safer lending and a frictionless customer experience.

© 2019 TransUnion Canada, Inc. All Rights Reserved | 19-476718

Equifax® is helping financial institutions with their digital transformation efforts by offering onboarding and authentication services. Ultimately, it is about creating a superior digital experience and facilitating financial well-being.

1.855.233.9226 • equifax.ca © Equifax Canada Co., 2019. All rights reserved. All marks appearing herein are trademarks or registered trademarks owned or licensed by Equifax Canada Co. No part of this document may be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language in any form by means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for any purpose, without the prior written consent of Equifax Canada Co.

NOVEMBER 2019

Visit: transunion.ca/idvision


139 member experience and national

strategy. Our partnership with TELUS

strategy, resulting in Meridian’s use

Financial Solutions enabled us to

of TELUS Financial Solutions robust

provide members with enhanced

technologies that are designed to

digital financial services coast to coast,

streamline processes and aided

streamline internal processes and

Meridian to gain a competitive edge by

focus on growing our business.”

focusing on its member digital journeys.

Demand has led to company

Through this collaboration, our

branches becoming more intercon-

customers will continue to benefit

nected through technology such as

from our respective strengths includ-

cloud services, making it much easier

ing strategic and targeted payment

to share and process data across

solutions that enable electronic

multiple platforms. This comes with its

payment, digital data collection and

own risks though, as cyber security

more efficient analytics.”

threats continue to adapt at a compa-

Balderalli adds: “Member journey is a critical piece of our digital national

rable pace and networks present more points of entry. Working with MX and w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION

140

“We’re three to four times where we thought we would be in terms of new members and balances” — David Baldarelli, SVP, Digital & Analytics and COO, MotusBank for Meridian Credit Union (MCU)

DECEMBER 2019


141

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION

Advert NOVEMBER 2019


Personetics, MCU has developed AI

them to process member data within

analytics to process mass data more

their own network and leverage the

efficiently, making it possible to identify

rapid up-scaling required to keep up

and adapt to potential threats across

with modern security challenges and

a much larger data sample. “We are

the influx of new members. One such

going to have the ability to analyze

partner was SAS. “We brought in

hundreds of thousands of members’

SAS to the organization and it’s really

data and transactions, running it

allowed us to take our analytics to

through an artificial intelligence engine

the next level. We’ve started building

and coming out with valuable, relevant

logistic regression models, and neural

and meaningful insights which will help

network models that basically help us

them improve their financial wellbeing.”

with identifying credit risk, product

MCU has built its own proprietary

propensities and helping us segment

digital and analytics platform, allowing

our members.”

143

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘WORKING AT MOTUSBANK’

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION

144

DECEMBER 2019


Motusbank has given MCU a reliable and innovative National platform to growth its membership and enhance its brand. Baldarelli explains the initiative has seen “great success! So far, we’ve seen tremendous growth with motusbank. We’re three to four times where we thought we would be in terms of new members and balances.” This success has put MCU in good stead for the future, but it won’t be without its challenges. “Competition is a big thing on our radar. Especially with the likes of the Facebooks, Googles and Amazons. From an economic perspective, we’ve had a really good run over the past 10 years, but we think those good times won’t be there forever. Finally, our capital is precious. Making sure that we’re leveraging our capital in the right way and optimizing it to ensure we’re getting the most bang for our buck is important to us.”

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

145


146

KUBRA: information security and customer experience WRITTEN BY

SHANNON LEWIS PRODUCED BY

JAKE MEGEARY

DECEMBER 2019


147

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


KUBRA

We speak to Tushar Chandgothia, Vice President of Information Security and Risk Management at KUBRA, about how businesses can provide customers with the service they want while keeping digitally safe

K

UBRA was originally founded in 1992 as a bill printing service provider. Clients looking to outsource printing, from

statements to invoices, turned to KUBRA. As the company expanded, so did its interests. From printing, KUBRA moved into billing and payments, 148

which itself moved from the analogue to the digital. Today, KUBRA provides digital and software services to over 365 clients and their customers. Tushar Chandgothia has been Vice President of Information Security and Risk Management at KUBRA for over three years. His background is primarily with other service providers. “I make sure, from an executive standpoint, that there is someone to be held accountable for data security,” he says. KUBRA processes 1.5bn transactions every year, ranging from printed invoices to bank statement, text messages. “We collect a lot of personallyidentifiable information,” says Chandgothia. “We need to make sure that the systems that actually host that data on behalf of our clients are secure. At the end of the day what we want to do is maintain customer trust and reliability in our services.” DECEMBER 2019


149

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


KUBRA

“At the end of the day what we want to do is maintain customer trust and reliability in our services” 150

— Tushar Chandgothia, Vice President of Information Security and Risk Management, KUBRA

DECEMBER 2019

A shift in mentality between generations has forced KUBRA to re-evaluate how it provides services. Gen X, Y, and Z are looking for easy, frictionless interactions. “They ask a question and expect a reply within minutes.” In response, KUBRA developed artificial intelligence-based solutions to efficiently respond to client messages. With new technology comes both convenience and complication. KUBRA’s applications are made up of over 600 different components, flavours or sub-applications. To avoid vulnerabilities in new


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘KUBRA EXPERIENCE BETTER’ 151 code, KUBRA engages in a shift-left

work as hired hackers, trying to break

mentality. KUBRA’s development and

into applications and find vulnerabilities

implementation team, made up of over

that KUBRA can then adjust for.

150 people, centres around creating

When it comes to ensuring a balance

and testing new code. Every piece of

between functionality and security,

billing and payments code at KUBRA

Chandgothia says it is important to

is passed through a security tool that

always be on the lookout for the next

highlights potential security vulnerabilities.

great thing. “We want to be at the fore-

“When the developer is tinkering with

front of payments,” he says. “That’s the

new functionalities, they find out about

strategy that has driven us in the last

the vulnerability early and it’s fixed

few years.” Services such as Forrester

before it is released into the market,”

and Gartner help him compare

he says. For additional security testing

vendors, ensuring any technologies

in its billing and payments applications,

KUBRA replaces will only be made

one of KUBRA’s partners, Cobalt Labs

better. “We are continuously evaluating w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


SPEED SECURITY You CAN Have It All.

Pave your own path for security process automation to drive revenue and reduce network security risk with FireMon ELIMINATE bottlenecks that plague traditional change processes DECREASE errors by standardizing more areas of your security SUPPORT the dynamic demands of your agile/DevOps customers DECREASE manual touch to save OpEx STANDARDIZE workflows to increase security change process efficiency

LEARN MORE


“While secure delivery of new products is something we will always do, there is no compromise on security” — Tushar Chandgothia, Vice President of Information Security and Risk Management, KUBRA

what makes the most sense from a business perspective, where we have the most flexibility, where we can allow the client to provide for themselves rather than having us be in the middle. How can we help them help themselves to meet their expectations?” To focus on process building, KUBRA co-sources its security technology from some of the best security vendors. “We focus on making solutions that are great when it comes to billing and payments,” he says. “When it comes to security, we’re looking for

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Tushar Chandgothia Tushar Chandgothia is the Vice President of Information Security and Risk Management at KUBRA, a customer experience management solutions provider to some of the largest utility, insurance and government entities across North America. Chandgothia has over 16 years of experience in information security, IT audit, and risk management functions in technology, financial, media, and healthcare sectors. As the first Information Security Vice President at KUBRA, he is working along with his team to strengthen the first line of defence and mature the cybersecurity and technology risk management practice by embedding security controls in KUBRA’s billing and payment solutions.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

153


Application security done right Cobalt - Pentest as a Service Cobalt’s Pentest as a Service (PtaaS) Platform makes pentesting fast and easy for modern SaaS businesses that want on-demand, human-powered security testing that fits their compliance and agile development needs.

LEARN MORE

SCHEDULE A DEMO

Customer Testimonials How Verifone Pentests at the Speed of Development Why HubSpot Moved to a Tech-Forward Approach to Pentesting How Cobalt Transforms the Way Healthcare Companies Pentest Our Customers

cobalt.io


155

a relationship where the partner’s core

automate certain processes. Another

business is to provide that. Rather

way KUBRA has opted for security in

than managing it all in house, we find

technology is through the tokenisation

someone for whom security tech is

of data, which allows the company to

their bread and butter.” Finding the

reduce the footprint of actual credit

correct technology is about econo-

card numbers in its environment by

mising. “We try to solve five problems

registering these as different values.

with one piece of technology,” he

This reduces risk since, if the card

says. This mentality has led KUBRA

numbers are tokenised, it means that

into a partnership with FireMon. It

no client card numbers would be

had the most seamless integration

exposed if the system were compro-

when it came to its firewalls and the

mised. When searching for partners

additional service of real-time review

to do this, stacked functionality was

of security rules and the capability to

once again key. The provider KUBRA w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


KUBRA

C O M PA N Y FACT S

• Today, KUBRA provides digital and software services to 365 clients and their customers. • KUBRA processes 1.5 billion transactions in a year. • KUBRA’s applications are made up of over 600 sub-applications.

156

DECEMBER 2019


chose to work with offers stateless tokenisation, which removes the usual database of tokens, making the data even more secure. It is also speedy, able to tokenise over a million credit card numbers an hour. Internal methodology is as important to information security as having the right technology in place at KUBRA. Chandgothia has seen major changes in the security team since he joined in 2016. “We have proper pillars now. We centralised a lot of the preventative controls. We don’t want to be just in the detection game, we want to control the first line of defence, hands-on.” The change, from a client standpoint, has been seamless. “I think for the most part we use common sense. It’s what we call a Defence-in-Depth approach.” It allows adaptability. Clients who are switching to KUBRA from a less-secure position can ask to reduce security restrictions temporarily for an initial adjustment period. KUBRA’s security infrastructure is multi-layered, so the company has the flexibility to do this without compromising safety. Legal security restrictions, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

157


KUBRA

158

“This legislation has allowed us to promote a security culture. If someone wants to push back, we have a regulation behind us” — Tushar Chandgothia, Vice President of Information Security and Risk Management, KUBRA

DECEMBER 2019

(CCPA) or General Data Regulation Protection (GDPR) have been helpful to KUBRA in maintaining its high standards. “This legislation has allowed us to promote a security culture. If someone wants to push back, we have a regulation behind us. We’ve never seen it as something that has stopped our business,” says Chandgothia. Looking forward, KUBRA is interested in becoming an omni-channel provider. “We want to be involved in every facet where client communication is


1992

Year founded

500

Number of employees

159

involved.� Chandgothia says. Security-

KUBRA is looking into adopting

wise, KUBRA is looking to develop

machine learning, artificial intelligence,

a zero-trust environment, in which

and cloud computing, allowing clients

neither external nor internal users

to further self-serve. “While secure

have unlimited access to information.

delivery of new products is something

A 10-year exercise, it has been imple-

we will always do, there is no compromise

mented in parts. So far, KUBRA has

on security.

segmented its production environment, where all personally identifiable data is kept, from its user environment and also segmented its credit card data environment in production from other non-card services. Technologically, w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


160

DECEMBER 2019


DREAM BIG, START SMALL WRITTEN BY

AMBER DONOVAN-STEVENS PRODUCED BY

NATHAN HOLMES

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

161


ING

Paul Spronk, Head of ING Labs Singapore, explains how the bank is working closely with startups and partners to innovate for its clients in an ever-changing landscape

I

NG Wholesale Banking has innovation labs in Amsterdam, London and Singapore. Paul Spronk heads ING Labs Singapore,

having held this position since 2018. Prior to this, Spronk worked for fintech payments com162

pany Payconiq, which originated in ING’s Chief Innovation Office in Amsterdam – he later joined ING’s Wholesale Bank and helped to set up its global innovation team. Today, from the city-state of Singapore, Spronk leads his team to drive innovation in the global trade ecosystem. His focus on different value spaces derives from where the bank traditionally has a strong footprint. For example, ING Labs Singapore is ideally located in a technologically advanced trading hub of Singapore, hence it is focused on the trade value space, covering the entire ecosystem of goods that are traded globally and the adjacent network of services and financial flows. This sector expertise and leverage on innovation enables ING to play a role in improving industry efficiency and addressing structural challenges. DECEMBER 2019


163

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


ING

“We are the ideal partner to help startups get off the ground: our wide industry knowledge, a large client base, deep industry knowledge, capital – all from a trusted global brand” — Paul Spronk, Head of ING Labs Singapore

164

with open architecture and governance structures that enable the bank to create value-added products and services clients. • The roll-out of PACE, INGs innovation methodology that combines a lean startup, and agile way of working with design thinking. It offers tools that enable the bank to develop relevant solutions to internal and external problems.

IMPROVING FORECASTING BEYOND A COIN FLIP With advances in new technologies

According to Spronk, the team has

such as AI and machine learning it has

a three-pillar strategy and works on:

become possible to do things that

• G reenfield ventures that create

were previously hard for the industry.

long-term impact for ING and its

For example, Spronk shares that the

clients. These ventures and ini-

Singapore lab has developed a software

tiatives can go beyond banking

venture called SoptAI, an AUTO-ML

business models in addressing client

powered demand and cash flow fore-

needs as the global trade ecosys-

casting system that optimises supply

tem evolves.

chain operations and financing.

• Venture partnerships with a clear

“Within the industry, the accuracy of

client-driven platform strategy in

forecasting can sometimes be as low

mind. ING invests in partnerships

as 50%, the same as flipping

with startup, scale-up and corporate

a coin,” he says, adding that “with SoptAI,

partners, with the aim of developing

early proof points show that we are able

multi-sided business ties and models

to improve the accuracy with double digit

DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘ING ASIA CORPORATE VIDEO’ 165 figures on most of our client use cases,

contributor to Singapore’s economy.

saving the industry millions of dollars.

Within this sector, ING Labs Singapore

The system has a proprietary automated

is building a venture called Kapsool.

model selection engine that helps us to

“This is essentially a digital agency

build a scalable business.”

workflow platform in the marine port

SoptAI could potentially lower the

ecosystem. Its goal is to reach an

need for working capital, demonstrat-

efficiency level matched to that of air-

ing ING’s commitment to truly helping

ports,” says Spronk.

its clients to stay a step ahead, even

He explains how such greenfield

at the cost of traditional banking prod-

ventures begin development, with

ucts. For the bank, such ventures also

long-term impact in mind. “Now, before

generate new non-interest income

you start building, if you’re within our

revenues, which are particularly impor-

lab and building a venture, we encour-

tant in a low interest environment.

age people to start with a problem in

The shipping industry is a significant

mind; is this problem real? How big w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


ING

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘SOPTAI’ 168

“We are willing to disrupt ourselves from time to time all with the aim to help our clients be successful” — Paul Spronk, Head of ING Labs Singapore

is it for our clients and the industry if it can be solved? If there is enough room for impact we like to quickly build an iterate on a solution and we do that with trusted development shops and partners to help design and build the product. This is how we discovered Ming Labs.” Ming Labs offers both design and software development services and has a strong sense of customercentricity across its teams. “The people over at Ming Labs are team players,” Spronk states. “If you walk into our office,

DECEMBER 2019


you’ll find at any given day about two

regulatory pressure and the need for

to five people from them working with

ever better Know Your Customer

us, and I think it would not have been

(KYC) processes, ING is moving to

possible to build Kapsool as quickly

meet this demand head-on by creat-

without them.” Spronk emphasises

ing a module called Blacksmith. “This

that, as a venture moves from ideation

will help the bank perform KYC more

to market-fit state, flexibility is para-

easily while still maintaining the qual-

mount when working with vendors and

ity of the due diligence,” says Spronk.

development partners. “Ming Labs was

To assist with the creation of a

aligned with this understanding and

minimum viable product, ING is col-

has been key to this venture,” he says.

laborating with long-time partner

Against a backdrop of mounting

Synechron, which Spronk confirms is 169

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Paul Spronk Paul Spronk heads the Asian innovation activities for ING Wholesale Banking out of Singapore and is responsible for origination, validation and scaling of INGs innovative ventures across ING Wholesale Banking’s network. Implementation of ING’s innovation method, PACE, in wholesale banking and developing external partnerships with fintech companies, industry partners and government agencies in the region are among the other activities under his supervision. He also acts as APAC liaison for all of ING’s innovation capabilities in other regions. Paul has a background as an entrepreneur in digital retail services, has guided multiple innovation projects across various WB business lines and is a real technology enthusiast. He studied European law in Groningen and Budapest and holds an LLM in international & EU law from the University of Amsterdam.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


ING

172

DECEMBER 2019


173

“doing an excellent job”, as the bank

everyone within the organisation speak

works towards taking Blacksmith

the same language when talking about

to market.

innovation,” he explains.

INNOVATION: BUILDING THE NUTS AND BOLTS

HAND IN GLOVE: FINDING THE RIGHT PARTNER

At ING Labs Singapore, Spronk and his

Spronk shares the bank’s perspec-

team supports the roll-out of PACE,

tive when it comes to partnerships:

a proprietary innovation methodology

“ING understands that it cannot do

developed by the bank. “PACE com-

everything itself and so we are always

bines the attributes of a lean startup

looking for partners to assist us on

with agile working, design thinking

this journey, whether they are start-

and customer-centric innovation, all

ups, scale-ups, or corporate partners.”

neatly fitted into a framework to make

When asked what ING looks for in a w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


ING

C O M PA N Y FACT S

How does ING innovate for its clients? Spronk explains: “We identify a problem and then either build a venture ourselves that can become a new business unit, a standalone venture or a joint venture, or we look for partnerships with companies that have already found an interesting solution. 174

In order to source the most interesting problem statements, ING hosts ideation sessions with clients, government agencies and employees alike. We ensure that the client is involved from the earliest stages so that the innovation is truly useful to them.�

DECEMBER 2019


partner, he shares his belief that ideal partnerships are strategic and not merely for financial return, noting that “we look for companies with the technological capabilities to help us and our clients to stay relevant in the future.’’ He cites Silicon Valley-based fintech startup, Flowcast, as an example of an ideal partner. The firm specialises in smart credit decisioning through its credit analysis capabilities and machine learning-based algorithms. “Some of our larger wholesale clients can also benefit from these enhanced credit algorithms within their business and when these are optimised then the need for working capital, which is traditionally something that banks provide, is reduced. For us this is not a problem as we like to put the client’s interest above all and believe this will make them see us as a trusted partner for the future,” Spronk notes. Flowcast’s CEO Ken So is optimistic about the impact of this venture, where the technology used will make credit available to the underserved. The firm’s platform also allows organisations to accurately use non-traditional data sources to predict risks. So adds: “We w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

175


ING

“We don’t want vendors to build partnerships just to solve our own problems, we want to build partnerships in order to combat industry issues and help solve some of the industry’s largest problems” 176

— Paul Spronk, Head of ING Labs Singapore

1991

Year founded

$19bn Revenue in US dollars

50,000+ Number of employees

believe that it won’t be long before every lending decision will be driven by AI in order for lenders to stay competi-

great potential that cross his radar are

tive. ING understands the impact that

referred to the appropriate regional lab.

AI will have on credit and reinvents

When working with startups, Spronk

its credit decision process. We look

and his team have much to offer.

forward to expanding our partnership

“Naturally it’s about providing mutual

with ING.”

value,” he explains. “We are an ideal

This is a perspective that Spronk

partner in assisting startups in get-

shares, noting that “we are also willing

ting off the ground thanks to our wide

to disrupt ourselves with the aim of

industry knowledge, a large client base,

helping our clients to be successful.”

deep industry knowledge and capital,

This isn’t limited to Spronk’s work in

all from a trusted global brand. These

Asia. He notes that businesses with

attributes are integral to startups

DECEMBER 2019


177

looking to upscale, as having the

AI and ML landscapes,” he says. “The

backing of a larger company makes

readiness and availability of data

obtaining trust from clients and

increasing over the years is going to

capital easier for a startup.”

change a lot. We want to make our own contribution and help our clients

DREAM BIG AND START SMALL

with that transformation to ensure

As Spronk and his team look ahead, it

that we, as a bank, are still an impor-

is clear that they show no sign of break-

tant, innovative and relevant player

ing momentum. “The industry continues

in the future.”

to digitise as it has done for the last decade and more technology driven opportunities are opening in the DLT, w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Visions Federal Credit Union: 178

becoming financial advocates WRITTEN BY

GEORGIA WILSON PRODUCED BY

SHIRIN SADR

DECEMBER 2019


179

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


VISIONS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

Thomas Novak, AVP of Digital Banking, Visions FCU, discusses how digital transformation can help the business become true advocates for its members

T

homas P. Novak has been in the banking industry for close to 14 years. He began his career at PNC Bank in New Jersey in

2006, before moving to M&T Bank in New York in 2010. Today, he is Assistant Vice President (AVP) of Digital Banking at Visions Federal Credit Union 180

(FCU), a member-owned credit union dedicated to community advocacy. According to Novak, who joined the business in 2011, Visions FCU involved in multiple volunteering, fundraising, donation/sponsorship initiatives and scholarship programs for the local communities it serves. It is an approach, he says, that sees the business “woven into the fabric of the local communities that we serve”. “Our digital strategy is focused around the term advocacy banking. Like a healthcare advocate for physical well-being, we want to support, guide and advise our members at every step of their journey regarding their financial well-being,” Novak continues. “We want to help our members across every aspect of their financial lives to become financially independent.” It is a vision that is driven across the DECEMBER 2019


181

1966

Year founded

$24mn Revenue in US dollars

650

Number of employees w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


VISIONS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

organization from the top down, says Novak. For example, over the last seven

technology innovation at Visions FCU

years – following the appointment of

has also been viewed with a fresh

Ty Muse as President/CEO – a fresh

approach, with Novak stating that the

perspective has spread throughout

business has “moved away from simply

the business, driven by several cultural

caring about operational efficiency,

changes. “Our CEO and executive

to innovation and efficiency through

leadership team travel to our three

advanced technologies.”

operating states – New York, New

182

Alongside these cultural changes,

Novak’s core role at Visions FCU is

Jersey and Pennsylvania – to hold Town

centered around digital transforma-

Hall Meetings for members, local com-

tion, which he calls a “central tenet for

munity groups and Visions employees,

our success”. He adds that “delivering

giving them the space to voice opinions

a top tier member experience has

and generate new ideas,” he says.

become an increasing trend across

DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘NEW HQ GRAND OPENING’ 183

“We’re always looking for more ways to achieve better results for our members, communities and employees” — Thomas Novak AVP of Digital Banking, Visions Federal Credit Union

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


VISIONS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

184

“Instead of casting a wide net and carrying out a manual process, we want to utilize AI to have more precision and accuracy for catching potential fraud” — Thomas Novak AVP of Digital Banking, Visions Federal Credit Union DECEMBER 2019

the entire banking industry and, for Visions FCU, it’s our communities, members and employees that are really the driving force behind our digital transformation journey.” Since embarking on that journey, Visions FCU has developed a ‘member experience department’ to drive innovative changes to better serve the company’s members. Working with this department, Novak’s digital team has focused on four key pillars of digital memberfacing technology: online banking, mobile banking, account opening and


consumer lending. “We knew we had to

lending that unifies the process for

get the basics right, then we can build

employees and members. This, accord-

a more sophisticated technology eco-

ing to Novak, resulted in an additional

system on top,” he explains. As of 2018,

US$60mn in loan volume within the first

Visions FCU successfully implemented

year. Putting members first, he believes,

the four pillars, providing members with

has made the process easier and more

“a connected and unified experience

convenient. Vision FCU’s online and

with no drop-off points”.

mobile banking is directly powered by

To apply for a loan from Visions FCU,

Q2ebanking. “As we strove to create

customers can use five core chan-

a single platform for online and mobile

nels; online, mobile, in-branch, contact

banking, Q2ebanking was the key com-

center and indirect lending. Two years

ponent, becoming a critical partner of

ago, Novak and his team created a

Visions FCU,” says Novak, who is now

multi-channel solution for consumer

partnering again with Q2ebanking to

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Thomas Novak As the head of Digital at Visions FCU, Thomas P. Novak is the leader of the digital strategy and digital transformation. He is responsible for many SaaS based member facing technology platforms and led the charge on their digital banking conversion (online and mobile) at Visions FCU. He believes in partnering with members to become their financial advocate while providing relevant and convenient digital solutions to empower their journey to becoming financially independent. Working for the past 14 years with banks and Visions FCU in various roles, he has a unique perspective on how to approach business challenges with a global mindset.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

185


What does it mean to innovate in banking? It’s simple. Listen to customers’ needs and meet their expectations. SWBC can help your financial institution by providing an integrated payment processing platform to power debt repayment, account origination, and fee collection transactions. We’re making payment processing powerful, safe, and simple for you and your customers.

Include SWBC Payments on your innovation journey today. VISIT SWBC PAYMENTS


create innovative solutions for bill pay

overall digital systems to support

and money movement. In addition to

ongoing business needs. For instance,

Q2ebanking, Visions has also entered

through the implementation of more

into a new partnership with SWBC to

sophisticated technology, such as

streamline the company’s payments

machine learning, he explains that

infrastructure creating a safe, secure

Visions FCU currently utilizes a digital

and consistent platform for its mem-

marketing tool powered by machine

bers. Supporting the member in a way

learning for personalized marketing

that is optimal to their lifestyle is of

within digital banking, noting that “we

paramount importance to Visions FCU.

have datasets that we are working on

In addition to payments, Novak is

with our fintech partner, Micronotes, to

focusing on bolstering Visions FCU’s

determine the probability of someone benefitting from a certain product or piece of educational content. If there

“Delivering a top tier member experience across every channel has become an increasing trend across the entire banking industry and for Visions, it’s our communities, members and employees that are really the driving force behind digital transformation journey” — Thomas Novak AVP of Digital Banking, Visions Federal Credit Union

is a high propensity, then we communicate with the member within digital banking through a conversational note to see if they wish to move forward.” He highlights that, every time a campaign is run, the result is more targeted and provides stronger insights. Most recently, a certificate campaign helped to yield over US$4.3mn in deposits. With regards to other technologies, Novak highlights work in the Business Performance Department exploring robotic process automation (RPA): “Business Performance is in the early stages of utilizing RPA within our card servicing department to reduce the w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

187


VISIONS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

Are they leaving you behind?

Or will you be a part of their financial journey? To become the companion your account holders need throughout their lifelong financial journeys, your FI needs a partner who can help you provide better experiences and more relevant services. Be a part of the journey. Learn how. Visit us at q2ebanking.com/journey


189 repetitive, low value tasks that some

front-end for Union users, but transform

employees endure in order to facilitate

the manual processes in the back office

an increase in the amount of high value

following the submission of a successful

work produced,” he says. “RPA isn’t

application to be more efficient overall.”

being used to replace employees, it’s

Naturally, with any implementation

to complement and enhance what they

of new technologies comes a greater

are currently doing so that their focus

focus on cybersecurity. For Novak,

can be transferred to our members

Visions FCU’s cybersecurity maturity

and high value projects.” In addition, he

is one of its key strengths. “Whenever

ultimately hopes to utilize automation

we look to develop internally, we do

for the entire mortgage process: “Our

so through a secure development

SVP/CMEO and VP/CLO in conjunction

lifecycle,” he explains. To combat

with the Digital Dept. want to transform

cyber-crime, Visions FCU’s efforts

the entire process, making it end-to-

include education on how the busi-

end. We not only want to simplify the

ness interacts with them, educating w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


VISIONS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

its employees on phishing, providing sophisticated multi-factor authentication for digital banking access, as well as notifications to alert members of login attempts to digital banking. In recent months, Visions FCU has also created a separate risk department that leverages knowledge and experience from various areas to create improved transparency for employees and members regarding fraud mitigation. In addition to this, Novak is currently researching with multiple 190

business units, innovative solutions to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) for fraud mitigation and detection, noting

“We don’t just want to be the best credit union; we want to be the best financial services provider and advocate to those we serve” — Thomas Novak AVP of Digital Banking, Visions Federal Credit Union DECEMBER 2019

that “instead of casting a wide net and carrying out a manual process, we want to utilize AI to have more precision and accuracy for catching potential fraud”. Looking to the future, Visions intends on utilizing an AI chatbot solution and natural language processing in member-facing technology that can learn various dialects and slang terms, providing an extra convenience layer for members for a 24/7 service offering. In addition to this, Novak wants to build a financial ‘health score’ for the


191

company’s members, stating that

to solve real business problems, as well

“we believe a person’s financial health

as its financial strength that helps it

is integral to other parts of their life”.

propel its initiatives and innovative tech-

With this in mind, Novak discusses

nology. “We’re always looking for more

the creation of a platform that helps

ways to achieve better results for our

members better understand how their

members, communities and employees.

funds are being utilized, “underpinning

We don’t just want to be the best credit

this would be AI, data analytics and an

union; we want to be the best financial

elegant UI and UX”.

services provider and advocate to

Reflecting on the business, Novak

those we serve.”

believes that Visions FCU’s biggest strengths are its commitment to people and openness to leveraging technology w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


192

Supplier satisfaction through digital disruption WRITTEN BY

MATT HIGH PRODUCED BY

ANDREW STUBBINGS

DECEMBER 2019


193

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


C2FO

C2FO is using digitally disruptive technology to achieve supplier satisfaction, as Iain Rolfe, Managing Director Australia, and New Zealand, explains

W

ith any true disruption, the most impactful are those that are the simplest,” says Iain Rolfe, Managing Director, Australia,

and New Zealand at C2FO. Rolfe is referencing the considerable success of C2FO, an innovative business that turns receivables into cash flow through an 194

online platform that offers customers the opportunity to take total control of their capital, improve cash flow on demand and earn no-risk returns. “In the most basic terms, we match accounts receivable to accounts payable, presenting to market a win-win proposition for businesses that have money owed to them, and those who invest in their supply chain,” says Rolfe. To facilitate this, C2FO operates a cloud-based marketplace where suppliers can name a discount rate on selected invoices in exchange for their early payment. As with many businesses, C2FO was born out of necessity by founder and present-day CEO Sandy Kemper nearly 10 years ago in response to a financial system he viewed as broken. The issue encountered by Kemper was that “intermediaries such as banks had, over time, assumed a position DECEMBER 2019


195

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


C2FO

between a buyer and supplier, which had slowed down the entire process. That’s really the reason that what we offer is considered disruptive. It shouldn’t be, but we’re working in a financial system that is fundamentally broken. We’ve fixed that problem and changed the way the system works. It should never be hard for a supplier to be paid early if needed­– if we started again with no system, there’s no way we would design a similar one.” Under Kemper, C2FO has expe196

rienced considerable success. According to Rolfe, the business is now in “a phase of very rapid and significant international growth”, including in Australia. Expansion into Australia began in the summer of 2018, when C2FO began building a physical presence in a market where it already served several large corporates. Rolfe is currently focused on accelerating this growth and “doubling down on the market”. This is being aided by AU$200mn funding from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, announced in August this year. The investment was primarily designed to accelerate the DECEMBER 2019

“The simple fact that 92% of those that engage with our platform are getting less than their next best alternative is phenomenal” — Iain Rolfe Managing Director Australia & New Zealand, C2FO


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘C2FO ON THEIR AUSTRALIAN VENTURE’ 197 development of new markets for C2FO so that it could better provide small and medium enterprises, as well as multinational corporations, with access to working capital. It also saw Nahoko Hoshino of SoftBank Investment Advisers join C2FO’s board of directors. “SoftBank only invests in organisations that have good or unique prospects,” elaborates Rolfe. “The investment has given us the ability to do new things with the extra resources required to grow. For me, that means continued international expansion, bringing the model to new w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


C2FO

“There’s no downside to what we do – no one loses” — Iain Rolfe Managing Director Australia & New Zealand, C2FO 198

markets—particularly focusing on Asia,

C2FO generates income through

where I am based—and investing for

invoice discounts provided by suppliers.

the long-term.”

Viewed on financial terms returns are

A mark of this focus on expansion

significantly greater than other invest-

is the company’s recent acquisition of

ment alternatives, particularly in the

Priority Vendor, its largest competitor in

current low interest rate environment.

India, which Rolfe says positions C2FO

However, the most impactful return is

as the largest platform in that market.

the ability to help suppliers with their

C2FO’s platform enables compa-

working capital needs. Ultimately this

nies—vendors and enterprises—to take

leads to closer and more collaborative

greater control of their money. For the

relationships over a longer timeframe.

former, it provides improved cash flow

“One real issue we look to contend

on-demand provided directly from their

with is that suppliers often don’t feel

own customers. For the latter, engaging

they can open conversations about

DECEMBER 2019


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘HOW DID ALBERTSONS COMPANIES ACHIEVE ROI 3 MONTHS?’ 199

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Iain Rolfe Iain is Country Managing Director, Australia, and New Zealand at C2FO. He has a 20-year proven track record of achieving aggressive sales targets, improving organisational performance, and reaching business goals, as well as deep expertise with the strategic impact of technology disruption, the sales process, incubating new organisational functions, constructing complex customer deals, and managing strategic change. At C2FO, he is tasked with leading the expansion of the business into Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


receiving early payment—they are concerned as to how their customers would view such a request,” says Rolfe. “But they do it because they need that money. Without our model the only real options that exist, particularly for smaller vendors, are in the form of loans from a bank, credit cards, or borrowing from friends or family. In contrast, when they engage with us, they can organise the payment in an ‘arms-length’ way and at a price that works for them.” At the other end of the supply chain, 200

C2FO helps large enterprises achieve the best available return on their cash in a completely risk-free manner: once a supplier has been paid, that liability has been extinguished. “When you add these two factors together, it’s easy to understand why we’ve had approximately AU$250bn of early payment requests in the time we’ve existed, with nearly AU$20bn of total invoices approved,” comments Rolfe. “The scale and demand are high, but it works. It’s a win-win for all those involved.” Indeed, such is the success of C2FO’s platform to date that Rolfe admits to finding the results—including DECEMBER 2019


2009

Year founded

HQ

Kansas City United States

300+ Number of employees

matching close to 92% of all requests for early payments—hard to believe. “It’s amazing,” he states. “Forget the technology involved, or the algorithms we use, the simple fact that 92% of those suppliers that engage with our platform access capital at a cost that is less than their next best alternative is phenomenal. It means we are providing truly great value to nearly all of the participants in our market.” Understandably, to offer such a service to users requires a complex and innovative technology platform capable w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

201


C2FO

of managing vast amounts of data. C2FO runs its platform using all of the world’s major cloud services, and utilises several proprietary algorithms that operate to match offers to acceptances, all of which have been refined during the last 10 years of operation. “You can’t operate what we do without those algorithms being at such a maturity—it brings capability that really is at the next level of sophistication,” states Rolfe. He also points to a focus on ensur202

ing the highest levels of customer

Guests and partners joined C2FO for a ceremony to formally announce the investment from Softbank. Funds from this round will be used across the globe to drive organic growth

experience, describing the model and user-interface as “careful, elegant and simple”. Delivering such a seamless solution is the result of high volumes of A/B testing, rigorous auditing and reporting, and dedication to the most stringent information protection. The latter, in particular, allows the business to be trusted by the world’s largest organisations, including 75 of the Fortune 500 and 11 of the Fortune 60 companies. “One of our most important metrics is supplier satisfaction,” he explains. “We measure it every day, as we have to be at the top of the tree. We actively DECEMBER 2019

“There’s an inherently strong culture in providing a service which is valuable across the working capital chain” — Iain Rolfe Managing Director Australia & New Zealand, C2FO


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘BUSINESSES AROUND THE WORLD LOVE C2FO’ 203 prioritise the supplier and buyer expe-

by an ethical standpoint of supplier

rience, with our philosophy being that

satisfaction.

we want to be a good corporate citizen.

“It is quite astounding to be a part

The ability to do the right thing and to

of that,” affirms Rolfe. “In Australia we

really help is one of the key factors that

intend to scale in a way that offers a

drew me to C2FO initially— there’s an

win-win for buyers and suppliers. I can’t

inherently strong culture in providing

see a scenario where we’re not suc-

a service which is valuable across the

cessful—there’s no downside to what

working capital chain.”

we do—no one loses.”

At any one time, the volume of payments that are due globally is upwards of the $42trn mark. C2FO has taken a sizeable step towards not only reducing that figure, but doing it in a manner that is driven w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


204

novative solutions to real-world problems WRITTEN BY

RACHAEL DAVIS PRODUCED BY

STUART IRVING

DECEMBER 2019


205

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


INLOOP

Payment solution provider InLoop’s central concept is that “technology lets you solve problems that were previously impossible to solve,” as CTO, Zubin Appoo, explains

M

aking the complex simple for businesses, clients, schools, parents, healthcare provid-

ers and patients, InLoop provides simple, effective

and secure payment solutions across three brands: Flexischools, LanternPay and Nuonic. Zubin Appoo joined InLoop in 2018, following a 206

15-year tenure as Innovation Manager at WiseTech Global. With an enthusiasm for the power of education and the potential for technology to deliver better educational outcomes, he was particularly interested in the work that Flexischools does to revolutionise and simplify payment strategies for educational peripherals, such as school lunches, events and uniforms. Currently focusing primarily on Flexischools as his area of expertise, Appoo explains that InLoop uses technology to “deliver solutions to the education and healthcare industries that others have not been able to do”. In cutting through the bureaucracy and identifying a problem that needs to be genuinely solved, InLoop’s platforms achieve the vital objective of helping real people with real, everyday issues. For example, says Appoo, DECEMBER 2019


207

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


INLOOP

“With more focus on AI, machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing, more problems that were previously thought of as impossible can now be solved” 208

— Zubin Appoo CTO, InLoop

DECEMBER 2019

Flexischools works to address the fact that parents are busy, and thus do not always have the time to prepare nutritious lunches for their children or purchase bespoke school uniforms when required. “In this sense,” he adds, “it was really born out of making busy parents’ lives easier, and busy kids’ lives easier to manage.” Flexischools allows parents to store funds, order and purchase from a broad range of suppliers across each specific school campus, provisioning services such as school


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘LANTERNPAY FIXES THE PAIN IN TAC PAYMENTS’ 209 lunches, uniforms, events and ticketing,

and healthy eating content), and much

fundraising and stationery amongst

more. Using the trust already in the

other things. For the last decade, the

brand, Flexischools will be able to

platform has grown to support more

integrate these products and provide

than a million registered users across

parents with access to a much wider,

Australia and is now turning its atten-

and carefully chosen, selection of valu-

tion to enrolling a broader range of

able products and content relevant to

off-campus services to its base.

them via their existing accounts.

Currently in pilot, but rolling out from

With regards to LanternPay, Appoo

the beginning of 2020, Flexischools

explains that it is a solution built around

will allow parents to purchase part-

addressing problems around patients

nered maths and literacy products,

having easy access to the government

e-learning such as coding lessons,

healthcare funding that they are enti-

school holiday programmes, wellbeing

tled to. In Australia, many patients find

programmes (such as anti-bullying

it difficult to use their state-provided w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Global Research Survey Results: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Enhance the Customer Experience A

s digital technologies dramatically reshape in industry after industry, most organizations are pursuing large-scale changes to capture the benefits of these trends or keep up with competitors. New Relic, in partnership with Vanson Bourne, led a survey of 750 global senior IT leaders at enterprises with 500 to 5,000 employees in the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, and the United States. The study found that enterprises are making progress despite obstacles. IT leaders within these companies are finding that their digital transformations lead to significant challenges, such as increased pressure to prove the business value of said transformations. Interestingly, almost 50% of the global respondents admit that problems in their software are more likely to be discovered by their customers than by their own teams.

Drivers of digital transformation From banks to retailers, donut shops to automotive manufacturers, even traditional business-to-business industries such as suppliers of construction materials are transforming the buyer’s journey along a digital path. Our survey revealed that, overall, business leadership and the C-suite understand and support digital transformations (47%). Satisfaction levels are increasingly high, with 90.7% of respondents saying that the results of their transformations either met or exceeded their expectations. These findings are promising and show that executives are willing to embrace new technology; in fact, on the journey to digital transformation, more than half believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)

will make their roles easier. While the general sentiment on AI and ML is still up for debate across various industries, nearly 88% of our respondents agree that artificial intelligence and machine learning are essential to how they run their digital systems. Additionally, according to nearly 75% of the business leaders surveyed, migration to the public cloud is at the core of any digital transformation. Almost half of the respondents (46%) agree that cloud migration provides necessary benefits, but 54% believe that cloud computing does not offer the efficient resource usage it promises. So, many are harnessing the power of the cloud and AI to fuel digital transformations despite implementation obstacles, but they still recognize that those challenges must be addressed.

Ease the burden of digital transformation and customer experience Global organizations are indeed making significant digital leaps, but undertaking a full-scale digital transformation isn’t easy—especially for long-established companies not traditionally associated with software innovation. Our survey found that such organizations all face similar challenges.

Disjointed teams During transformation, not all parts of the organization move at the same speed. When teams and employees are stuck between using legacy systems and new technology, collective progress is held back and interoperability issues arise. Overall, 37% of global respondents identified disjointed teams as one of their top challenges.


A shortage of skilled employees According to 35% of respondents, one of the biggest challenges they face is finding the right employees with the right skills to drive their digital transformations. Additionally, if employees feel that a new technology makes their work harder, not easier, they resist its implementation. Training workers to understand how a new technology will ease their workload is of utmost importance for leaders who want to reduce the stress of their teams.

Restricted budgets 47% of technology leaders in our survey said their No. 1 obstacle is restricted IT budgets, followedby resistance to shut down or sideline legacy systems. More than a third report that they do not receive adequate support from non-tech leadership. Lead the next phase of digital transformation.

What business outcomes do we want to achieve for our customers? What skills do we need to keep up with a transformation, and with our competitors? While the challenges that attend a digital transformation vary, the survey indicates that teams who observe and act on insights from data collected throughout their systems will have a far better chance to truly scale and realize the benefits of modern technological advances. It’s inevitable that organizations need to adapt to changes in technology. But assessing why those changes are necessary, keeping the customer in mind, and preparing them selves for challenges along the way is the path to building the foundation they need for a successful digital transformation.

Learn more about the findings in the full press release: Global Survey Reveals Key Challenges and Technologies Expected to Drive the Next Phase of Digital Transformation.


INLOOP

“We’re not trying to be a bank, or to simply solve banking-related problems, we’re working to eradicate real issues and challenges in education and health, the biggest social sectors in the world” 212

— Zubin Appoo CTO, InLoop

funding to pay for private services

“We’re not trying to be a bank, or to

such as physiotherapy, pharmacy or

simply solve banking-related problems,

psychiatry, due to existing payment

we’re working to eradicate real issues

systems that can often see funds

and challenges in education and health,

take several months to reach the ser-

the biggest social sectors in the world.”

vice provider. Through LanternPay,

Naturally, the nature of the issues

this process is streamlined. Service

that InLoop targets presents several

providers will receive the payment

challenges to the business. To be

within 24 hours, making them far

successful, Appoo maintains, a focus

more likely to accept the funding

on assembling the right team and

as a form of payment.

developing an appropriate manage-

“Our primary goal is to always help

ment strategy, whilst effectively

people manage their lives and deal

implementing the right technologies,

with real-world problems,” Appoo says.

are essential. To this end, he describes

DECEMBER 2019


E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Zubin Appoo Zubin is Chief Technolog y Off ice at InLoop, where he has responsibilit y for delivering technical leadership across the Flexischools, LanternPay and Nuonic businesses. Zubin leads agile teams that are building innovative solutions to solve complex problems in the education and healthcare spaces. He prides himself on being ‘hands-on’ — and a leader by example, rather than a manager. he has over 20 years’ experience in the technology sector across a range of businesses — banking, supply chain and logistics, and now education and health. Whilst a technologist at heart, a key passion of his is also to build teams that love doing what they do. He does this by a constant focus on removing obstacles, focusing on their strengths and building an immense amount of trust between team members. Zubin is married to Rakhshandeh, has three kids — Zayden, Rylan and Aleera and lives in Sydney, Australia.

w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

213


INLOOP

2005

Year founded

HQ

Manly, Sydney Australia

110

214

Number of employees himself as a “hands-on CTO” and encourages close collaboration at all levels within his team. Hierarchies are less important than a good team structure, he believes, and an ethos of mutual respect, trust and leading by example are integral to his, and the company’s success. “The team at InLoop challenges ideas and brings personal experiences to the table – everyone is expected to bring ideas to the business, and those ideas are always listened to and explored,” he affirms. “Whatever the specific areas of focus, I always DECEMBER 2019


encourage our team members to think ‘what are the core problems we are trying to solve, and how can we solve them in the most streamlined, efficient, usable way?’.” Harnessing technologies and working with great tech partners has been an essential factor in growing InLoop’s innovative product portfolio. “Technology allows us to solve issues that people previously haven’t been able to solve or had taken a lot of time to solve, in a much more streamlined, efficient, accurate and high-quality way,” Appoo explains. “With a greater focus on AI, machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing, more problems that were previously thought of as impossible can now be solved.” InLoop uses several partners to achieve this goal, including cloudhosting by AWS to manage its servers. Using cloud-hosting negates the need for high-cost, high-maintenance physical servers and allows the team to put more time into the customer experience. The business is also heavily invested in Microsoft technologies. New Relic is a cloud monitoring and w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

215


INLOOP

analytics tool, which InLoop uses to monitor its systems and ensure that up-time is maintained, performance and order rates are high, and any anomalies are identified. An integral factor in delivering any InLoop service is cybersecurity. Both the health and education sectors are open to vulnerability and are dealing with vulnerable people, as Appoo explains: “There is an immense amount of focus on privacy regulation and ensuring data is not leaked, including 216

financial information.” In order to achieve that, InLoop partners with Braintree, a PayPal company, which focuses on providing secure

“Whatever the specific areas of focus, I always encourage our team members to think ‘what are the core problems we are trying to solve, and how can we solve them in the most streamlined, efficient, usable way?’” — Zubin Appoo CTO, InLoop

DECEMBER 2019

payment solutions. For example, there is no need to store any credit card information, PayPal accounts, or other financial details within the Flexischools product, as this data is managed by the Braintree payment gateway. This is a seamless service, but ensures that financial information is entrusted with a third party whose expertise is in payment security. Other personal information stored by InLoop is kept secure in databases hosted inside


217

AWS, with strong security protocols

young division that, according to

and reviews undertaken by a dedicated

Appoo, will focus on gaining further

security team.

traction in the market and encourag-

Looking ahead, Appoo continues

ing greater participation from new

to focus on driving InLoop’s service

providers and schemes. In continuing

portfolio forwards. In modernising the

to use technology to deliver solu-

Flexischools programme, for exam-

tions that change lives for the better,

ple, the team is looking to deliver an

InLoop will remain at the forefront of

improved user experience and to be

the provision of innovative answers to

responsive to the growing market

real-world problems.

by rapidly introducing new features. In contrast, LanternPay a relatively w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Strength In Numbers. Stand Safe With Us.

Your Possibilities Delivered.TM In the past year, PSCU has saved credit unions more than $200 million in fraud losses, continuing our 40-year reputation as an industry leader in risk management. The latest technology, custom fraud mitigation rules, cross-network analytics, and proactive monitoring keep us present at every point of attack. That way, you don’t have to be.

Payments ▪ Risk Management ▪ Digital Banking ▪ Analytics ▪ Loyalty Mobile ▪ 24/7/365 Contact Center ▪ Strategic Consulting

pscu.com 844.367.7728

Profile for Gigabit

FinTech Magazine – December 2019  

FinTech Magazine – December 2019