EXCLUSIVE: FinTech Talents – Discussion, Debate and a few Drinks to go!
The 15th of November 2021 saw the return of FinTech Talents Festival, a hybrid FinTech conference combining both in-person networking and digital presentations of key discussions in the FinTech community. The Brewery London, for two days became home to some of the biggest financial institutions, neo-banks, alternative lenders, building societies and credit unions as people from all over came to discuss all things FinTech (over a refreshing craft beer or two!).
Although a festival, the event considers itself a community, a generative hub of C-Level executives able to mingle amongst startup founders to debate and discuss. A large part of the festival was shaped around these debates and topics on the forefront of FinTech, ranging from ‘Should FinTech’s have to take a form of Hippocratic Oath?’ to ‘How to build a Greenfield bank (within a bank)’. With individuals such as Charlotte Croswell, Open Banking Chair and Trustee, Louise Smith, Chief Digital Officer at Lloyds as well as Arkaprabha Sircar, Director of Strategy at TSB Bank amongst the many taking part in these discussions, the calibre of guests, speakers and discussions being had was on the cutting edge of the industry.
The return to in person networking was clearly welcomed by all; with open booths set up to encourage discussion, FinTech Talents really hit the nail on the head with regards to facilitating important interaction. The festival day began with an interesting talk regarding the current state of UK FinTech and was followed by discussion on the topic of Open Banking from the perspective of a consumer and how best they can be educated to learn and begin to trust Open Banking.
With 75% of attendees from financial institutions (25% from FinTech and other Tech providers and 65% of all delegates C-level) one couldn’t help but feel that FinTech Talents was the frontline of the progression of FinTech and finance. The self-proclaimed community welcomes 20,000 monthly web visitors, over 55,000 social media followers and regularly works with over 20 well-known global fintech influencers. This situates FinTech Talents as a unique Festival perfectly equipped with garnering both an impressive presence on the ground and also digitally which was utilised throughout, with there only being 90 minutes in total throughout the day in which something was not being streamed.
One of the most impactful moments of the festival was the discussion regarding the future of FinTech, the impact it has on the lives of individuals and whether FinTech’s should have to swear a hippocratic-esq oath to do no harm to its customers. The star-studded panel tasked with answering this question was made up of Diana Carrasco, Managing Director and Head of Merchant services at Lloyds Banking Group, Joerg Guenther, Managing Director, Global CO-Head of Securities Services Operations and Technology at Citi as well Louise Smith Chief Digital Officer at Lloyds and each brought a unique take to what the question was asking. With the debate chaired by Nina Mohanty, CEO of Bloom Money, I knew we were in for a stimulating chat and I was not disappointed.
Joerg when answering the question addressed the relevancy of a FinTech hippocratic oath when looking to the future of FinTech which is intertwined with AI and machine Learning. Contrastingly, Louise drew upon her vast experience within the world of finance, approaching the debate from the standpoint of a seasoned veteran, pointing out the difficulties in establishing a FinTech hippocratic oath let alone the ramifications should it be implemented. Each were pressed to delve deeper into their own perspectives questions their motivations and for me set the tone for the rest of the festival that we might not have all the answers or know what the future of FinTech is but discussions and conferences such as these are all a step in the right direction to clear the somewhat murky waters.
I caught up with Henry Stanley from Mast, who are building a cloud-native mortgage technology to help lenders process more mortgage applications in less time. When asked about what he thought of the event and the return to in person conferences he said that ‘it’s strange to be back in a room with so many people, but it’s much more productive and fun to build connections in-person rather than over zoom’. This was a point echoed throughout the event from speakers to attendees to organisers, the return has been welcomed with open arms and hopefully events such as FinTech Talent will be the springboard which shows that in-person can be done.
When Henry was asked similarly about his favourite part of the event he told us that ‘it’s been fantastic to have the opportunity for Mast to participate in some of the panel discussions’. With these discussions really bringing everyone from all different backgrounds and companies together has meant that discussion has been diverse and very thought provoking. As day two comes to a close we can look back on FinTech Talents Festival fondly, with connections made and interesting debates. The Festival did an excellent job in educating, informing and creating a safe space for important conversations and facilitating the face-to-face networking we have been craving.
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