After months of solely digital events, Fintech Week London marks the change and the start to the return of normality, as the first in-person fintech event in London is held since the pandemic began. This week-long event will have senior decision-makers representing the most innovative companies in financial services gathering in the UK capital to discuss the position of London as a Fintech hub post-Brexit.
Over the course of five days in a hybrid format, holding both in-person and virtual panels and discussions, Fintech Week London will welcome executives from high-street banks, digital challengers, technology giants, and new disruptors, who will come together to shine a light on ground-breaking developments in Financial Technology.
The final day of Fintech Week London took a larger look at the fintech scene, investigating how it has been developed and being used across different parts of the globe. The now solely virtual event had panels looking at a variety of different geographical locations included MEA, Asia, and Latin America.
The day began with a panel session on Asia, featuring Emmanuel Daniel, founder of the Asian Banker, King Leung, Head of Fintech at Invest Hong Kong, Musheer Ahmed, founder of Finstep Asia, and Monica Jasuja, VP and Head of Product at Comviva.
“Hong Kong still plays the gateway role,” said Leung when discussing Hong Kong’s purpose in the current fintech market. He continued by saying, “We will be seeing more companies entering the China market to sell fintech solutions.”
Describing how the Asian population have adapted to technology, Jasuja said, “6/7 years ago if you asked someone who is living in poverty to open a bank account, they thought it was actually thought it was a fraudulent transaction as they thought people were taking away their money, they didn’t understand how a bank account works.”
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
After the Asia panel, there was a fireside chat looking at the Middle East: specifically Turkey and Israel. Here, both Mustafa Baltici of KOOPHub and Nir Netzer of The Israeli Fintech Association looked to further explain how Israel was seen as a start-up nation for fintechs and how Turkey has a large population with the potential for fintech to be even further developed. This session carried on the discussion of the middle east following a panel that took place on the first day of Fintech Week London.
The next geographical location that was looked at was Africa. Moderated by Richie Santosdiaz, Head of Middle East & Africa at The Fintech Times, the panel consisted of Olayinka David West, Associate Dean at Lagos Business School, Lebo Mokgabudi CEO at Eaglequest Africa Fintech Advisory, Segun Aina, President at Africa Fintech Network, Ali Hussein, Chairman at Association of Fintechs in Kenya, Michal Szymanski, CEO at Mauritius Africa Fintech Hub.
The panel’s main focus was on the current situation for fintechs in the region, looking at the challenges and opportunities that have arisen. Mokgabudi said, “It [South Africa] still has a high cash economy. It’s nearly impossible for small businesses to access the financial services they need. The rise of challenger banks has offered solutions to this.”
When compared to other regions, the panel pointed out that there are 54 countries within the continent meaning it is a place with unique challenges and needs – there is no one size fits all.
The panel discussed the greater image of fintech development and looked at where Africa fit here. Mokgabudi said, “Because of the lack of financial infrastructure, Africa has leapfrogged straight to digital-first solutions.” Hence, she believed Africa had the potential to be a fintech hub and fintech leader.
The final location discussed was Latin America. With each of the panellists coming from a different country, they gave their insights on how fintechs had grown in the region, and how the pandemic played its part in accelerating the digitisation.
Representing Chile: Angel Sierra from FinteChile; Argentina: Mariano Francisco from Argentina Fintech Association; Brazil: Diego Perez from ABFintechs – The Fintech Association of Brazil; Columbia: Erick Rincon Cardenas from Colombia Fintech; Mexico: Carlos Torres Guzman from YG Consultants.
Each, in turn, discussed how their respective countries had dealt with the pandemic, with many echoing the same sentiment: that the pandemic gave fintechs the opportunity to flourish. Francisco said, “In the last three years, the number of fintechs in Argentina has gone from 100 to 300.”
He was proud of the fact that the “industry creates opportunities for the population” as prior to the pandemic, “between 50 and 70% of the population had bad or no access to banking.” Francisco concluded by establishing how fintech solutions had enabled more people to have access to payments and credit, and all of this was achieved online throughout the pandemic.
Guzman echoed this sentiment by pointing out “only three out of ten Mexicans had access to loans and credit… quarantine pushed Mexicans to use Fintech.”
The panel concluded with all the panellists being optimistic that fintechs had a promising future in the region, with the entire population of each country being able to benefit, not solely the wealthy.