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.
Day two began with an introduction to the day’s events by Raf De Kimpe, as Fintech Week London looked to cover open banking, open finance, financial health, and digital identity.
A keynote from Chris Skinner, Chairman at Fintech Week London, followed in which digitisation and the degree at which the world was accepting this transformation was then discussed. “We’re in this world right now where everything is going digital, and you suddenly realise that as long as you can connect digitally to the network, you can get everything at home… The digital transformation will create human transformation because digital is a way in which we can use technology for good for the planet and for society.
“We move from the age-old world of the government controlling the views of the people to the people controlling the views of the government. That’s the big change in my lifetime. The government doesn’t control the buttons. We control the buttons. We control the clicks. We control the thinking. This is a massive change not just in retail and commerce and manufacturing and technology, but in society and in finance and government and banking.”
Skinner concluded by saying, “We’re organising, governing, creating, innovating visions of technology and finance all in one place, and it’s London, and that’s why I’m delighted to be chairing London Fintech Week, because we’re going to change the world.”
Fintech Week London has hosted a variety of insightful keynote speakers. On the second day of the event, Ron Khalifa was one of these. He spoke about the future of finance in the UK and why open banking is the foundation of the future. “Open banking can help SMEs become more resilient, productive and profitable from cloud accounting and sophisticated cash flow management. It is allowing SMEs to shop around to ensure that their current financial provider is giving them the best deal.”
Open Finance – How Can Increased Financial Engagement Help To Improve Financial Outcomes?
The first panel of the day was moderated by Sameer Gulati, Head of Fintech at Cicero. The panellists included Avinash Agrawal, Product Lead at OpenPayd, Alex Marsh, Head of Klarna UK at Klarna, Kat Cloud, UK Policy Lead at Plaid, Alan Ainsworth, Head of Policy at OBIE, James Allgrove, CRO at Fidel.
Speaking on BNPL integrating with open finance, Marsh said, “There is a vision of choice and value being put back in the hands of consumers – the rise of the super app versus a litter of all these different channels and apps and sites you go to. Having that control gives customers better choice and better value.”
Alan Ainsworth pointed out the success of opening banking as he pointed out four million users of open banking services in the UK. Talking about this, Ainsworth said, “The good thing about this [open banking] is that its proven technology, and it’s proven that it works. That means that when open finance propositions start to come to market there is an established ecosystem there: established players, established fintechs, and consumers and SMEs who know how the whole thing works.”
Discussing ways to further the four million figure to reach 20 million, Ainsworth said, “We need the regulator to do what open banking providers have been doing and collaborate, collaborate, collaborate to ensure we have a regulatory regime fit for open finance, fit for smart data. So while that’s not a criticism of the regulators, I do not see a lot of constructive, single pieces of legislation here to make this happen.”
Identity of People: Identification, Identity for Age Verification, Personal Identity for Business, Identity for Travel, Privacy
This session revolved around the evolution of digital identification, including biometrics and the fear of new verification. The panel consisted of John Abbott, CBO and CMO at Yoti, Irra Ariella Khi, CEO at Zamna, Andrew Bud, Founder and CEO of iProov, and Edgar Whitley, researcher at the London School of Economics.
On the fear of verification, Bud said, “What happens if my face gets hacked? It is irrational but these narratives build up. We have to chip away at them with logical reasoning.”
Yoti explained how a trust contract must be made so people trust where their data goes. The data cannot be accessed or sold – creating a personal wallet for someone. Bud built on this by saying, “The UK has its own troubles and tribulations when it comes to digital identity and where this trust framework will very well prove to be the next step towards the future that may prove useful in other territories as well.”
Identity of Things: Wearables, Smartcities, Automotive, Devices/Biometrics
This session looked at IoT and had and established what a “thing” was. On the panel were Keiron Dalton, VP and UK Country Manager at Prove, Andrew Till, General Manager of Automotive at Trustonic, and Terrie Smith, CEO at DIGISEQ. It was moderated by Steve Pannifer, COO at Hyperion.
Terrie Smith kicked off the conversation on what a “thing” in this context, using a Golden globe registration as an example. “The Golden Globe today carries a chip… What this did is give the globe an identity to prove when someone wants to buy a globe on the internet and they said it belongs to Madonna, you can absolutely categorically prove it didn’t belong to Madonna.”
Andrew Till said, “When devices have identities you can start creating chains of trust and you can create provenance, but also the ownership that goes with that so if I want to connect my friends, my card to my TV and create a dynamic chain of trust between those three devices, so they can exchange information that can simplify my life.”
IoT is essentially trying to establish rules for connectivity, meaning there is a need for regulation. Smith finished by the session by establishing that the payments industry itself is just a bunch of rules about what connect. You have a card with a chip in it, and then there are rules around what you’re allowed to do with it.” The panellists agreed this was the purpose of IoT.