Full house at Cass Innovation in Financial Services event

Experts discussed the changes in the way we manage our money and interact with banks

Our Innovation in Financial Services event earlier in November was designed to illustrate how new technologies, such as blockchain, digital wallets and robo-advisors, and  new players, such as Fintech start-ups and challenger banks, are changing the way we manage our money and interact with banks.

The high-profile panel, moderated by Professor Barbara Casu Lukac , Director, Centre for Banking Research, Cass Business School, included Julian Sawyer (COO at Starling Bank); Daniel Apple (Director at Deloitte Financial Services); Murali V Akella (Head of Banks BD at TransferWise) and George Robson (Premium Product at Revolut).

The panel discussion started by looking at new trends in the FinTech space in 2018. One clear answer that emerged from the discussion is the increased potential for collaboration between traditional banks and start-ups.

Whether there is such a thing as too much tech was also explored. For example, customers are asking digital banks for facilities to pay in cash and cheques. While cheques can now be paid in via in-app digital cheque imaging - that’s not a viable solution for cash.  Building on the issue of more collaboration between traditional players and innovator, Starling Bank discussed their partnership with the Post Office as an example of possible cooperation that do not necessarily include banks.

The panellists discussed the opportunities for expanding current business, for example focusing on premium accounts or on the provision of services to small and medium size enterprises. The challenges coming from big players outside the financial industry were also discussed. A common theme was trust and whether the big tech firms can be trusted with our finances.

An important question related to the impact of technology on financial inclusion and how to make sure that an increasing digital divide does not make financial services more remote and inaccessible to larger parts of the population.

The discussion also considered the risks that innovation brings to the financial services industry, particularly in terms of identity fraud, data theft and cyber-crime. An interesting Q&A with the audience closed the event and gave the panellist the opportunity to discuss the Open Banking initiative, which was greeted with some scepticism as to the merits and perceived gains.

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