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Operating with an Agile approach and leveraging technology www.fintechmagazine.com

FEBRUARY 2020

Faster, smarter and more profitable decision making

Markus Kilb on leading Twint and shaping the future of the payments world

Fi na Ap n p$ ¢e

PAYMENTS, JUST BETTER


Driving insurers

digital future into a

At Cognizant, we’ve invested in the end-to-end capabilities needed to help insurance organizations not just do digital, but be digital. We partner with our clients to unlock new value and through the power of digital technologies and new ways of working, we help them evolve into more competitive, progressive versions of themselves. Learn more at Cognizant.com

Copyright Š 2019 Cognizant


FOREWORD

W

elcome to the February edition

across the global financial services

of FinTech magazine.

industry. We hear more from FICO,

“Twint is the most complete and

as well as companies such as Discovery

compelling value proposition from

Limited, Resolution Insurance and

both a client and bank perspective that

more in this issue.

I have seen in the Western hemisphere,

We also bring you more feature

and I knew I had to be a part of it,” says

content from our travels to Las Vegas

Markus Kilb in this month’s cover fea-

and Money20/20 at the end of last

ture. Kilb is CEO at the Swiss mobile

year. This time it’s a fascinating

app payment solution, and is rightly

three-way debate between leaders at

proud of the impact the innovative

Chime, Grasshopper and Varo Money.

business has had in the sector.

Topics up for discussion include com-

Since its creation in 2017 Twint, with

petition to incumbents from challenger

Kilb at the helm, has gained more than

and neo banks, the importance of cus-

two million customers, which equates

tomer experience and why trust remains

to nearly one quarter of the Swiss

essential for all industry players — it’s

population currently ‘twinting’. Kilb

well worth a read.

gives more insight into the company’s growth, noting that “it is an absolute

If you wish to share your story, or

honour and a thrilling experience to

discuss key industry trends in more

shape the future of the payments world”.

detail, please get in touch at:

Another business at the forefront of

matthew.high@bizclikmedia.com

industry change is FICO, which develops innovative decisioning technology

Matt High

that is driving digital transformation w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

03


Make Every Customer Interaction Count Create innovative & delightful customer experiences with programmable communications. www.nexmo.com | sales@nexmo.com |


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CONTENTS

TWINT: PAYMENTS, JUST BETTER

10 BATTLE OVER BILLIONS

FEBRUARY 2020

24


2020: THE YEAR THAT COME OF AGE?

36

4.0

Building banking

48

Fi na Ap n p$ ¢e

60

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


CONTENTS

80 BRD

94 FICO

FEBRUARY 2020


112 Discovery Limited

138 Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

126

Resolution Insurance

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


10

TWINT: PAYMENTS, JUST BETTER

FEBRUARY 2020


11

WRITTEN BY

AMBER DONOVAN-STEVENS PRODUCED BY

JAMES PEPPER

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


TWINT

Markus Kilb, CEO of Twint, details how the twinting phenomenon is sweeping across Switzerland

S

ince its creation in 2017, Twint has unified Switzerland through its comprehensive digital cash solutions. Now with over 2

million customers, more than a quarter of the

12

Swiss population are twinting, and this number is only set to accelerate. Championing the success of Twint is CEO, Markus Kilb, who has held the role for a little over a year, citing its unique business model as his original draw to the company. “For me it is an absolute honour and a thrilling experience to lead Twint and shape the future of the payments world,” he says. “Twint is the most complete and compelling value proposition from both a client and bank perspective that I have seen in the Western hemisphere and I knew I had to be part of it.” Kilb has led the company to become not only an integral part of digital payments in Switzerland, but an exciting one, as it remains the fastest growing provider in the region,region with a nearly four-fold increase to transactions from the previous year. Kilb explains that the reason for Twint’s FEBRUARY 2020


13

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TWINT

“Twint’s software is agnostic of operating systems, allowing a full range of peer-topeer payments”

success is that the platform is comprehensive and “trendsetting.” Twint is unique as it integrates peer-to-peer platforms in a way not previously done. “Twint is modified to be used for both Android and iOS and while other platforms are not interoperable, Twint’s software is agnostic of operating systems, allowing a full range of peer-to-peer

— Markus Kilb, CEO, Twint

payments,” and this goes beyond the two platforms. The integration of over 100,000 merchants allows for users to pay for products, book

14

travel and cinema tickets as well

FEBRUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘TWINING WHEN PARKING AND NEVER PAYING TOO MUCH AGAIN’ 15 as store reward points, all through

professionally. “We have a con-

Twint. Loyalty schemes are a key

tinuous improvement program,” he

part of Swiss commercial culture

explains. “We constantly review our

and Twint has ensured that this is

processes to be sure that we are

as deeply integrated into the app

operating in the most efficient and

as it is culturally. Kilb notes that one

intelligent manner possible. We have

particularly popular loyalty card is

also been using a cloud solution from

the “Coop Supercard” from Coop

Swisscom for all of our IT.”

Group, one of the leading retail com-

In addition to e-commerce and

panies in Switzerland. “This deep

physical point of sale, Twint also har-

integration allows everything to work

nesses QR technology, whether it’s for

from one single platform,” explains

users to pay for one of Switzerland’s

Kilb, “and that’s just perfect.” Kilb’s

100,000 parking spaces, or to pay for

responsibility is to ensure that this

a selection of vegetables from a self

service is upscaled seamlessly and

pay stand outside a farm. This simple w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Over 40 payment methods worldwide and free choice of acquirer. More than 4'400 customers worldwide, and the best time-to-market make us one of Europe’s leading payment service providers. Advanced payment solutions and secure payment technologies - made in Switzerland. Are you looking for a payment solution that thinks ahead? Talk to us!

Datatrans Ltd. +41 44 256 81 91 info@datatrans.ch www.datatrans.ch


but effective solution eliminates the

“It is an absolute honour and a thrilling experience to lead Twint and shape the future of the payments world”

need for cash or offline payment terminals, creating real benefits for a customer by solving day-to-day issues. Another exciting advancement is that Twint is beginning to print its QR codes on other companies’ product packaging. “If a customer is coming to the end of a product that they have ordered before, all they

— Markus Kilb, CEO, Twint

need to do is scan the QR code on the wrapping with Twint and they are immediately linked into the ordering system of this company. Customers

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17


TWINT

18

FEBRUARY 2020


2017

Year founded

HQ

ZĂźrich Switzerland

70

Number of employees

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

19


Create added value with data Data becomes an important raw material for a company – and the skilful handling of it is a decisive competitive factor.

How data-driven is your business? Do the check and find out

www.swisscom.ch/datadriven


will then receive a final confirmation request before processing the pay-

“We want to position Twint as the preferred means of payment for all people in Switzerland”

ment and shipment of the product.” Twint’s exponential growth is also accredited to its key shareholders and partners, which besides SIX Group and Worldline, largely comprise Swiss banks: Postfinance, UBS, Zürcher Kantonalbank, Credit Suisse, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise and Raiffeisen.

— Markus Kilb, CEO, Twint

“Twint works with direct access to bank accounts, which is pretty unique for Switzerland,” Kilb adds. In addition to this, there is also an additional

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Markus Kilb Markus Kilb is the CEO of Twint AG, and has held the role since November 2018. Kilb’s career started with BMW, as project manager of the Financial Services Division from 1992 to 1996. He worked with Advance Bank from 1996 until 2000, where he was Product Manager for all cards and accounts products. In 2000, he moved to Citibank in order to oversee the credit card business. He has held a number of various executive positions, most notably in 2009, when he became General Manager of Unicredit’s product factory for loans and cards business in Germany.

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21


TWINT

T W I N T A P P B A N KS

• APPKB (Appenzeller Kantonalbank) • BCV(Banque Cantonale Vaudeoise) • BCGE (Banque Cantonale de Genève) • CS (Credit Suisse) 22

• NAB (Neue Aargauer Bank) • OKB (Obwaldner Kantonalbank) • Postfinance • Raiffeisen • SGKB (St. Galler Kantonalbank) • UBS • BCVS/WKB (Banque Cantonale du Valais)

nine, non-shareholder banks and federation banks that work with Twint. “All of these banks are united by the belief in creating a strong customer value for its customers,” says Kilb, and these partnerships allow for Twint to maintain bank-grade security, as they retain a majority of sensitive data,

• ZGKB (Zuger Kantonalbank)

together forming the cybersecurity

• ZKB (Zuercher Kantonalbank)

for each of the shareholder banks,

hub in Switzerland. Twint has an app available in both an iOS and Android operating system, in order to provide

FEBRUARY 2020


an acquirer for some of the largest merchants in Switzerland such as Coop Group, Datatrans is a proven and essential partner in processing our transactions.” As the payment app continues to accelerate growth, Kilb shares that it is Twint’s clear aim to reach 4 million customers by the end of 2021. Twint has recently brought on new major merchants such as Swiss Rail SBB, that will help the payment provider continue its high standard of professionalism, as well as reaching its midterm goal of conducting 500 million transactions each year. “We want to position Twint as the preferred means of paythe most tailored experience for each

ment for all people in Switzerland. At

bank’s customers. To assist with

the same time we want to expand

creating this bespoke service, Twint

on international cooperation via the

is partnered with Swisscom, which

EMPSA (European Mobile Payment

Kilb describes as “the centrepiece

Association), enabling our customers

of Twint’s value chain” as it not only

to start twinting not only in Switzerland

customises Twint’s services to suit

but across Europe and beyond.”

issuer banks, but is an outsourcing partner for its data centre. Kilb goes on: “Next to Swisscom, the company Datatrans AG is one of the major PSPs in Switzerland and is a key partner for us at Twint. As Twint also operates as w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

23


BANKING

24

BATTLE OVER BILLIONS What’s in store for the next generation of digital banks? One keynote speech at Money20/20 provided some fascinating answers WRITTEN BY

MATT HIGH

JANUARY 2020


25

w w w.f in tech ma ga zi n e . c o m


BANKING

26

N

eobanks, those digital-only,

For neobanks, the market is filled

innovative banks and financial

with both opportunity and competi-

services companies with no

tion. The latter has seen many busi-

physical branches, legacy technolo-

nesses focus on greater innovation

gies or processes, are dominating the

or customer-driven features such

fintech market like never before. The

as better or no overdraft rates,

second half of the last decade in par-

minimal or no fees and other sign-up

ticular saw exponential growth, with

incentives, as they compete for the

an estimated 39 million users world-

market. At the sharp end, only last

wide embracing the customer-focused,

year Varo Money made tentative

fully digital, ‘freemium’ business

steps towards becoming the first all-

models they offer.

mobile bank in the history of the US,

JANUARY 2020


innovators, competition from neo and challenger banks will only increase. This subject was the overarching theme of one of Money20/20 USA’s leading keynote debates. The event, which took place in Las Vegas at the end of October last year, was dominated by several key topics, including the ongoing focus on customer experience and personalisation, the use of financial technology and innovations for good or social benefit, and the future of digital banking from a broader perspective. These ideas were neatly bundled into an hour-long debate centred on neo and challenger banks and their disruptive impact on the market. Aptly named being granted preliminary approval

‘Battle over Billions’, the unique

for a National Bank Charter from

keynote panel discussion saw Chris

the Officer of the Comptroller of the

Britt, founder and CEO of Chime,

Currency. In the UK and Europe, the

Judith Erwin, CEO of Grasshopper

likes of Monzo and Starling already

and Colin Walsh, CEO and co-

have such licences. There is, it would

founder of Varo, debate the need for

appear, much for incumbent banks

an alternative to traditional banks,

and financial organisations to be

the importance of customer service

concerned about. While several are

and whether acquiring a banking

making inroads into the development

licence can be a gamechanger.

of their own digital hubs or acquir-

On the shift towards neobanks,

ing and entering partnerships with

challenger banks and fintechs by w w w.f in tech ma ga zi n e . c o m

27


BANKING

consumers, as well as the industry-

focusing on financial health, how to

wide focus on building user expe-

make money work harder, offering a

rience and personalisation into

no-fee overdraft and ensuring an effec-

financial services, Walsh told the

tive balance between innovative tech-

audience that “there are just too

nology and human interaction.

many consumers in this country that

28

Elaborating on the same theme,

are underserved and overcharged

Erwin said that banks are “trapped

by the existing banks”, pointing to

within their own legacy systems”, mak-

a society that has experienced two

ing it difficult for them to work in the

decades of poor income growth but

same way as the newer generation of

a steady increase in outgoings. “And

financial services companies. Britt too

if you don’t have a lot of financial

recognised innovation as a differen-

assets, it’s very difficult for banks,

tiating factor, citing the relative ease

with their legacy technologies,

with which younger, digitally-savvy

branch infrastructure and cash han-

entrepreneurs can build a business

dling to serve these kinds of customers well,” he said. “The time is right for new disruptive digital models that have substantially lower cost structures to enter the market and serve these customers — the fact that our businesses are getting so much traction shows the demand exists.” Varo, as Walsh told the Money20/20 audience, was built around the premise of “banking that’s not a system of haves and have nots, but a place where everyone can succeed”. The brand innovates in the areas that it believes are most important to its customers, JANUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘MONEY DIARIES BY VARO: BELLA INTRO’ 29

from the ground up in today’s market and the advantage granted by their wealth of knowledge within the burgeoning sector. “It’s a really exciting time, particularly for consumers,” he told the audience. “There are great things happening right across fintech now, and so many good options emerging from companies that are way more consumer focused, digitally

“The time is right for new disruptive digital models that have substantially lower cost structures to enter the market and serve these customers” ­— Colin Walsh CEO and co-founder of Varo

and mobile driven, which is really optimising that customer experience aspect that’s so important in banking and financial services.” w w w.f in tech ma ga zi n e . c o m


BANKING

“The notion that you have to be a bank to have a great suite of banking services is false” ­— Chris Britt founder and CEO of Chime

30

JANUARY 2020


Unlike Varo, which was granted its preliminary approval for a National Bank Charter last autumn and is well on its way to becoming a true bank, Chime, like many of its digital banking peers, partners with FDIC-insured banks. The approach is a popular route for fintechs with no banking charter that typically sees the bank being responsible for the regulatory aspects of the business and the fintechs more free to innovate. Chime, according to Britt, “is the largest and fastest growing company in the challenger banking space, founded on the fundamental belief that basic banking services should be free and that customers shouldn’t have to pay institutions to hold their money.” Discussing the merits of these approaches to the market, the panellists were asked whether the ability to disrupt banking diminishes as the challenger evolves into a bank in the truer sense. Britt highlighted Chime’s several partnerships, stating that “the notion that you have to be a bank to have a great suite of banking services is false. We’ve been able to scale to many millions of accounts, w w w.f in tech ma ga zi n e . c o m

31


BANKING

all through partnerships making it a tried and tested model that works,

ter, received in May 2019. It is one

depending on your strategy. If, for

of few commercial banks focused

example, your intention is to heav-

on the innovation economy as its

ily lean into lending and you want to

primary market, delivering custom-

lower your cost of capital, then pur-

designed services for entrepre-

suing a bank charter makes sense.

neurial companies and their venture

We’re more like a consumer app or a

capital backers. This is an area

transaction-based business model,

that Erwin feels Grasshopper, with

which is certainly not the traditional

its digitally focused strategy and

banking approach.”

streamlined service models excels

Countering this perspective, 32

Grasshopper has a banking char-

when compared to traditional banks.

Walsh confirmed that Varo’s ambi-

“We decided to start banking from

tion has always been to be a bank.

scratch, building Grasshopper from

He explained that — considering the companies typical customers (‘the makers, creators and doers’) — receiving a banking charter will enable the company to offer a broader suite of products beyond savings and lending. “These are people that have complex financial lives,” he said, “and by being a full, national bank, we not only have the ability to innovate across that broader range of products and services but also to fund off our balance sheet from a lending perspective, or use the data we hold in a better way. The advantages are quite meaningful.” JANUARY 2020


“We decided to start banking from scratch, building Grasshopper from the ground up around a sustainable model that was all about being very close to our clients” ­— Judith Erwin CEO of Grasshopper

the ground up around a sustainable model that was all about being very close to our clients,” she told Money20/20. Partnerships and collaboration were consistent themes across the four days of Money20/20, with several keynotes and discussions being held around the concepts of banks’ collaboration with fintechs and other innovators in the space. On this topic, Erwin pointed to Grasshopper’s core capability as the ability to integrate those financial partnerships with other or larger institutions where necessary, saying “I’m going to build things that I’m really good at. Our ‘secret sauce’ is going to be around data and our clients’ data that we give back to them in multiple forms in useful ways. But do I need to create bill pay? Do I need to create mobile deposit capture? No, but I do want to have the latest and greatest available for our clients and, as soon as it’s not, we unplug them and plug someone else new.” In such a competitive landscape, small details can be the difference between success and failure. w w w.f in tech ma ga zi n e . c o m

33


BANKING

“There are great things happening right across fintech now, and so many good options emerging from companies that are way more consumer focused, digitally and mobile driven” 34

­— Chris Britt founder and CEO of Chime

JANUARY 2020

A recurring point when considering the growth of neo and challenger banks and their impact on the sector revolves around the question of trust. Erwin told the audience that one of her main reasons for starting Grasshopper was seeing larger banks lose the trust of consumers and entrepreneurs as a result of being sales or commercially led rather than product and customer led. “Trust is everything,” Britt noted. “Your brand is your promise to customers, and you have to deliver


against everything you tell them

Erwin predicted that market growth

and everything you stand for. We’re

will “be a great thing for consumers

lucky in that we have a member base

and entrepreneurs alike, and those

that genuinely loves our product

brands that do well will be those

and loves what we have set out to

that understand their client base

achieve, but it’s important to remem-

and execute well in terms of their

ber that companies like ours can’t

expectations.” Britt considered the

rely on the big pillars in the way that

migration of technology companies

banks used to to stay safe. We have

into the financial services sector,

to deliver every day.”

driven by the size of the market and

Walsh reiterated this, picking up

the opportunity to deploy their latest

on the unique challenges that digital-

innovations. However, rather than

only banks face in gaining and main-

proving a disruptive development,

taining customer trust. “As a digital

he predicted that such an evolution

bank, your customers can’t walk into

would ultimately help improve the

a physical location and look some-

overall standard of product delivery

body in the eye, so how you manage

across the financial services sector

difficult experiences like an outage

as banks respond

is crucial. It’s vital to respond quickly,

to the challenge. “It’s a massive

to respond empathetically and to work on building that trust currency over time; that’s super important when you’re operating in a digital context.”

market, but there’ll be substantial changes across the entire landscape,” said Walsh. “Looking out 10 years or more at those potential top players in the market, it’s really going to look very different.”

All agreed that this focus on trust and customer experience will continue to be the driver of neobank development in the future. w w w.f in tech ma ga zi n e . c o m

35


PAY M E N T S O L U T I O N S

2020: THE YEAR TH 36

COME OF AGE? This year, the fate of cryptocurrencies hangs in the balance.Thankfully, there are several indicators that this may also be the year that the industry finds its footing

FEBRUARY 2020

WRITTEN BY

HARRY MEN


HAT 37

NE AR

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PAY M E N T S O L U T I O N S

A

ll new technologies start out in life as immature, limited versions of

themselves that nevertheless brim

with possibilities. Inventions and new applica-

tions tied to a new technology are often less focused, less predictable, and more likely to disappear into the mists of history - like using those newfangled round stones with a hole in the middle as hats instead of putting them on the bottoms of wheelbarrows (one assumes) and, more recently, Betamax. As technologies 38

develop successful use cases and markets begin to develop, they reach maturity. Then, anywhere from a decade to a few centuries later, they’re about as prone to radical evolution as a sea sponge, or the pushbike. Plenty of technologies don’t make it to maturity. As investors get impatient and customers are distracted by the next big thing, the race to demonstrate a technology becomes increasingly frantic. Digital ledger technology - known as blockchain - first appeared as a verification list or record used to track cryptocurrency transactions. Invented in 2008 by a person (or group of people) going under the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto, blockchain technology was initially tied completely to the cryptocurrency Bitcoin FEBRUARY 2020


39

Top 10 Cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation 1. Bitcoin ($156.52bn) 2. Ethereum ($17.50bn) 3. Ripple's XRP ($9.80bn) 4. Bitcoin Cash ($5.76bn) 5. Bitcoin SV ($5.51bn) 6. Tether ($4.11bn) 7. Litecoin ($3.57bn) 8. EOS ($3.42bn) 9. Binance Coin ($2.62bn) 10. Monero ($1.12bn)

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PAY M E N T S O L U T I O N S

“ Cryptocurrencies are unusual in that the value of the underlying technology is often perceived in line with market capitalisation”

Perhaps not. Cryptocurrencies are the flagship (read: most mature) application for blockchain technologies. While there are more and more promising applications for digital ledger technology popping up all the time, from supply chain track and trace to buying, breeding and trading little cartoon cats for as much as $113,000 - but more on that in a minute - the success of cryptocurrencies is responsible for a large part of the confidence

40

Lorenzo Pellegrino Coin Telegraph

and has become closely linked with other blockchain-powered forms of digital currency as well. This symbiotic relationship is somewhat unusual. According to Lorenzo Pellegrino at CoinTelegraph, it’s rare to find a sector where “the value of the underlying technology is often perceived in line with market capitalisation.” That’s like if the scooter manufacturer Vespa went under and everyone started selling off their stock in Carnival Cruises because both use combustion engines. Crazy, right? FEBRUARY 2020

and investment in blockchain. Back at


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘ADOPT IT: TRANSFORMING LIVES AND CHANGING FUTURES’ 41

the outset of 2018, leading economist Nouriel Roubini wrote that “blockchain, which has existed for almost a decade, and still has only one application: cryptocurrencies. Blockchain’s boosters would argue that its early days resemble the early days of the internet, before it had commercial applications. But that comparison is simply false. Whereas the internet quickly gave rise to email, the World Wide Web, and millions of viable commercial ventures used by billions of people, cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin do not even w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


PAY M E N T S O L U T I O N S

fulfil their own stated purpose.” Two years on, has the good ship Crypto been righted? Well, 2019 was a mixed year for cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology that underpins them. As the industry emerged from the ‘crypto winter’ in the wake of 2017’s Bitcoin high point of almost $20,000, and the 2018 market meltdown, some authorities argued that, this year, cryptocurrencies failed to deliver on expectations. Vinny Lingham, 42

co-founder and CEO of Civic Inc said last month that “when the crypto community looks back at 2019, it will be remembered as the lost year. This is not unexpected because 2017 was such a milestone year. I like to say that the bigger the party, the bigger the hangover. We’re still dealing with the hangover.” According to co-founder of cryptocurrency tracking and tax software company Accointing, Alex Lindenmeyer, “2020 will be a put-upor-shut-up moment for cryptocurrency. Either coins start to prove their merit, or they will start to disappear.” It appears that 2020 is the year that the fate of cryptocurrencies hangs FEBRUARY 2020


43

in the balance. Thankfully, there are

HALVENING THE BITCOIN

several indicators that this may also

A lot of what’s going to happen to

be the year that the industry finds

cryptocurrencies this year is specula-

its footing. Cryptocurrencies are

tion, but one event that’s almost a

finding support and investment from

concrete certainty is slated to occur

big players in both the public and pri-

around May. The rate at which the

vate sectors, as well as finding new

Bitcoin blockchain awards crypto min-

use cases that allow it to tap into

ers with pieces of currency is about

new markets.

to be cut in half. This happens every

Here are the three cryptocurrency

time 210,000 blocks have been mined

trends that FinTech magazine thinks

from the blockchain - which equates to

will make or break the industry over

roughly every four years - until all the

the coming 12 months.

Bitcoins have been mined. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


PAY M E N T S O L U T I O N S

The process is an important part of stabilising the world’s first cryptocurrency, and making sure that Bitcoin is healthy is essential. In the same way that the fate of blockchain as a technology is manacled to cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrencies themselves are bound to their poster child. Bitcoin halvings are important events for crypto traders as they reduce the number of new bitcoins being generated by the network as we draw closer to the day when there are no new coins to add 44

into circulation. This limits the supply of new coins, so prices could rise if demand remains strong. Keeping Bitcoin stable in this fashion could be a key step in preventing any more crashes and volatility - a necessary goal if cryptocurrencies want to attract the kind of positive attention that will allow them to ramp up adoption.

LIBRA AND COMPANY One thing that’s expected to direct massive amounts of attention towards

“ 2020 will be a put-up-or-shutup moment for cryptocurrency. Either coins start to prove their merit, or they will start to disappear”

cryptocurrencies this year is Facebook’s launch of its own digital currency. Libra has a mission “to enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that FEBRUARY 2020

Alex Lindenmeyer Co-founder and CEO Accointing


empowers billions of people,” according to the project’s white paper. The currency has backing not only from Facebook, but from more than a dozen companies across the financial, e-commerce, tech and telecommunications industries. Libra is being billed as a ‘stablecoin’ which will have a value that is linked to several global currencies, including the US Dollar, the Euro and the Yen. Another way in which Libra plans to create stability is by running in a centralised fashion. Whereas Bitcoin allows anyone with a computer to run it as a node on the blockchain, Libra will initially only run on servers of the companies that are backing the currency: Ebay, Uber, Paypal, Facebook. The white paper said that Facebook has plans to decentralise Libra over the next five years, but for now the extra speed that centralising the process generates is a necessary step. Bringing a stable cryptocurrency to the two-and-a-bit billion Facebook users - particularly those in underbanked nations - may be a massive adoption driver for the technology. Depending on how well Libra’s first year goes, it could mark cryptocurrency’s entry into the true mainstream. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

45


PAY M E N T S O L U T I O N S

EXPENSIVE HATS, CATS AND CRYPTO LOOT Virtual goods - everything from powerful weapons to Hello Kitty robes for your wizard - are already a $50bn industry. However, a gamer that shells out money for an item doesn’t really own that item. If they delete the game, or have their account frozen, or any number of other issues, that asset is gone forever. For the last few years, companies like Forte and Animoca have been working to use blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to 46

turn these pixelated designs and files into permanent assets. Remember earlier when I mentioned the $100,000 cartoon cat? Well, we’re back to that. Launched in December 2017, the game CryptoKitties is,

“Libra has a mission to enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people” Libra Whitepaper

FEBRUARY 2020

according to TechCrunch, “essentially like a digital version of Pokemon cards but based on the Ethereum blockchain.” The game allows users to use Ethereum, one of the leading cryptocurrencies, to purchase a digital cat with certain genetic traits. By breeding that cat with other digital cats, you create new, even cuter (or usually weirder) looking cats and


47

then sell them to other players in

and blockchain encryption can play

exchange for more Ethereum. Or you

a major role in legitimising in game

just collect the cats because you

transactions. With the video gam-

think they’re cute and humans will

ing industry generating more than

pay money to collect anything.

$150bn in 2019, and an estimated

Anyway, CryptoKitties went viral

2.5 billion gamers around the world,

a few years ago and, while it’s really

if cryptocurrencies are going to find

just a proof of concept wrapped up

real world applications anywhere

in some super cute artwork, the point

this year, it’s going to be here.

was well made: cryptocurrencies w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


4.0 FINTECH

Building banking

48

Fintechs have taken advantage of digital transformation to drive progress in banking, according to Head of UK at Slack, Stuart Templeton

WRITTEN BY

FEBRUARY 2020

S TUART TEMPLE TON


49

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FINTECH

T

he success of the UK’s tech sector is well documented. It leads European tech investment, is the

third largest birthplace for unicorns, trailing only the US and China, and it nurtures world-class talent from home and abroad. However, one slice of this already impressive sector stands even taller than the rest. The UK’s fintech companies are world leading in every sense of the phrase — achieving the highest investment globally and taking 50

responsibility for kickstarting a revolution in the way that banking operates. This leadership position wasn’t necessarily always the case. The Bank of England, which was responsible for modern banking in the UK, was some 300 years late compared to banks in Italy, when it opened in the late 1600s. Despite this somewhat sluggish start, if we skip forward another 300 years, the UK had fought to establish itself as the highest net exporter of financial services, and cemented its position as one of the world’s primary financial hubs. We’re now entering a new age of banking. The fintechs are being handed the torch and are tasked with building upon the legacy of UK banking. With a 61% growth rate in fintech FEBRUARY 2020


51

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FINTECH

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘YOU'VE PROBABLY HEARD OF SLACK’ 52

employment, and the highest con-

will be millennials — the expectations

sumer adoption rate in the West, they

for how services like banking should

are off to a fantastic start. The roaring

function has changed dramatically.

success of UK fintech can be chalked

Coming of age in the digital era

up to three key factors that provide

and entering adulthood alongside the

valuable lessons for other businesses

dawn of the smartphone, this group

looking to replicate their growth.

has come to expect instant access to information and a slick digital

THE CUSTOMER-FIRST GENERATION

experience. While nobody of any age

As millennials become the largest

enjoyed filling out paper forms, tedi-

generation in terms of both the make-

ous queuing or trudging to a distant

up of the workforce and the weight

bank branch in the rain, digital natives

of their consumer value — by 2020

simply won’t abide by it. Likewise,

close to half of the global workforce

as Generation Z is now entering

FEBRUARY 2020


“The expectations for how services like banking should function have changed dramatically” — Stuart Templeton, Head of UK, Slack

53

adulthood, a failure to meet these

user growth and fundamental changes

new digital demands comes at the

in the way banking functions.

peril of legacy organisations.

Understanding the needs of this

Challenger banks such as Monzo

new generation, as well as the unheard

and Starling swiftly recognised and

wishes of the customers of traditional

responded to this shift. Taking an

banks that came before them, sounds

experience-first approach, these

simple. However, understanding

innovators built apps that cut the

those needs was only the first step.

busy work out of banking. Focusing

Responding to them required the

on simplifying the experience of eve-

ability to adapt and align rapidly.

ryday tasks — splitting a meal with

To meet a fundamental change in

friends, checking your balance or

customer expectations, fintechs

counting up the bills for the month,

required a fundamental change in

for example — led to skyrocketing

the way the workplace functions. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


FINTECH

WORKING WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS

THE IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE

Building an agile work environment

Identifying shifting customer needs

has been central to fintech’s ability to

ahead of the competition and putting

innovate. Monzo made agility central to

the right tech infrastructure in place to

its operation from the very beginning.

respond to them with agility are both

With over 1.3 million customers, the

core to building a successful organisa-

bank relies on channel-based commu-

tion. Underpinning everything, however,

nication, rather than email, to connect

is culture. Culture defines an organisa-

key teams and coordinate its response

tion’s approach to its employees and

to incidents such as outages.

how those employees work together;

Moving quickly can mean hitting bumps in the road, but by coordinating 54

it is critical to a company’s success or failure.

rapidly through channels to respond

In a world in which remote working

to any issues in real-time, Monzo has

and dispersed teams are becoming the

been able to scale at a phenomenal

norm, building an effective company

rate while still offering the world-class

culture is more crucial than ever. 91% of

customer experience it has built its

workers have said they are looking to

name upon.

feel closer to colleagues, while nearly

Monzo’s approach represents a better way of working together. By replacing email, which works poorly and limits each person’s view with channels, which are transparent and designed from the bottom-up to offer a rich permanent, searchable record of knowledge, organisations can coordinate and align more easily.

FEBRUARY 2020

Slack BrandGuidelines

Design elemen ts


“Building an agile work environment has been central to fintech’s ability to innovate” — Stuart Templeton, Head of UK, Slack

55

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FINTECH

56

75% want to feel more connected with

reduce the sense of distance even

remote colleagues. In the global market

further. Beyond teamwork, new tools

of finance and banking, the importance

can also build culture in other ways.

of enabling remote collaboration and

For example, enabling employees to

connectivity cannot be understated.

feedback to HR departments more

Connectivity can be driven by inclu-

easily. Bots can provide quick check-

sive and transparent communication,

ins with employees to gather feedback

giving those working away from the

on challenges they face, which can

office a full view of all updates, while

then be actioned by the team. For the

features such as video calling can

fast-growing fintech sector, which has

FEBRUARY 2020


“We’re now entering a new age of banking” — Stuart Templeton, Head of UK, Slack

57

to attract a huge pool of highly sought

established sectors can be innovated

after talent, the growth achieved so far

upon. If we can apply our learning from

would not have been possible without

them, the opportunities to evolve more

a culture-first approach to work.

legacy sectors for the next digital age

With a cocktail of deep customer

are endless.

understanding, a tech infrastructure that enables alignment and a foundational culture that champions transparency and autonomy, the UK fintech sector demonstrates that even the most w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


9 - 12 FEBRUARY 2020

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T O P 10

60

FEBRUARY 2020


Fi na Ap n¢ p$ e Few things showcase the growing power of fintech quite like consumer-facing apps. Here, in no particular order, we take a look at 10 of the most exciting from around the world WRITTEN BY

MARCUS LAWRENCE

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61


T O P 10

62

10

M-Pesa [ HQ N A IR OBI, K E N YA ]

Initially released in 2007 by Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom, M-Pesa enables anyone in its operational territories with a mobile phone to access financial services. With a presence in Africa, southeastern Europe and India, M-Pesa has made huge strides in the financial enablement of the unbanked as well as cutting financial crime rates in cash-based societies. Customers can use the service to send and receive money, deposit and withdraw money, and pay for goods and services. As of 2019, M-Pesa had 37 million active users, around 400,000 agents, and seven operational markets.

FEBRUARY 2020


09

Finch [ H Q: ME LB O U RNE , AU S T R A LIA ]

Seeking to ‘rebuild the future of finance’, Finch has grown to become the top personal finance app in Australia. Its built in Finchsights feature keeps track of and compartmentalises spending habits, whilst also offering the option to compare with friends. On the business side, merchants can leverage Finch to add personalisation to the customer experience, incorporating data analytics to drive transaction clarity, the ability to split payment between merchants, and the potential to “get paid faster than ever”. 63

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From Inspiration

to Innovation


65

08

Venmo [ H Q N E W YO RK, U S ]

Currently only available in the US, PayPal’s Venmo app offers a seamless option to send and request money from friends, along with being inserted as a payment option for payment in other mobile apps. Capable of linking a user with their friends through contacts books, Facebook accounts, phone numbers and email addresses, Venmo streamlines an otherwise cumbersome process. Splitting dinner bills, reminding a friend that they still owe money for a festival ticket, and restocking with PokÊ balls has never been easier.

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T O P 10

07

Alipay

[ HQ HANGZHOU, CHINA ]

Owned by Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese ecommerce and tech titan Alibaba, online and mobile payments platform Alipay has revolutionised transactions in Asia and beyond. Following expansions out of its native China to Japan, Australasia, Europe, Russia, and much of Asia, Alipay has been enabling Chinese tourism by ensuring they can access a clear and straightforward payment option that transcends language and cultural barriers. In 2019, Alipay partnered with Australian food and travel platform HarkHark to bring free mobile translation for Chinese tourists at 66

Australian restaurants, boosting both their experience and opening new revenue streams for restaurants involved in the initiative.

FEBRUARY 2020


67

06

Liv Bank [ H Q D U BA I, UA E ]

As the neobank arm of Emirates NBD, the UAE’s leading bank, Liv has rapidly gained momentum as the region’s challenger of choice. As well as offering the functionality and ease of use common to its European contemporaries, Liv’s app features an intelligent chatbot that can intuitively provide information and advice about a customer’s bank activity, the ability to send money via social media, and an array of promotions and exclusive offers for local events that seek to personalise the banking experience.

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05

69

Revolut [ H Q LON D O N , U K ]

Talk of the democratisation of money and improved accessibility for the unbanked have been key factors in the rise of cryptocurrencies, but the process of acquiring such currencies can appear convoluted and risky. Nervousness around such things will be greatly quelled by the ease of Revolut’s crypto exchange capabilities, enabling users to immediately and easily exchange state currencies into Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and XRP with real-time rates and the option to track individual cryptocurrency values via push notifications. As Revolut is a neobank, the feature naturally comes under a deeply user-friendly and intuitive UI.

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T O P 10

70

04

RobinHood [ H Q CAL IF O RNIA , U S ]

Trading on the stock market has always had a high barrier to entry; the endlessly convoluted charts and trackers referring to companies you might never have heard of by monikers that bear no relation to them is just one unfriendly component. Even for the brave souls who have read a manual on such things, the inherent risk coupled with such fine details has always been enough to dissuade this writer. Robinhood is seeking to change that. Having accrued 10 million customers in its native US, the app demystifies the trading process with an intuitive UI that caters to the uninitiated, lacks commission and FX fees, and can have you up and running with your first stocks for as little as ÂŁ1.

FEBRUARY 2020


03

N26 [ HQ BERLIN, GERMANY ]

Having accrued 3.5 million customers across 26 countries since its launch in 2013, German neobank N26 stands apart from its UK-based competitors with an extensive premium account offering. While many neobanks champion the ease of international spending through their accounts, N26’s Metal service offers an extensive range of benefits that frequent travelers would find genuinely useful. For €16.90/ month, N26 Metal offers unlimited free withdrawals from ATMs worldwide, priority customer support, cover for cancellations, medical expenses, lost luggage and delays, significantly cheaper LoungeKey access at participating airports, and a host of travel discounts that would always be worth checking. Included in the latter portion of this offering are, among many others, a day’s free access each month to any WeWork location in the world, 20-30% off IHG hotel bookings, and 25% off an annual subscription to physical-to-digital mail forwarding service Caya.

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T O P 10

02 Monzo

[ HQ LONDON, UK ] A resounding hit among digitally-savvy Millennials, Monzo has captured its market through a focus on simplicity and consistent functionality. An interesting diversion from 72

the norm, and a service that emblematises the nascent capabilities of this new breed of bank, is the ability for account holders to be paid their salary a day early through a “no cost, no hassle� advance fronted by Monzo. Along with easing the burden of a long month and looming bills, the neobank also offers an in-app energy switching service with options hand-picked for their use of renewable electricity sources as standard.

FEBRUARY 2020


73

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T O P 10

01

Starling Bank [ HQ LONDON, UK ]

74

Togetherness, elegance, flexibility and an inherent sense of excitement; a murmuration of starlings is an evocative sight. Such qualities are easy to identify in Starling Bank’s branding and offering, with the leading neobank providing all the hallmarks of modern banking which, ultimately, place the customer at the heart of decision-making while providing them with the tools to better control their finances and accounts. An intriguing element of Starling’s proposition is the ability to deposit money into an account via any UK Post Office, effectively yielding 11,500 branches for an otherwise entirely digital bank. Blurring the line between traditional and neobanking is a powerful tool in a financial world where most consumers are still very much in transition.

FEBRUARY 2020


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CLICK TO WATCH : ‘STARLING BANK UK TV COMMERCIAL | #FEELGOODABOUTMONEY’

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

The biggest events and conferences around the world for fintech leaders

10-12 FEB 2020

Fintech Week Tel Aviv 76

11-13 FEB 2020

Finovate 2020 [ INTERCONTINENTAL, BERLIN ]

[ TEL AVIV STOCK EXCHANGE, ISRAEL ]

Taking place at the InterContinental

Now in its fourth year, Fintech Week

Berlin, this is the first Finovate Europe

Tel Aviv is an annual event in Israel that

event to be held in continental Europe,

brings together a mass of fintech com-

providing a “truly Pan-European expe-

panies in order to network, discuss

rience”. The event, featuring more than

and plan for the future of finance. This

50 demos, 150 speakers, and 1,200+

year’s conference will bring regulation

senior attendees, will kick off 2020

into focus, as this remains an integral

and the new decade with the latest

part of the successful evolution of fin-

showcases of practical application fin-

techs. Other key points of discussion

tech. Finovate has received

include: personalisation, robo-advice,

considerable praise in the past, having

identity management in fintech and

been descirbed as “the premier finan-

diversity across the industry. Fintech

cial technology conference” by

week has a huge sponsorship, includ-

Bradley Leimer of Explorer Advisory

ing major finance and tech firms such

and Capital, and “the best blend of

as IBM, HSBC, Citi, Intel, Barclays,

innovation, content and networking” by

KPMG and Allianz, to name a few.

Cesar Richardson of Strands Finance.

FEBRUARY 2020


EDITED BY

AMBER DONOVAN-STEVENS

12-13 FEB 2020

Future of Finance and CFO Summit Asia 2020 [ SINGAPORE – LOCATION TBC ] The Future of Finance and CFO Summit Asia 2020 is an event that seeks to create the connections and share the knowledge that will bridge

24-27 FEB 2020

the gap between industry 4.0 and 5.0.

Payments Summit 2020

As the title suggests, this will be an

[ SALT LAKE CITY, USA ]

excellent opportunity for CFOs to

This year’s Payments Summit takes

come together to share critical strate-

place in Salt Lake City, with the

gies as the industry gears itself for

venue situated just next door to the

the next wave of digital disruption.

University of Utah, Salt Lake Marriott

Speakers include Axel Paix, Chief

Downtown at City Creek. In February,

Financial Officer, Asia Pacific Brenntag

Secure Technology Alliance and the

Asia Pacific Pte Ltd; Dr Yanyong

U.S. Payments Forum will again join

Thammatucharee, Chief Financial

together to host the 13th annual event,

Officer, Leadway Heavy Machinery

where delegates will discuss the

(LHM); Joe Diche, Chief Financial

$20bn industry that is fintech in North

Officer, Propertyguru Group; Daniel

America. The event is open to both

Berenbaum, Chief Financial Officer,

members and non-members, welcom-

Asia Pacific GlobalFoundries; and

ing payment providers, networks,

Philip Pfeiffer, Chief Financial Officer

fraud experts, investors and anyone

Asiatic, Llyod Maritime LLP.

else operating within the industry.

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

The biggest events and conferences around the world for fintech leaders

26-27 FEB 2020

3-4 MARCH 2020

[ DUBAI ]

[ MÜNCHEN, GERMANY ]

FiNext Dubai is not only a conference

Delegates can meet for this year’s

hosting fintech startups, tech provid-

Insurance Innovators convention at

ers and investors from all over the world,

the Sofitel Hotel Munich Bayerpost,

but also an awards ceremony that

Bayerstraße 12, 80335 München,

acknowledges fintech thought leaders

Germany; an event that has been

who are shaping the payments indus-

described by the CEO of WIlov to be an

try today. Speakers include: Ramkumar

“excellent conference, both for its con-

Balasubramaniam, Head of Financial

tent and the quality of interaction with

Planning and Analysis and MI, Barclays;

participants.” Trending topics for 2020

Mark Homeier, Global CEO, Maxonrow;

will include open insurance, AI, techno-

Alex Mashinsky, Founder Celsius

logical development and innovation

Network, Venture Investor; as well as

through collaborative partnerships.

speakers from The Kibrel Network,

C-level executives from Generali, Axa,

Policybazarr.ae, Circe Partners and

Ergo, Link3, Baloise and Gothaer will be

Ehata Financial. Dubai is the first of

delivering keynotes across these top-

three FiNext conferences in 2020, with

ics, sharing on their experience across

events taking place in San Francisco

industry innovation before opening the

and Amsterdam later in the year.

event up to networking opportunities.

FiNext Dubai 2020

78

FEBRUARY 2020

Insurance Innovators


EDITED BY

AMBER DONOVAN-STEVENS

10–11 MARCH 2020

MoneyLIVE, Spring 9-10 MARCH 2020

Future Digital Finance [ MIAMI, FL, US ]

[ MELIÁ AVENIDA AMÉRICA, MADRID ] MoneyLIVE is a leading conference that specialises in retail banking. This year, the annual spring event kicks

Taking place this year at the Hyatt

off in Meliá Avenida América, Madrid,

Regency Miami, Florida, Future Digital

Spain, with a number of speakers

Finance launches its 2020 annual con-

from over 40 countries to engage on

ference, welcoming a host of speakers

industry challenges facing fintechs

from companies such as Greenlight

today. Notable speakers include

Financial, Ally, United Federal Credit

Anne Boden, CEO, Starling Bank;

Union, First Commonwealth Federal

Carlos Kuchkovsky, CTO, New Digital

Credit Union, Teachers Credit Union,

Business BBVA; and Eric Tak, Global

Western Union, among many more to

Head of ING Payments Centre,

speak. Future Digital Finance is a part

ING Bank. One particularly interest-

of Worldwide Business Research LLC,

ing feature is that delegates have the

which defines itself against other

opportunity to have 1:1 meetings based

conference production companies by

upon Brella’s platform, which allows

avoiding conference halls and opting

users to scroll through a suggested

for top tier-resorts; organising the

list of connections that are in attend-

entirety of the event from concept

ance and provides an all-digital

through to topic delivery while also

network capability — much in the spirit

staffing the event with its own team.

of the innovative sector it represents.

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80

FEBRUARY 2020


EMBRACING DIGITAL IN THE BANKING SECTOR

81

WRITTEN BY

SEAN GALEA-PACE PRODUCED BY

JAMES PEPPER

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BRD - GROUPE SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE

Florin Boldescu, Chief Digital Officer, and Eric Ruiz, Chief Information Officer at BRD, discuss the importance of operating with an Agile approach and leveraging technology at their company

A

s one of the leading banks in Romania, BRD - Groupe Société Générale is in the midst of a significant digital transforma-

tion. Technology is considered the lifeblood of the 82

company and is central to operations. BRD is the Romanian affiliate of Groupe Société Générale and operates under its wider umbrella. “It’s a flexible relationship,” explains Florin Boldescu, Chief Digital Officer at the firm. “There’s many banks from different countries all working together and it provides a great opportunity to discuss new ideas and learn from each other. It’s an open banking environment where all banks can work together towards a common goal.” BRD’s digital transformation ambitions are focused on several key areas, such as: evolving towards digital ready architecture (decoupling, API, services), embracing Agility to deliver faster, be better aligned with business teams, leverage a DevOps approach (automation, software factory, cloud) and provide a flexible workplace to employees. FEBRUARY 2020


83

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BRD - GROUPE SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE

“We were one of the first banks to launch a mobile banking app over a decade ago. It’s great to look back on and we’re proud that we have brought our contribution” Florin Boldescu, Chief Digital Officer, BRD

84

FEBRUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘BRD. THE FUTURE IS YOU’ 85 Both Boldescu and Eric Ruiz, Chief Information Officer at BRD, believes in the importance of embracing change

you make decisions. This led to the creation of the Digital Hub.” BRD’s Digital Hub has been devel-

amidst a major shift in culture. “We

oped to allow for better interaction

were one of the first banks to launch

with customers and is a key part of its

a mobile banking app over a decade

strategy to cover several channels

ago. It’s great to look back on and

and better meet individual customer

we’re proud that we have brought our

demands. “Over the past year, the

contribution,” says Boldescu. “The entire

market has shifted in a unique way,”

banking industry is an open and highly

explains Boldescu. “Although change

dynamic environment and in order to

is great, we can’t afford to leave people

meet these challenges, it requires a

behind. We have to ensure we migrate

change in culture. Sometimes you need

the older generation smoothly and

to overhaul the business in order to

make the transition as easy as possible.”

change your perception and the way

With the Romanian market experiencing w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


BRD - GROUPE SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE

86

FEBRUARY 2020


“We value innovation and want to provide its value to our customers” Eric Ruiz, Chief Information Officer, BRD

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87


17 over

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE

Let’s talk Digital

Smart Fintech Customer Digital Experience Identity Access Management Service Oriented Architecture

www.itsmartsystems.eu letstalk@itsmartsystems.eu


1923

high levels of growth over the past few years, BRD has established a more seamless, omnichannel approach in a bid to improve its user experience. “We still have customers that like to come into a branch to do their banking but in Romania, digital is becoming increasingly prominent,” says Ruiz. “There’s

Year founded

$25mn+ Revenue in euros (2017)

substantial competition and some of our competitors might have great ideas so we can’t stand still.” Due to the acceleration of digitalisation in the banking

6,800

industry, Ruiz adds Agile software development (Agile) has become a key

Number of employees

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Florin Boldescu Boldescu has over 20 years’ experience in the telecom and banking industries, in areas including: customer service, product management, business management and digital transformation. He is passionate about people using technology, innovation, enterprise transformation and software delivery models. Recently, he has focused on digital strategy and transformation; currently he oversees the execution of a digital agenda, retail and corporate, with the support of a Digital Hub. The most important product built here is an omnichannel platform, which is going to manage the access to the bank’s services for more than two million customers. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

89


BRD - GROUPE SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE

component of BRD’s transformation.

90

In a bid to drive operations, BRD

“In order to implement Agile, we first had

has established several strategic

to determine exactly what it is and what

partnerships such as IT Smart Systems

we wanted it to achieve. To accom-

and Backbase. “Our partner, IT Smart

plish this, establishing a step-by-step

Systems (ITSS), has made an impor-

approach was essential,” explains Ruiz.

tant contribution to our digital

“Agile is a new way of working and we’ve

transformation journey and continues

trained our people and paired them with

to show a strong commitment to meet

an Agile coach. It’s a great way to make

our common objectives inside the

processes more efficient and drive real

omnichannel and OpenBanking &

value for our business.”

PSD2 programmes,” explains Ruiz.

E X ECU T I VE P RO FI LE

Eric Ruiz Eric has managed IT at BRD Romania for more than two years, with the ambition of transforming the way IT provides value to the business in its digitalisation and automation objectives. Previously, Eric was dep CIO and global CTO for Russia SG entities, supporting 15.000 employees over 11 time zones. Prior to that, he was CIO and business process improvement manager for the Russian consumer finance subsidiary of SG, enabling it to become number one in car loans in Russia. He also held the position of COO of SG Ukrainian subsidiary, and was responsible for IT/back-office, and the acceptance and administration departments. He was also global middleware manager in New York investment bank subsidiary of SG.

FEBRUARY 2020


“ITSS already helped BRD to digitalise its corporate trade finance business and also set up the PSD2 APIs.” “With proven senior expertise on Backbase Digital Banking, Forgerock Digital Identity and digital transformation in general, IT Smart Systems’ team of professionals work with us in the Hub to help create that omnichannel hyper-personalised yet secure user experience for our customers and employees,” adds Boldescu. “We will continue to strengthen our partnership with IT Smart Systems as a trusted and valuable partner for BRD.” The banking world is showing no signs of slowing down. Due to the significant level of technology at financial institutions, companies now more than ever, are seeking to digitalise their offerings and streamline services for their customers. However, although the acceleration of digital is primarily considered a good thing, it also brings with it the issue of cybercrime. To combat this, Ruiz places considerable value on his firm’s cybersecurity approach. “Every solution we put on w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


BRD - GROUPE SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE

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“Over the past year, the market has shifted in a unique way” Florin Boldescu, Chief Digital Officer, BRD

the market is controlled by a security team and each has its own security file. It undergoes a penetration test, and if there’s any issues that flag up, we address it,” he explains. “We also conduct a regular vulnerability scanning, internally and externally to ensure our security is where it needs to be.” With the future in mind, both men harbour clear objectives for the next few years. “Our idea for the future is digital and especially mobile-first. We value innovation and want to provide its value to our customers,” summarises Ruiz. “Our ambition is to completely digitalise the customer experience — that’s the plan.”

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94

Faster, smarter and more profitable decision making WRITTEN BY

MATT HIGH PRODUCED BY

SHIRIN SADR

FEBRUARY 2020


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FICO

How FICO’s innovative decisioning technology is driving financial services’ digital transformation

A

ccording to market surveys, close to 90% of businesses in financial-intensive industries – banking, insurance, credit cards,

payments, etc. – see digital disruption as a looming threat. Conversely, and with somewhat staggering 96

disparity, only a fraction of those companies – for example, just 3% of banks –consider their organisations to be ‘extremely’ disruption proof. The first statistic should come as little surprise - the ongoing proliferation of innovative digital technologies is, after all, seeing every industry worldwide facing its own transformation. The second should cause more concern for those operating in the global financial services sector. The breadth of the challenge that the sector faces from digitally disruptive technologies was set out in a research paper created by Arizent, a B2B business information firm; the paper was sponsored by FICO, a leading analytics organisation that uses advanced analytics and optimisation to improve business decision making and drive growth, profitability and customer engagement. The purpose FEBRUARY 2020


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1956

Year founded

$1.16bn Revenue in US dollars

5,000 Number of employees

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FICO

of the research, focused on digital disruption, digital transformation and customer-centricity, was to learn about the perceptions of senior executives regarding the core advantages, disadvantages, opportunities and threats posed by such disruption. It found that digital disruption is “mercilessly changing the competitive landscape in the financial services industry” and that those companies that thrive will embrace change through a dedicated focus on making smarter, faster and more profitable decisions.

98

“What’s holding many banks back from truly embracing digital transformation is their starting from a siloed set of systems that don’t view you as a customer, but rather, view you as an account” — Bill Waid, General Manager of FICO Decision Management, FICO

FEBRUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘THE HISTORY OF FICO’ 99 FICO can inform those decisions.

and 24% of fintechs, for example, are

The business is a leading proponent

not confident in their ability to antici-

of digital decisioning through its

pate customer needs and proactively

Centralized Decisioning solution, a

offer ideal products and services, as

unifying infrastructure that enables

stated in the aforementioned research.

businesses to use raw data to better

According to FICO, this shortfall in

inform decision making and greatly

achieving customer centricity is a result

improve the customer centricity of

of many businesses’ operational frame-

products and services or, as FICO

works relying on siloed, on-premises

suggests, “to take the offensive and be

systems, data and processes. “Typically,

a disruptor, not a disruptee”. Customer-

in financial services, there are multiple

centric services are a key driver of

disconnected ways in which companies

change in all industry sectors, and yet

interact with customers; you can bank

many are seeing difficulty in becoming

with one institution but have savings

more customer-centric – 44% of banks

or checking accounts, credit cards, w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


FICO

mortgages and investments. What’s holding many banks back from truly embracing digital transformation is their starting from a siloed set of systems that don’t view you as a customer, but rather, view you as an account,” explains Bill Waid, General Manager of FICO Decision Management. For Waid, the provision of a true digital experience that breaks down the siloed approach in order to focus on the individual is driving digital disruption across many industry sectors 100

worldwide. He references, for example, Amazon’s digital retail experience, which has revolutionised the traditional consumer dynamic. Although not at this level yet, the financial services sector, he concedes, is on the brink of

E X ECU T I VE P RO FI LE

Bill Waid As GM, FICO Decision Management Software, Bill is responsible for FICO’s cloud-based Decision Management Software (DMS) business, delivering innovative analytics and decision management for better business outcomes.

FEBRUARY 2020


such a transformation. “From a digital experience perspective,” he says, “the risk of being disrupted comes from the connection and the experience that the consumer has on a very individual level – does the bank or insurance company understand me? Is it offering me the right products and the right level of engagement for my specific needs, and does it give me optionality and anticipate what I may need before I have to ask? These are essential questions to answer and the challenge is that, when you move to something like the financial services sector, the depth of that experience becomes even more complicated because there are multiple ways in which companies can interact with the consumer.”

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Kevin Deveau A senior executive with over 30 years’ international experience. Kevin is Vice President & Managing Director for FICO’s operations in Canada, as well as heading the company’s North American Insurance business segment.

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If you’re not disrupting, you’re being disrupted. Let FICO help you flip the switch. Digitization is disrupting the very fabric of business. New entrants are displacing incumbents. Omni-channel models are replacing brick and mortars. Speed, precision, and innovation are survival imperatives. To monetize your digital infrastructure, you need to liberate big data insights from business siloes. Unleash explainable, AI-powered decisions across your enterprise. Instinctively sense and respond to customer and economic shifts. Deploy new solutions in a snap. FICO can help. For more than 60 years, we’ve empowered banks, insurers, retailers, and others to build more profitable and sustainable customer engagements through decision management.

Better Business Decisions © 2020 Fair Isaac Corporation. All rights reserved.


Learn how our flexible, scalable approach can help you be a disruptor—not the disrupted. VISIT US AT fico.com/CentralizedDecisioning


FICO

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘FICO ® DECISION MANAGEMENT SUITE’ 104 Although FICO is best known for

already begun their digital transforma-

working with many of the world’s lead-

tion journey and made some progress

ing financial services organisations,

are relatively small; it’s a much larger

the company also works closely with

number of those that will ‘go next’,

some of the largest names across

from our perspective.”

several other sectors. According to

Alongside banking, FICO rec-

Waid, the company has seen and

ognises growing interest from the

worked with some early adopters of

insurance sector - another industry

this customer-centric mindset that are

that has historically engaged with

taking efforts to drive their digital strat-

customers in a disparate, siloed man-

egy and improve consumer experience.

ner. Kevin Deveau, Vice President &

“Alongside that, you have several

Managing Director, FICO Canada

followers but also, unfortunately,

elaborates: “In insurance in particular,

many laggards across the sector,” he

companies across the board are rap-

adds. “The numbers of those that have

idly realising that keeping pace with

FEBRUARY 2020


this digital transformation of the

engagement and involvement with

sector really comes down to defin-

the customer; they want to be closely

ing that customer journey - or the

aligned with them throughout all the

‘customer 360’. The businesses that

relevant life events. We view the insur-

are on the wrong side of that are

ance sector in particular as shifting

losing out and paying a price, but

from a state of detect and repair to

that’s rapidly becoming true for any

predict and prevent, and this is where

customer-facing business.”

a digital, decision-first platform such

Insurers have, says Deveau, made

as ours comes in, being able to gather,

steps in areas such as claims handling,

analyse and connect siloed data in a

which has seen a redefining of the

real-time environment. This enables

journey from accident to resolving,

companies in any sector to be more

for example. “But, increasingly we’re

nimble, to be proactive rather than

seeing insurers building out their

reactive and to provide that level of

“Companies across the board are rapidly realising that keeping pace with this digital transformation of the sector really comes down to defining that customer journey” — Kevin Deveau, Vice President & Managing Director, FICO Canada w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

105


FICO

customer experience that they need to in order to be successful.” The challenge for both insurers and banks, concedes Deveau, is that while most are now actively seeking to engage their experience offering, a large majority are still embedded in legacy systems and technologies. FICO’s Centralized Decisioning, for example, connects all business-critical insights across an enterprise, enabling that decision making process to be optimised across an entire customer 106

lifecycle. FICO recognises several traits of a ‘best-in-class’ decisioning process, including a unified, scalable decision platform that optimises and monetises the use of people, data and analytics; the ability to create personalised customer treatments at scale; the ability to validate and simulate decisions before they are put into production; and the creation and management of the strategies, rules and analytics that drive decision and actions. To give some perspective on these being put into practice, FICO and Arizent’s research revealed that just 5% of banks are using all of the data at their disposal, only a third (37%) are FEBRUARY 2020


confident in their ability to make accurate decisions in real time and 38% are very confident that their customers receive consistent service across all channels. Notably these figures are significantly higher across the board for fintech companies. On customer centricity, for example, it was found that fintechs are three times more ‘extremely confident’ that their customers receive personalised treatment. Similarly, business users in fintechs are more than twice as empowered to manage analytics strategies than their counterparts in banks; they are also noticeably more confident in their ability to make accurate decisions in real time. “The initial perception, quite often, is ‘we are interested, we wish to improve, but how do we take all of our systems we have used for years - often decades - and make them talk to one another,” Bill states. “The short answer is, you can’t. It’s too complicated and too difficult. The fintechs have a leg up on those incumbent institutions because they started with the premise of having all their data and systems connected. Banks should understand w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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FICO

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘JOIN THE DANCE WITH AI’ 108 that getting all their data into a decisioning process doesn’t require the moving of that data, it’s about ensuring that they can consume that data in real time.” Waid affirms that this is where technologies such as machine learning and advanced analytics play a key role, enabling a rapid assessment and decisioning process based on the information presented in the data. “Customers of ours that adopt this approach tend to start with the limited data they have, deploy these advanced machine learning models and FEBRUARY 2020


strategies, understand the data and

data together, building the models and

the build in rapid succession,” he notes.

technology as rapidly as possible, and

“Once you begin on such a journey, you

move to making decisions and acting

then have the flexibility to pull in even

in real time. It’s that approach that will

more data, further enrich your process

bring the financial institutions and

and continue to build. It’s an incremen-

insurers to the levels of success seen

tal change that works at ‘digital pace’

by retail companies.”

rather than IT pace, and it’s working

In order to achieve this ‘holy grail’,

very well in financial services and also

FICO works with clients on three pil-

increasingly in insurance.”

lars. The first of these is the ability to

Such a system, according to Deveau,

attach data and data sources, stream

is one that FICO offers and something

that data in real time and apply analyt-

that those in the industry should con-

ics and strategies to understand it at

sider “the holy grail: bringing all of your

a customer level. Secondly, organisations should use the rich/enriched data to make better decisions about a consumer and improve the level of user experience. Lastly, understand the impacts of how data is applied and the decisions that it leads to in terms of the wider business outcomes. “We refer to this as business simulation,” says Waid, “and it’s all about the ability to make comparisons, to understand the outcome should you make changes, take more risks with a certain customer profile and so on. Some of our customers refer to this aspect as ‘the brain’, as it’s specifically focused on the wider intelligence around their business.” w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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FICO

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Understandably, as is the case with businesses in many sectors that are wedded to legacy systems or a particular company culture, FICO sees some hesitancy to fully adopt these three pillars in too quick a success. Waid states his belief that, if you are to make changes you must do so with confidence, understand the process and embark on a true digital transformation journey, while Deveau notes that, while many of FICO’s customers begin with small steps, once they see the potential offered by its services growth follows in rapid succession. For any business, what moves the dial is results,” Waid adds. “Most of our clients see results when their first use case goes live. They see material impacts to their business very quickly and that commitment to change, that desire to take the organisation forward, means that they want more to follow.”

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112

Balancing individual identity with global expansion WRITTEN BY

SHANNON LEWIS PRODUCED BY

JUSTIN BRAND

FEBRUARY 2020


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DISCOVERY LIMITED

We speak to Anton Fatti, Chief Digital Officer at Discovery Limited, about how the company balances the identity and innovation practices of local branches with expansion as a global brand

F

ounded in 1992, Discovery Limited is a diversified insurance and financial services organisation. Discovery began in South

Africa as a small, specialist risk insurer, and has since 114

expanded to major markets across the globe. As an organisation with innovation at its core, Discovery uses a mix of technology and best practice to generate value for clients, employees and shareholders alike. “The core innovation that Discovery has pioneered internationally is the concept of a sharedvalue insurance model,” explains Chief Digital Officer, Anton Fatti. Fatti has been with Discovery for seven years. With a background in computer science and applied maths, as well as an interest in ‘big picture’ business practices, he has experience in developing tech and scaling strategy at small technology companies. In his work at Discovery, he applies many of his learnings from the startup world. “What drew me to Discovery was the real aim of improving society,” he says. “It’s a higher purpose at the core of Discovery FEBRUARY 2020


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DISCOVERY LIMITED

116

that guides our decisions.” Discovery

As Discovery has expanded globally,

is a values-driven company where it’s

its focus has remained human-centric,

common to find employees with 10 to

from internal processes to client

20 years’ tenure, for example. Currently,

outreach. Through its Vitality shared-

Fatti oversees the central team in the

value model, Discovery has built the

Digital Lab, advising the business on

world’s largest behavioural platform,

digital best practice and exploring new

which turns actuarially driven insight

technologies and digitally enabled busi-

into behaviour change that benefits

ness models. “Digital transformation

both the client and the insurer. “We’ve

is not something flashy for the sake of

demonstrated the broad applicability

technology. It underlies the business

of our model,” Fatti says, “and we’re

value, with operational efficiency, client-

recognised as global thought leaders in

centricity and innovation as the key

the field.” From a digital transformation

drivers,” Fatti notes.

standpoint, the focus is on scalability.

“Positioning technology is not something flashy for the sake of technology. It’s for underlying business value” — Anton Fatti Chief Digital Officer, Discovery Limited FEBRUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘ADRIAN GORE, DISCOVERY GROUP CEO – IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABILITY FOR DISCOVERY’ 117 Discovery, launched in the early 90s, is not a digital-native organisation, meaning technology has to integrate into existing structures. “It’s not about transforming the business model so much as augmenting the success of what we have already achieved,” Fatti adds. Belief in the company’s intellectual property and an ambitious vision to lead a global health transformation define expansion at Discovery. This vision is expressed in the pledge from the Vitality network of insurers to make one hundred million people 20% more active by 2025. To expand without w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


DISCOVERY LIMITED

losing sight of core beliefs, Discovery makes decisions unique to the needs of each country it operates in. The business balances fully owned subsidiaries, as it has in the UK, with equity investments, such as those with Ping An Health in China, and partnerships with insurers and other financial services companies across the rest of the world. “Our global Vitality One platform allows us to give each market their own configurable Vitality environment,” Fatti comments, “so they can focus 118

on their market-specific differentiators.” The company values innovation by the partner markets, encouraging individual growth while being aware

which means we are able to easily con-

of integration potential. Everything

figure and reconfigure how the platform

goes through a curation and validation

works and how it supports the specific

process, for example. Client insight

needs of each market. So, it is based on

is embedded into the early stages of

configuration rather than coding,” Fatti

projects, too. “If you think about the

states. Discovery is primarily a Java-

shared-value model, it’s fundamentally

based company that relies heavily on

about engaging clients. If we can’t

technologies provided by established

do that in an effective way, the model

vendors such as Oracle, Microsoft

breaks down,” explains Fatti.

and IBM. As Discovery expands inter-

To expand effectively, Discovery

nationally, this architecture is being

leans on technology, relying on reus-

augmented with open source and

able platform components. “We use

cloud technologies to enable rapid

a modern model-driven architecture,

delivery of new business capabilities

FEBRUARY 2020


“It’s not about transforming the business model so much as augmenting the success of what we have already achieved” — Anton Fatti Chief Digital Officer, Discovery Limited

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Anton Fatti Anton Fatti is the Chief Digital Officer for Discovery, leading the enterprise-wide digital transformation strategy, incorporating disruptive technologies and approaches to enhance Discovery’s business model and create new competitive differentiators. Anton has a background in technology, management consulting and product management. He started his career as a software engineer in London’s financial services industry, and after completing his MBA worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company in Johannesburg.

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Doctors

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Accounts Borrowing Pay

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Transfer

More 3.25%

MESSAGES

PRACTICE

DISCOVERY

Is nicotine vapour dangerous? Its says extremely toxic if in contact with skin, so what is it doing inside of us? I am referring to eCigarettes.


DISCOVERY LIMITED

and decentralisation of information. “As much as possible, we’ll try to choose open-source technologies with enterprise-grade support.” Fatti adds. It takes company-wide skill to balance the desire to maintain a cohesive global model with the need to allow a degree of local identity and innovation in individual markets. Initially, one of the challenges around Discovery’s expansion was the amount of work the growth generated for the central team. “We were trying to pare down the depend122

ency on that central platform team and empower our partner markets instead,” Fatti says.

“From a technology perspective, we’re really seeing this move from what we call ‘the connected self’ to ‘the quantified self’” — Anton Fatti Chief Digital Officer, Discovery Limited FEBRUARY 2020


123

Now, the system runs more smoothly thanks to the adoption of an accreditation process. “We provide our partners

international business footprint while allowing room for individual innovation. “One of the key differentiators we

with guidance, best practice, and

have at Discovery is our culture of

access to the platform, but we’re not

innovation,” Fatti comments. Innovation

constraining any innovators just to scale

has remained integral to the company’s

this model internationally. We allow

mentality since its foundation, with a

markets to run at their own pace and

particular focus on talent and creativ-

leverage the innovation of the entire

ity. Research and development within

community,” Fatti adds. Ultimately, it

the business is undertaken with true

comes down to having the flexibility to

independence, with its own innova-

meet the needs of a variety of markets

tion cycles and product enhancement

and leveraging uniformity across the

solutions. Discovery uses data and

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DISCOVERY LIMITED

1992

Year founded

$2bn Revenue in US dollars

8,484 124

Number of employees

analytics to drive insight and innovate at the pace and scale it requires. To empower teams to stay innovative, Fatti relies on his background in startups and looks to foster a cutting-edge environment and flexible mindset. Naturally, Discovery had to position itself at the forefront of innovation in response to an industry that is becoming increasingly competitive. The financial and banking industry has, in recent history, taken well to FEBRUARY 2020


tech innovations, but the insurance space is also catching up through partner-funded startups and innovative individuals. “Discovery continues to invest heavily in innovation,” Fatti says. “The key thing I’m advocating, and which we’re seeing an increasing appetite for, is a breakdown of silos between product innovation and technology.” Strategy-wise, Discovery is looking ahead to technological trends around big data, automation, and deep learning. As an early adopter of telematics, the company values data science capability and embraces the rise of connected devices. “From a technology perspective, we’re seeing this move from what we call ‘the connected self’ to ‘the quantified self’,” Fatti says. Discovery is developing expertise in micro-personalisation models, AI, and machine learning as foundations for this emerging era of technology. “Ultimately,” he concludes, “it’s about empowering each of our businesses to run as fast as it can.”

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Resolution Insurance: tech-driven insurance evolution WRITTEN BY

GEORGIA WILSON PRODUCED BY

JUSTIN BRAND

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RESOLUTION INSURANCE

Francis Ngari, Head of Digital at Resolution Insurance, discusses current technology trends within insurance and the company’s digital transformation journey

F 128

rancis Ngari, Business Information Technology graduate from Strathmore University (Kenya), has been the Head of

Digital at Resolution Insurance since August 2018. Prior to joining the company in 2010, Ngari worked at James Finlays and Swift Global. Ngari describes Resolution Insurance as a young, ambitious and determined company that is striving to be the provider of choice for insurance solutions in Kenya. With 18 years under its belt, Ngari notes that “to date, Resolution Insurance – based on turnover – ranks seventh among the 37 general insurance companies in Kenya’s insurance landscape, sitting proudly among the top 15 that have more than 25 years additional experience.” Over the years, Ngari has seen Resolution Insurance evolve from an independent medical insurance provider, operating under Resolution Health, into a registered insurance company operating under Resolution Insurance Limited. “We FEBRUARY 2020


129

2002

Year founded

5.2bn

Revenue in Kenyan Shilling

200

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


RESOLUTION INSURANCE

“Over the last two, there are certain words that never fail to get mentioned when it comes to industry trends – AI, business intelligence and machine learning” 130

— Francis Ngari, Head of Digital, Resolution Insurance

have become a one-stop shop for all our customers’ general insurance needs, covering personal accident, group life, group personal accident, work insurance benefits, motor insurance, home insurance and engineering insurance,” he says.

CURRENT TRENDS WITHIN THE INDUSTRY “Over the last two, there are certain words that never fail to get mentioned when it comes to industry trends – artificial intelligence (AI), business intelligence and machine learning,” comments Ngari. Within the insurance industry, Ngari sees multiple trends being driven by technology. These include business intelligence to harness the power of data to make predictions; integrated systems to drive efficiency when it comes to data entry and information gathering, organisation partnerships; and robotic process automation (RPA) to reduce the need for people to conduct mundane tasks as well as driving towards paperless operations. In addition to these trends, Ngari has also seen the growth of self-service via portals and chatbots, especially among millennials.

FEBRUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘RESOLUTION INSURANCE’S BRAND EXPERIENCE #CSWEEK2019’ 131

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Ngari sees Resolution Insurance

Ngari takes pride in the company’s

reaping multiple benefits from its six

push to be a technologically aware

year strategy: “as a company we are

brand. “My first role as Head of Digital

looking to benefit from increased

was to draft the digital strategy, in

efficiency, a low error rate, increased

addition to forming a digital imple-

innovation and talent, attracting new

mentation roadmap that spans from

markets and becoming an employer

2018 to 2023,” he explains. Resolution

and insurance provider of choice.”

Insurance’s strategy is comprised

To achieve its strategy, Resolution

of four key objectives: leverage

Insurance is harnessing innovative

business intelligence to drive product

technology in a number of ways.

development and innovation; simplify

“We are big on RPA and Big Data at

and automate manual processes; run

Resolution Insurance, we have already

a paperless digital organisation; and

completed proof of concepts to verify

ensure self-service for stakeholders.

our hypotheses in these areas,” says w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


RESOLUTION INSURANCE

132

Ngari. Currently, Resolution Insurance

Insurance is currently utilising Big Data

is in the process of developing its use

for RPA and self-service solutions, by

of chatbots. “With this implementation

the first quarter of 2020 the company

our customers can receive quotes

aims to provide the ability to load claims

and pay, as well as check their due

and purchase a policy online through its

premiums,� comments Ngari. Within its

self-service platform and chatbots.

chatbot strategy, Ngari highlights the

Other implementations Resolution

importance of implementing solutions

Insurance has made over the years

that comply with Insurance Financial

include its Enterprise Architecture,

Reporting Standards (IFRS) 17. These

aligning its business requirements

solutions will ensure that its chatbots

and IT requirements to accelerate and

are collecting premiums in full within a

grow the business. “Our architecture

30-day period, in addition to implement-

consists of four layers: stakehold-

ing cash and carry. While Resolution

ers, engagement channels (including

FEBRUARY 2020


chatbots, SMS and emails), CRMs for

within its architecture are seamless,

external stakeholders as well as our

KPMG has also helped to develop an

financial ERP for business systems,

implementation roadmap that is a

and the cross platform layer consisting

fundamental feature of our company.”

of our data warehouse and business oping its architecture, Ngari highlights

THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ON THE COMPANY’S WORKFORCE

how KPMG has been instrumental

When it comes to the impact digital

in conducting quality analysis for its

transformation has on its workforce,

core insurance systems. “In 2010 and

Ngari highlights areas of the company

2016 KPMG consulted for Resolution

currently seeing benefits, including

Insurance to define our Enterprise

its business development team and

Architecture,” he says. “To ensure

customers services team. “Once

its implementations and integrations

we started using Salesforce’s CRM

intelligence,” notes Ngari. When devel-

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Francis Ngari Ngari is married and has four children aged between one and eight years old. He has more than 13 years’ experience in ICT, beginning his career in customer care, before deep diving into programming, business analysis, business applications management, ICT management and now digital and innovation manager. Ngari is certified in yellow belt lean six sigma, has a Higher Diploma in IMIS, and is a business information technology graduate and MBA – Strategic management candidate at USIU. He is looking to be certified by the data management association in CDMP during 2020. w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

133


Hi, we’re Salesforce. We help companies unify marketing, sales, service, commerce, and IT on the #1 CRM platform, so you can give every customer the personal experiences they love. Visit salesforce.com/learnmore.

To learn more about how Salesforce can help you connect with your customers in a whole new way, click here


“We are big on RPA and Big Data at Resolution Insurance, we have already completed proof of concepts to verify our hypotheses in these areas” — Francis Ngari, Head of Digital, Resolution Insurance

KEEPING AHEAD OF DATA SECURITY DURING ITS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION “When it comes to our digital transformation journey, one of the biggest threats is data security. In order to protect ourselves against this threat, we have started conducting vulnerability assessments, penetration testing and audits prior to, as well as after, a project is live,” says Ngari, adding that the company has also implemented common technologies that most companies will have for data security.

system as a single source of informa-

“We’ve got top-notch firewalls, double-

tion for analysis, the business team can

factor authentication, we are getting

now provide better service advice to

customers to also give us their

our customers, as well as being able to

consent, even before logging into our

better manage their leads and quantify

platform as well as getting customers

their results,” he says.

to agree to our terms and conditions,

With Resolution Insurance’s increase

which are compliant with the data

in self-service solutions, the customer

protection law that was passed in

service team are also seeing benefits,

October 2019 in Kenya.”

particularly “a reduction in call volume, with more people only calling when

THE FUTURE OF RESOLUTION INSURANCE

their query can not be resolved by a

Looking to the future, the company

chatbot,” enthuses Ngari. “In addition,

is constantly surveying the market to

the team is becoming more efficient

gain insights from its customers to

when it comes to finding information

ensure it remains ahead in a fast-

about a customer via one platform as

paced environment.

opposed to two or three.”

In addition, it is utilising data and social w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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RESOLUTION INSURANCE

B L U E C O N S U LT I N G

Blue Consulting is a silver Salesforce partner. They implemented Salesforce’s CRM sales module in 2015 in a record 2 months. Blue Consulting have walked with us in our digital transformation journey since 2015 meeting our expectations every time.

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Since then, Blue consulting have implemented quote automation for our sales agents, integrated salesforce. com to our core insurance systems, and are currently implementing online insurance services to our clients and intermediaries, to achieve a self-service option, i.e. claims online, buy online, renew online and download policy documents. Top three reasons Resolution Insurance chose Blue Consulting: • It is a local technology company that is able to send skilled resources to work on site without planning too much logistics. AS a result implementations are more affordable and have no time zone challenges • They have a young, vibrant, skilled and dedicated workforce • They are good business partners, we both make compromises towards success of the project

FEBRUARY 2020


media analytics to provide further insight into customer preferences, customer behaviours and new product innovations. Beyond 2020, the company is looking to harness Big Data and venture further into machine learning and AI for predictive analytics, “we are currently using elements of machine learning and AI for our robotics proof of concepts, which we will be implementing in house in 2020,� comments Ngari. Other innovations Resolution Insurance is currently working on to implement in the future include becoming available 24/7 to its customers through omnichannel capabilities, providing end-to-end customer fulfilment and delivery, improving its self service platforms, automating underwriting setups and developing a digital laboratory for research and development.

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UPLIFTING LIVES THROUGH INCLUSIVE DIGITAL FINANCE WRITTEN BY

MATT HIGH PRODUCED BY

NATHAN HOLMES

FEBRUARY 2020


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R I Z A L C O M M E R C I A L B A N K I N G C O R P O R AT I O N

Lito Villanueva discusses the customer-centric and datadriven digital transformation at the heart of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

S

teering the wave of change has been a continuous theme in Lito Villanueva’s career. ‘Mr Fintech’, as he is called in the

Philippines, has been appointed as the Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer at Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation 140

(RCBC). This comes on top of being the Chief Digital Transformation Advisor for the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC). Villanueva embraced this new challenge after almost 10 combined years in the PLDT Group. Despite the change in company, Villanueva’s vision remains the same: continuous digital disruption. He elaborates: “If we accelerate our execution of humancentric financial services with a delightful customer experience, the possibilities are truly endless.” Widely recognised as one of the leading fintech executives in Asia, Villanueva joined RCBC in May 2019, bringing 25 years’ experience in telecommunications, payments, financial technology, global banking, digital transformation, regulatory engagement and international development advisory. “This experience contributes towards how I innovate and FEBRUARY 2020


141

1960

Year founded

$1.4bn Revenue in US dollars

6,450 Number of employees

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R I Z A L C O M M E R C I A L B A N K I N G C O R P O R AT I O N

implement,” he explains. “Similarly, my

“Any product has to evoke emotions, it has to make a connection, and an impact to their lives” — Lito Villanueva, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

stints with global leaders such as Visa, the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, Economist Intelligence Unit and more, spanning over 35 countries, have given me a strong understanding of different markets, disciplines, and cultures that prepared me well for the challenges that I had to face.” On the local front, Villanueva succeeded in making waves in the industry as Voyager Innovations’ FINTQnologies Managing Director

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under the PLDT Group, where he created trailblazing engagements. Particularly noteworthy was the implementation of Lendr, the Philippines’ largest digital lending platform with loans disbursed in excess of US$1bnn in less than five years. He also secured licenses for PayMaya as an electronic money issuer. This includes issuing and acquiring license from Visa. While Villanueva has many successes in his career to date, there remains one overarching driver behind how he has approached each of his roles: people. “I’ve been honoured with various notable monikers in and by the industry” he FEBRUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘LITO V’S FINTECH SUMMIT KICKOFF’ 143 shares, “such as the Philippines’ lead-

who well understands the potential

ing inclusive digital finance accelerator,

threats that organisations such as

digital transformation champion, prime

RCBC face from digital disruption and

thought leader, and entrepreneurial

the importance of embracing such a

game changer, to name a few. But my

change. When approaching RCBC’s

singular purpose and passion in cham-

own digital transformation, Villanueva

pioning all these initiatives, is to help

first focused on “how to address

uplift the lives of Filipinos. Technology

the three key barriers in carrying out

is just a means to an end with the

digitalisation: cultural, procedural, and

customer at the core.”

structural. With the support of the entire

According to Villanueva, this trans-

Group,” he adds, “we are enhancing our

formation isn’t purely restricted to

competitiveness through convergence

RCBC, but rather, is driven by YGC.

for data-driven product offering across

Key to this journey, he says, is Group

the Group and collaborate through open

Chairperson, Helen Yuchengco Dee

banking to drive exponential growth.” w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


R I Z A L C O M M E R C I A L B A N K I N G C O R P O R AT I O N

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Lito Villanueva with (L-R) Finance Undersecretary Gil Bletran, Monetary Board Member Felipe Medalla, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor and Monetary Board Chairman Benjamin Diokno, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Monetary Board Member Antonio Abacan, Jr. at the book launching of Unchartered Beyond: The Taxonomy of FinTech in the Philippines.

Form a pure technology perspective,

customer experience. Understanding

Villanueva believes that the introduction

the process is critical to stay ahead

of those new digital solutions mentioned

of the development curve, and all of our

previously will greatly improve the expe-

platforms and enabling infrastructure

rience that RCBC is able to provide its

must be agile.” The three ‘Vs’ relate

customers. His first priority, he explains,

to velocity, value, and volume. “Agility

is the harmonising and optimising of the

and speed in execution will give you

company’s existing banking products.

the velocity; value is vital in delivering

“I have my digital transformation equa-

customer adoption and loyalty; while

tion: 4Ps+3Vs = PDC,” he explains.

volume provides growth and scale,”

“The four ‘Ps’ relate to people, process,

says Villanueva. “The result of being

platform, and product - it’s all about

successful in these areas is PDC:

thriving in a human-centric digital

profit maximisation, data generation,

culture and delivering an awesome

and cost reduction.”

FEBRUARY 2020


B RI EF P RO FI LE

Lito Villanueva Lito Villanueva is the Philippines’ leading and award-winning thought leader on digital transformation and inclusive digital finance. He has over 20 years of experience in banking, telecommunications, payments, development finance, and financial technology. He merited over 50 global and regional awards including being cited as one of the Top 100 FinTech Leaders in Asia, the first and only Filipino, thus far, for scaling digital innovations and financial inclusion. He was also named “Mr. FinTech of the Philippines” by BizNewsAsia magazine. He is presently the Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer for RCBC and concurrently as Chief Digital Transformation Advisor for the Yuchengco Group of Companies. He had stint with Economist Intelligence Unit, Visa, Smart Communications, IFC of the World Bank Group, Voyager Innovations covering PayMaya (formerly Smart Money) and FINTQnologies as its managing director. He created and scaled Lendr, the Philippines’ largest digital loans marketplace disbursing in excess of US$1 billion in less than five years. He is also the founding chairman of FinTech Alliance.ph and president of the BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. Institute for Growth towards National Inclusion, Transformation, and Empowerment (IGNITE). He released various publications including the award-winning three-volume Inclusive Digital Finance Report and the Uncharted Beyond: The Taxonomy of FinTech in the Philippines.

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connection and an impact to their lives.”

“Banking, not banks, today is all about always-on engagement” — Lito Villanueva, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

One example he cites is the shift in RCBCs mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) business and its rebrand to ATM Go!, which saw Villanueva pull out more than 1,000 mPOS devices that were idle and redeploy them to merchants that had high velocity transactions. This move led to year-on-year growth of 564% and 521% in transaction volume and transaction value respectively, and has seen additional 100 rural banks, microfinance, cooperatives and other merchants engage with the initiative. This type of work has even greater importance within the context of the

Villanueva’s passion for excelling

significant unbanked society in the

in the field of customer engagement

Philippines. “Creating an executive

and experience, and working to help

position like mine is a manifestation of

Filipinos achieve better financial

YGC and RCBC’s wider commitment

lives, is evident. He firmly believes

and drive to contribute in the govern-

that RCBC’s digitalisation will bring

ment’s push to scale inclusive growth

more success in this area. “Acquiring

through technology,” says Villanueva,

customers is relatively straightforward,

adding that new technology will be

keeping them to use your product is

key to serving these customers. “You

another story,” he reflects. “Before

cannot scale anything using legacy or

deploying any new technology, it’s

traditional banking, or through the cur-

critical to understand exactly what the

rent branch network system. Banking,

customer needs - any product has

not banks, today is all about always-on

to evoke emotions, it has to make a

engagement. In achieving this, building w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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R I Z A L C O M M E R C I A L B A N K I N G C O R P O R AT I O N

out an ecosystem with our strategic partners will make the work even more rewarding and exciting. It’s simply O2O, or offline to online and vice versa. In a developing country like the Philippines, you must strike a balance between bricks and clicks.” As we usher in the new decade, 2020 is poised to be a milestone year in creating a robust and sustainable digital economy. It is certain that the Philippines is geared up to make the leap from a lower-middle income 148

nation to an upper-middle income country in the near term. Rooted in an increasing urbanisation and a growing young population, the Philippines’ economy is in a strong standing in the ASEAN region. The fact remains, however, that there is still a digital and financial divide in the region that needs to be bridged. “Filipinos are known to weather socioeconomic trials creatively,” says Villanueva. “‘Diskarte’ is a Filipino slang for resilience, creativity, resourcefulness, and - in some instances - innovation, which of course redounds to surviving against all odds. Simply put, it is GRIT, the Filipino way.” FEBRUARY 2020


“My singular purpose and passion in championing all these initiatives, is to help uplift the lives of Filipinos” — Lito Villanueva, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

In scaling digitalisation with growing consumer adoption, RCBC is launching the Philippines’ first inclusion super app, known as DiskarTech – a fusion of grit and enabling technologies. “With DiskarTech, we will be empowering Filipinos by fuelling their financial aspirations,” Villanueva explains. “It aims to provide equal opportunities in the countryside, catering to the financial access deficient segment to w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com

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be gainfully engaged in the country’s economic activities. Financial

“With all things said, technology is not merely about convenient access. It has to be relevant to make it adaptable, scalable, and sustainable” — Lito Villanueva, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation FEBRUARY 2020

inclusion is, in fact, a journey in itself,” he stresses. DiskarTech is a three-in-one inclusion super app that will unlock the huge potential of every Filipino. In the process, ‘I-preneurs’ will emerge as a growth hack and self-help enabler, allowing enterprising Filipinos to earn from offering DiskarTech sachet banking services. They will now be able to facilitate DiskarTech transactions for


151

Lito Villanueva with Prof. Muhammad Yunus

those who have no mobile phones, or

digital-savvy RCBC President and CEO

those who do not have any data ser-

Eugene Acevedo mean that “2020 will

vice. This is an inclusive intervention

be an exciting year for Filipino consum-

that cuts across segments.

ers as we drive towards accelerating

Villanueva points out that: “With all

inclusive digital finance.”

things said, technology is not merely about convenient access. It has to be relevant to make it adaptable, scalable, and sustainable.” The business, he states, is always evolving. However, he is confident that the strong leadership and clear strategic direction under the dynamic and w w w.f i nte c hma ga z i n e. com


Profile for Gigabit

FinTech Magazine - February 2020  

FinTech Magazine - February 2020