Fintech for Breakfast (1)
Hosted by Dentons
June 1 2015
Dan Morgan (Innovate Finance)
“Fintech” is big business: investment in the UK and Ireland reached £342m in 2014, almost half of the European total. By comparison, however, Silicon Valley pulled in over $2bn. Not bad, given that the word itself has not yet made it into the Oxford English Dictionary. In fact, the term may soon disappear – after all, what branch of financial services won’t be technology-driven by the end of the decade?
Of course, the use of technology in financial services is nothing new. We have been looking at the issue ever since a 1994 essay competition with IBM (winning entry: “Bank to the Future”). What is new, however, is the pace and extent to which technology is driving change – both in terms of institutions’ internal operations, and their interactions with consumers.
London is clearly staking its place as a leading Fintech centre, encouraged by government ministers, accelerators, industry bodies, networking groups and media outlets. What can the CSFI contribute? Already we are looking at a number of areas (blockchain, biometrics, cyberterrorism, digital banking and personal insurance), but what we believe would be useful as well is a monthly round-table surveying the market, policy and regulatory developments that have taken place (and that are coming up on the horizon). This will cover (among other things): sector-wide developments; specific innovations that are capturing consumers, investors and regulators’ attention; upcoming industry events; and industry gossip (if we have any).
The model will be our popular “Brussels for Breakfast” series. Taking up the role of Graham Bishop, we are delighted that Kate Bevan has agreed to lead the briefing each month. For those of you who don’t know Kate, she is a freelance technology journalist whose has written for the FT, the Guardian (where she was an editor), the Times, the Telegraph and so on. She also appears regularly on BBC Television, BBC Radio 4 and Sky News.
I have no idea what Kate will pick out for us – or, in fact, what you the audience will raise (this will, after all, be a caring-and-sharing experience). Most likely, though, we will want to discuss the policy agenda for UK Fintech under the new government, as well the EU’s push for a digital single market and stricter data privacy protections. Funding Circle’s $1bn valuation (moving it into “unicorn” status) will no doubt get a mention – does it tell us anything useful about the overall health and direction of the crowdfunding market? Apple Watch, meanwhile, has propelled wearable tech into the spotlight, generating a host of financial services apps. On the payments front, there is Optimal Payments’ €1.1bn euro reverse takeover of Skrill to dissect. And so on… (you get the idea).
We are also delighted to welcome, as the series’ first guest panellist, Dan Morgan, head of policy and regulation at Innovate Finance. Dan held a number of policy adviser roles – at the CBI, the ABI and the British Retail Consortium – before jumping ship to Innovate Finance, the Fintech trade body launched last year (and which just appointed a new chief executive, Lawrence Wintermeyer).