COLLAB/COLLIDE INNOVATION EVENT

Stephen Huppert is Head of Product Innovation at Trustee Partners and has had over 25 years experience in the superannuation, wealth management and life insurance industries. Stephen recently attended FinTech Australia’s Collab/Collide Innovation Event, Australia’s premier knowledge-exchange summit of all things FinTech. You can find his exclusive report of Day 1 of the event below.

FinTech Australia held its inaugural national summit in the first week of November. I attended day 1 that had a good line up of speakers looking at the FinTech industry from different perspectives. Day 2 was a range of workshops and masterclasses for the startup community.

FinTech Australia is in its first year and is the peak body for fintech organisations in Australia. It focuses on  four major streams of activity on behalf of its members – advocacy, support, promotion and connection.

One of the highlights of the morning session was the presentation of the FinTech Australia Census prepared for FinTech Australia by EY. The census is a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the Australian fintech ecosystem. There are over 250 fintech companies in Australia and 163 responded to the census to provide an excellent cross-section of the industry.

The average age of founders is 41 and 87% are male. Lending and Personal finance/asset management represent the largest types of FinTechs representing 25% and 21% respectively.  The full report can be downloaded from fintechauscensus.ey.com.

Bryan Chao from Dianrong, a Chinese peer-to-peer lender, talked about how fintechs are making strong headway into transactions processing in China with the banks becoming a platform for storing money only. There are over 2,000 peer-to-peer lenders in China providing $76 billion of loans.

The Australian alternative finance sector is slowly growing and panel of providers discussed its progress. I was interested in how they focused on both sides of the transaction. For borrowers the value proposition was not just access to capital but also a strong focus on customer experience. Stuart Stoyan from MoneyPlace proudly reported some feedback from a customer: You evaluated and funded my loan before the bank even returned my call. Charlotte Petris from Timelio also talked about the value proposition for lenders – they are creating a new asset class.

The panel on payments discussed the reluctance of banks in Australia to provide open APIs and open data, both essential for innovation to occur. There was consensus that regulation is required but that the government should mandate outcomes and leave room for innovation.  There was a similar discussion during the panel on data with Ismail Chaib from the Open Bank Project in Germany said “Culture is a bigger barrier to banks sharing data than security”.

Other sessions covered digital wealth management, the social impact of fintech, and regulation and risk. As well as an opportunity to listen to and debate important aspects of the fintech ecosystem, the summit provide good opportunities for all interested in the future of financial services. Well done FinTech Australia and I look forward attending next year.