Fintech is a fast-growing industry attracting traditional players, disruptive upstarts and plenty of investment. But who are the leading thinkers, advisers and policymakers lighting the way ahead?
This collection of fintech thought leaders looks at those whose ideas are making an impact; not just at home but further afield, setting the tone for the broader European sector.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of influence (from our perspective embedded in the English language, at least) stems from the UK, which has been held up as as a fintech hub for as long as the sector has existed. This could be set to change post-Brexit, and some of these leaders have portrayed their preoccupation with this seismic shift.
Stephen Moran is the innovation manager at Bank of Ireland (BOI), heading up programmes that delve into – among other things – blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), and PSD2.
Moran also works with the European Banking Federation and the Euro Banking Association to help shape EU policy on cryptocurrencies.
Bank of Ireland proud to host today's @EBFeu Blockchain session with keynote presentations from @DeloitteIreland @codedlogic @_JohnWhelan pic.twitter.com/I9G3SL8Yqz
— Stephen Moran (@moranste) November 25, 2016
Heavily involved with Bank of Ireland’s start-up development, Moran works with BOI Workbench to provide mentor support to early-stage tech – and fintech – start-ups. Outside of the bank, Moran is also an expert mentor in Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab.
Claire Calmejane is in charge of harnessing digital innovations and disruptions to serve Lloyds’ 30m customers and 80,000 employees.
Prior to joining Lloyds, she was visiting scientist at the MIT Centre for Digital Business. Now, she leads Lloyds’ digital centre of excellence and heads up the LBG Innovation Labs, a 50-strong diverse team focused on de-risking the bank’s investments, identifying fintech trends and stimulating creativity.
This summer, Claire told the Inspirefest audience that digital banking is a story that started at her bank seven years ago, and that Lloyds’ customer figures point to a digitised present, not future.
A 14-year veteran at BearingPoint, Robert Bosch is a prominent figure in investment banking and exchanges industries. Earlier this year, he spoke about several crucial digital issues facing modern banks, noting that digital “is not the holy grail”, merely something that must be done.
Based in BearingPoint’s German branch, Bosch’s view on fintech start-ups is to cooperate, rather than compete. Cooperating gives banks access to innovative technology, saving them from having to invest in it themselves.
“In return, fintechs get access to capital and to a large customer base, which enables them to achieve economies of scale and turn a profit,” he said.
The transformation and assurance director at PwC London, Patrick Spens was appointed by the professional services company earlier this year to explore the transformational potential of blockchain, DLT and encryption across all industries, sectors and wider society.
A former regulator, hedge fund founder and city trader with more than 30 years’ experience in the sector, Spens is well placed to advise and guide on all things financial services.
With a seat on the Whitechapel Think Tank – an independent steering group coordinating the UK’s response to DLT – Spens is at the forefront of fintech policy development.
Hazel Moore is co-founder and chair of FirstCapital, an investment bank providing financial advice to tech companies since 1999.
In 2015, she won the Women in Private Equity Award for Best Corporate Finance Adviser, after being named for two consecutive years as one of 100 Women to Watch in the Female FTSE Board Report.
At Inspirefest this summer, Moore introduced the fintech session, saying, “We are just at the beginning of the beginning of the revolution of the financial services that is to come.” She also chastised banks for wasting the opportunity presented by their valuable customer data.
The founder of fintech advisory boutique firm Margaris Advisory, Spiros Margaris was ranked number one global fintech influencer and number two global insuretech influencer by Onalytica.
Margaris serves as senior adviser and investor at DSER.de, Kapilendo.com, Moneymeets.com and an advisory board member at Werthstein.com. He is also a senior adviser to the Fintech Forum and has previous working experience in banking and hedge fund money management.
Great list. More power them!#Women in #FinTech Powerlist for 2016
https://t.co/JA8EcEkHmE @GeorgiaHanias @lwintermeyer @InnFin pic.twitter.com/Yp5idEqILK
— Spiros Margaris (@SpirosMargaris) November 30, 2016
Margaris has over 20 years’ national and international experience in investment management, sales and research for family offices, high net-worth individuals and institutional clients. He is the author of the Brave Step blog.
Devie Mohan is the co-founder and CEO of Burnmark, a fintech research company established in partnership with Berlin-based FinLeap. She is also a market strategist and UK coordinator with FinLeap.
Excited to announce my #fintech research company @burnmark_, in partnership with @FinLeap, and our first report! https://t.co/sFJTravY9Y pic.twitter.com/Z85eSpAv3E
— Devie Mohan (@devie_mohan) October 6, 2016
Mohan has also mentored and consulted with several fintech start-ups and firms, and chiefly made a name for herself as fearless writer and speaker when it comes to fintech trends.
Last year, she was named on SWIFT Innotribe’s Power Women in Fintech list and, in March 2016, City A.M. ranked her among the top 10 most influential people in fintech in the UK.
A fintech and digital disruption devotee, Leda Glyptis is based in London as the director at marketing and consulting company Sapient Global Markets.
She was previously head of innovation for BNY Mellon in EMEA, where she established the EMEA Innovation Centre, which opened last year. The centre brings new ideas and innovations to clients and fintech companies.
Originally from Greece, Glyptis studied political philosophy and went on to do a PhD. Her first job, which was in the defence industry, led her to technology – but the industry wasn’t for her. She then moved into the fintech sector.
Based in London, Richard Lumb is group chief executive of Accenture’s financial services operating group. He is a notable writer and commentator on the fintech industry, having written for The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes and Harvard Business Review, to name but a few.
Lumb also leads Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab in New York, London and Hong Kong, giving early-stage companies the platform to develop.
— Richard Lumb (@RichardLumb1) November 23, 2016
Lumb has a degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the University of Bradford and he recently chaired a panel on fintech at the World Economic Forum.
Based in Dublin, David Dalton is the co-lead of Deloitte’s EMEA Financial Services Blockchain Lab. The lab was announced earlier this year and will focus on developing strategic blockchain capabilities into functioning prototypes to create ‘ready to integrate’ solutions for financial services clients.
The Deloitte blockchain lab will answer the demands of clients who are looking to use blockchain.
Dalton has been with Deloitte for the past six years and has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Trinity College Dublin.
As the UK Treasury’s special envoy for fintech, Burbidge’s role in promoting the UK as the world’s financial innovation leader became uniquely challenging post-Brexit.
Speaking at the 2016 Web Summit, she warned against the pace of innovation, saying, “It is important for the tech industry to realise its civic duty, and not only make things more efficient, but be civic in terms of the services for citizens and the public.”
No surprise then that, with her Passion Capital VC hat on, Burbidge backed Finimize – the London start-up aiming to increase financial literacy among millennials – in a seed funding round.
.@finimize = where The Skimm meets finance; v excited about this team and how it's approaching/addressing millennial financial literacy https://t.co/Spd4SxgeI1
— Eileen Burbidge (@eileentso) November 29, 2016
Having previously worked at Boston Consulting Group and Affine, Florian Graillot moved on to Newfund to begin his career as a venture capital investor. In 2015, he joined the team at AXA Strategic Ventures, a Paris-based global venture capital fund focused on fintech and insurtech.
Last month, he was named the number one insurtech influencer in a top 100 list compiled by Onalytica, for his efforts in noting future fintech trends.
Here is a #blockchain map I initiated to monitor this industry, DM to add #startup. #FinTech https://t.co/mqIOKuAaPo pic.twitter.com/XMfhbtMiZN
— Florian Graillot (@FGraillot) May 9, 2016
Graillot has written articles for TechCrunch on blockchain and bitcoin, and highlights the growth of insurtech investment, as “start-ups are increasingly targeting all the insurance value chain”.
Frances Coppola worked in banking for 17 years. Now she writes about it.
A finance writer with bylines at Forbes and the Financial Times, among others, Coppola draws on those 17 years – as well as an MBA – to offer incisive comment on developments in the financial and fintech sectors.
Mainstream payment platforms are time-sensitive – ppl will pay more for shorter settlement times. No reason this shd not apply to bitcoin.
— (((FrancesCoppola))) (@Frances_Coppola) November 28, 2016
Outside of her regular contributions to these publications, Coppola is the author of Coppola Comment, a finance and economics blog.
A self-described “Twitterer extraordinaire”, Coppola has amassed an extensive following on Twitter, where she shares and discusses the latest news in finance.
A Czech Republic native, Jan Hammer moved to the UK to study at Oxford University. He is currently based in London where he is a partner at Index Ventures, Europe’s largest venture capital fund. Here, he focuses on financial services, leading investment in fintech start-ups such as Robinhood and TransferWise.
What a day to ring the opening bell @NASDAQ on #WebSummit cc @RobinhoodApp @IndexVentures @OANDA pic.twitter.com/1aWZI0n8Mi
— Jan Hammer (@janatindex) November 10, 2016
In an interview with Business Insider UK, Hammer referred to fintech as a fertile ecosystem, saying, “You’ve got capital for start-ups, you’ve got people with entrepreneurial spirit, and you’ve got people with qualifications in that sector.” He believes that there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur.
Richard Gendal Brown
Head of technology at R3, Richard Gendal Brown is a key figure in a burgeoning ledger industry that is revolutionising present-day banking. His move from IBM to R3 last year was a pivotal moment for the consortium.
Brown recently released R3’s Corda product, a distributed ledger designed by the world’s largest financial institutions to manage legal agreements on an automatable and enforceable basis.
An adviser to several firms in cryptocurrency spaces, Brown is a regular on the forum circuit. Most recently, he spoke at the Disruptive Technologies Forum 2016 in London.
Ghela Boskovich founded FemTechGlobal, a community working towards inclusion and diversity in financial services. This network of men and women recognises that diverse teams create better solutions and is active in cities around the world, including fintech hubs like Hong Kong, New York, Singapore and London.
So many on this list, so many more who deserve to be included. You want strong female role models? You're welcome. https://t.co/G2MG9vS23q
— Ghela Boskovich (@GhelaBoskovich) November 30, 2016
Based in London herself, Boskovich is also director of global business development at Zafin, a banking software vendor providing relationship-based pricing and product lifecycle management for banks and financial institutions.
A prolific tweeter, Boskovich is also a regular contributor to fintech publications and discussion online.
In charge of the portfolio for financial stability, financial services and the Capital Markets Union, Valdis Dombrovskis is possibly the most powerful person in the EU when it comes to fintech.
Once prime minister of Latvia, he is now the European Commissioner for the Euro and Social Dialogue as well as vice-president of the European Commission.
Good 2 meet European Financial Services Roundtable on issues important to #banking/#insurance sector – econ gth, #fintech, global standards
— Valdis Dombrovskis (@VDombrovskis) November 28, 2016
Dombrovskis is a graduate with degrees in physics and economics. In 2002, he became a board member of the New Era Party in Latvia and was a member of the Latvian Parliament from 2002 to 2004.
Matthias Kröner is CEO of Fidor, a bank recently acquired by Groupe BPCE.
Kröner has become one of the chief disruptor voices in the fintech environment, helping his entirely online bank catch the fintech revolution on the ground floor.
EY: "48% of customers have complete trust in banks to keep their money safe" 48%? How much was that 20 years ago? https://t.co/DFuT78H8uf
— matthias kroener (@Kroener_M) October 21, 2016
Kröner is a proponent of IT being a modern company’s USP. “If a customer comes to you because of a good price, that means they will leave you just as quick for the same reason,” he told Siliconrepublic.com. Instead, Kröner goes for what he calls “the conceptual advantage”. In this, he means looking at tech companies going down the UX route.
Until earlier this year, Oliver Bussmann worked as chief information officer for UBS Group, instigating the development of bitcoin technology. He was an early recogniser of blockchain as a megatrend that “would reinvent the financial industry”, which helped to establish UBS as a fintech leader in the banking world.
Based in Zurich, Switzerland, he recently founded Bussmann Advisory, which aims to help “global enterprises stay ahead of the digital disruption curve”.
A regular blogger, Bussmann shares his views on his Fintech Pulse blog, writing about blockchain and the role of fintech in the fourth industrial revolution.
Dr Marc Tenbücken
Co-founder of the European Fintech Alliance, Dr Marc Tenbücken is also managing director of Hendricks Schwartz, a specialist high-level advisory firm focused on the EU and North America.
He is a graduate of Universität Konstanz and specialises in the digital economy, the tech industry and the finance sector.
Important #EP hearing on the report of @CvNieuwenhuizen with #fintech @buba0769 @othmar_karas et al. A key day for #fintechEU glad to b here pic.twitter.com/j2Pkv10AaS
— EFA (@eufintechal) November 29, 2016
The European Fintech Alliance was established to help fintech firms represent themselves better in the political arena. Open to all companies active in the fintech business, its first members are Wirecard, Ingenico, SlimPay, Investify, SatoshiPay, OptioPay, Tradico, Crossinx, Ebury and Fintech Group.
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