Fintech Disruptors: Reflections on the 2018 London Fintech Week Conference

July 13, 2018 3 min read

The 5th annual London FinTech Week conference began with an extensive look at the state of the Fintech industry (with a focus on London and Europe), and a categorization of enablers and disruptors in the space. It was attended by a number of Fintech providers who specialize in blockchain, security, and identity in the crypto space, APIs and customer onboarding, AI and data analytics, as well as larger brands e.g. law firms consulting in the space, insurance providers like Aviva, or International Payments providers as TransferWise and WorldRemit.

Vishal Mathur Fintech Week Conference

With global investments standing at $35bn, there’s been massive growth in the Fintech arena, with dominance in China with Ant Financial, and the majority of investments leading towards the loans and payments sector.  Finastra noted the industry winners are those who invest in platform and network (community), for example, Ant Financial, Amazon, and ParentPay, a simple e-payment service using biometrics and prepaid accounts designed for parents and school-age children.

With extensive growth in London and Europe, putting Brexit aside, the industry challenge and much of the agenda concentrated on understanding and acting on the enablers supporting tremendous scale.  Three broad themes emerged throughout the day.

  1. Enabling regulation: which doesn’t hamper innovation, but allows markets to thrive and compete.  There is general regard for consumer-oriented regulations like GDPR, MIFIDII, and PSD2 structures as valuable controls on privacy, security, and trust. (It was noted through the day traditional banking institutions need to win back consumer trust). However, international payments providers such as TransferWise and WorldRemit acknowledge the need for harmonization in regulation at regional and local levels to allow for the growing trend of cross border remittances
  2. Collaboration: Expanding the Fintech pie is entirely possible.  Partnerships and collaboration between large incumbents and smaller Fintech providers are the way forward, and there are several ways of doing this from Accelerators, to M&A, to startup bootcamp investments, to partnership and integration.  As highlighted by Barclays (the Rise) and Aviva, large incumbents are reorganizing themselves in preparation for funding, partnering with, absorbing smaller and innovative Fintech companies, which are in a place to offer value to customers. Note the Insurance industry is playing catch-up, and now is the time for tech providers to develop customer-centered and innovative approaches to creating differentiated, lower risk, lower premium propositions.
  3. Development on the fringes: After years of investment in blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies, and Fintech platforms, there is growing recognition that scale is dependent upon certain enablers to drive customer awareness and engagement.

Software development firms as Innovecs specialize in Fintech and are well placed to support large and small industry players in these and other areas:

  • Digital Identity and Authentication: A way to overcome the complexities in KYC, standardized and harmonized digital identity and authentication services gives consumers and institutions the opportunity to access and share data attributes in a secure, trusted and convenient way.
  • Customer data intelligence and machine learning: Increased and pervasive online usage puts traditional institutions at risk of not retaining the loyalty and engagement with their consumers. Hence there is a need, in the post GDPR world, of improved understanding of customer journey maps, intelligence and predictive analytics based on what consumers need, browse, search, select, purchase and engage with finance.
  • Open Banking and Asset Management: A new set of standards-based APIs allows the development of new 3rd party services based on data and assets held by institutions.  A number of API development houses have emerged to enable competition and innovation.
  • Blockchain apps development: Blockchain use cases extend beyond cryptocurrencies into identity, data management, computation, energy distribution. The business model for Blockchain houses is to build ecosystems of 3rd party services leveraging distributed ledger technology.
  • Financial Inclusion: There has historically been a lack of business cases for traditional banks to include the underserved, low-income demographics in emerging markets. However, financial inclusion has broadened its scope to offer commercial propositions for example international remittances as well as mobile payments, loans, insurance products for underserved sectors including farmers, women, and healthcare providers. Complementing current mobile money deployments, financial institutions and Fintechs are building propositions, compliant with local regulations, for these untapped markets.

It can be argued that customer engagement, regulation, and core product development should remain with the financial institution, while much of what is stated above is delivered by proven software development houses as Innovecs. Delivering on cost and agility, Innovecs has proven expertise in engineering customer-centric platforms and marketplaces, artificial intelligence and machine learning, identity, and authentication, gamification and apps development.

This expertise is vital to scaling Fintech in UK and Europe quickly. The call to action to incumbent and emerging financial service providers and Fintech is to collaborate and leverage this value proposition to build the digital enablers for sector growth.

October 22, 2021
Svetlana Rumyantseva, Project Manager: “I want to see happiness around. And it is usually in small things”
Who did you dream of becoming as a child? I dreamed of becoming a lawyer and defending people’s rights. The most challenging question for me has always been whether I could defend the guilty. I haven’t come up with an answer, even after graduation. Back in the day, I wanted to be a lawyer to uphold justice. How important is family support in becoming an individual and a professional? Were you supported in choosing a career path? Support is critical. Its impact is difficult to overestimate. I realized this, probably at the age of 27. Since I wanted to be a lawyer, I went to study at the law academy. At the end of the fifth year, I realized that I would not be a lawyer. Politics and public administration seemed more interesting to me. My family didn’t stop me; it was me who thought, “Why did I study at all?”. Then I continued my studies, and after graduate school, I did a degree in a completely different specialty — political science. Obviously, I am not a political scientist now. However, during my postgraduate studies, I began to study management not only in the state but also in the project type, which I really liked. Now I want to thank my family, who did not reproach me about the time spent, telling me something like: “You’ve wasted ten years, both specialties are no longer needed, and you are in the middle of nowhere.” Therefore, support is vital. And even if support is not active but passive — being able not to interfere with the development of others. What qualities do you think are most important in your profession? It’s sociability and everything that no one reads in the classic “proper” resume. Stress resistance, purposefulness — these are the qualities. On the one hand, this is a pun, but in fact, a lot is built on those features. Also, I would point out multitasking and the ability to react quickly to circumstances. If something is already out of control, you must first respond to the problem, and only then be afraid that something may not work out. I adore myself for being optimistic. I vote for giggling once more than falling into depression, which no one needs. Practice shows that it is difficult to get angry, despair, and give up when someone smiles and supports you. So is this your superpower that helps you, the team, and inspires other people? Maybe. It’s always good to have someone around who can say with a smile, “It’s no big deal. We’ll figure it out together.” If I can be this person for my surroundings, that’s great. What does your typical workday look like? Sometimes it seems that all working days are the same, but it is nothing like that in reality. Every day is about communicating with numerous people, solving problems, questions, planning for the future, and monitoring what went wrong. Of course, all this is mixed with letters, reports, processing and writing documentation, maintaining contact with all stakeholders. In other words, each of my days is very different and very similar to the previous ones at the same time. What challenges do you encounter in your daily work? As a rule, the most difficult is the challenge of the communication type: to agree, encourage, persuade, approve. Negotiation issues are the most difficult, as they often lie in different areas, for example, the team or the customers. It is imperative to understand everyone and reach a win-win condition. Generally speaking, what is the most difficult thing in your work? Having time and choosing a quality solution in specific conditions. The main task of the manager and me, in particular, is to create the most productive working conditions so that everything is done under the agreement. Sometimes it is necessary to do it before a specific time, on a certain date, or to ease the team’s workload, giving up everything and paying attention to a particular issue. In addition, I have to call everyone, discuss everything, help, and so on. Therefore, the most difficult thing is to squeeze in 24 hours. What helps you in this? It’s the priority system: first, we do the important thing, then comes another important thing, but the one that can wait a bit. Often, tasks that directly affect customers are automatically prioritized. Likewise, the same pertains to controversial issues within the team. I try to plan the day in a way that I deal with work blockages by noon and then do the rest. Therefore, prioritization is our everything. And what is most interesting in your work? Each challenge is exciting in its own way. The most remarkable people constantly surround me; thus, communication is the most complex and exciting. Daily contact with the team and stakeholders always encourages self-development because I learn a lot from them. I am driven by challenges, the process of solving them, and reaching the result. And how do you feel when you see the result? This is the feeling of Zen. We move toward it every day, solving some problems along the way. I rejoice when I see the results of my work and manage to help the team and clients; when the team flaunts its achievements, I see the clients’ positive emotions caused by us. Every little victory is very inspiring. How do you assess the cohesion of your team? How does this affect the result and quality of the task performed? We have a very friendly team, and I think that’s crucial. There are managers supporting work processes in the team purely, but I favor the atmosphere in the team that is family-like and friendly. When you work in cohesion, everyone has a common goal, vision, and one desired result. Unity means you understand each other right away. Everyone knows each other’s thoughts, who does what, what one enjoys and wants. And this motivates me to get things done, help instead of blocking or setting someone up. I like that we have such an atmosphere throughout the gaming division, regardless of the project. Is there a practice in your team where everyone can freely speak their minds? Sure, but certain filtering must be considered, of course — turning information into positive. If it is critical feedback, then it should be constructive. Everyone is mindful of politeness and diplomacy. We focus not only on the result and teamwork but also on personal growth, so everyone is happy to receive constructive feedback on the work. In your opinion, how will technology change your profession in the future? Hopefully, for the better. Developing new games, in any case, will require constant communication and creativity, so it would be nice to see technology help engage the team. Lack of communication can be particularly acute in the distributed and remote teams. I hope that in the future, thanks to technology, we will see: An opportunity to invest less time in the development of new content and have more time for learning, self-development, and family; Technologies becoming lighter and more intuitive for use by both developers and non-technicians; Remote mode getting more smooth and convenient. I totally would like to see positive changes in the remote mode, not only maintaining but also improving the team’s engagement regardless of location. I’d be interested in seeing what it would look like in 5-10 years. But I am positive that communication will remain in the foreground. How should one start learning your profession? I would advise being curious and trying to stay like that all the time. It is essential to read, listen, communicate with people in this field as much as possible. This is how theory is developed as a basis for the practical use of skills. For example, I started my journey as a project coordinator in website development, and in my free time, I practiced making prototypes and mockups. First, I recreated popular services and then came up with my own schemes. Therefore, there are three pillars: curiosity, theory, and practice. What are you studying now, and what would you like to learn in the future? Today I learn everything from my team. Since I am not a technical person, I have an open field of new knowledge and skills in front of me, and I am happy to learn how everything works. In addition, project tasks encourage me to deal with a variety of tools. I have a lot of interesting work ahead that is related to the marketing and analytics of the product we are working on. I have to learn a lot of new things. But this is awesome. In fact, there are a million areas where you can (and in a certain period of time — should) develop. That is, the novelty does not scare you? It is very unreasonable to think that one can know everything. On the contrary, it is essential to be clear about how little you know because that is what motivates you to develop and constantly grow your value. Is there a work/life balance and clear boundaries between work and life outside it? I have no clear borderline between work and life. I can even say that I’ve never had one. Furthermore, I often think about work at home, on weekends, and during vacation. It isn’t easy to let it go because I also plan everything at home. Work and private life always intersect, and so far, I can’t say that it bothers me very much. I may want to draw the line someday, but now it seems difficult to do so for a managerial position. Sometimes a reaction to external or internal issues is required at a very unexpected moment. Do you have new hobbies/hobbies/activities since joining Innovecs? Probably not. However, I assume that the Innovecs’ environment encouraged me to move from dream to action. Thanks partly to my colleagues, I decided to buy a motorcycle. We took trips with our Moto Community, and it was incredible. It seems that if it were not for this motivation from the Community, I would not have dared to buy a motorcycle this moto-season. Innovecs is great no matter what you do and what you would like to do. A variety of Communities constantly is a call to action. You can’t be inert. What inspires you? I’m looking for inspiration in the results. They motivate me to move on to new achievements. I can’t stand still, and I feel bad if nothing happens for half a day. In general, I am very grateful to my colleagues because if I seem to give up at a certain point, the team comes with results and achievements and invigorates me. It’s a kind of perpetual motion machine. What motivates you to stay at Innovecs? People and growth. At Innovecs, our gaming division is hugely passionate. I want to come here, and I don’t want to leave. Which of Innovecs’ corporate culture do you like the most? Innovecs culture is based on people. Our SPECIFIC DNA perfectly reflects a focus on the people we are looking for in teams. Working at Innovecs, I feel that the team, colleagues, and I are treated as individuals with their own interests in the first place, but not as a resource that can be replaced (although business is business). For me, this attitude is important, because we spend most of our time at work. What makes you a happy person? A little of this and that, and everything that does not kill. I love life. I have great friends, a work environment, a family, and I have a hobby — all this inspires and makes me happy. What do you dream about today? Right now, I dream of going to the ocean for the New Year’s celebration. In general, I dream of always being able to fulfill my desires. And I want to see happiness around. And it is usually in small things.