20 fintech influencers you need to know

2 Dec 2016

Image: Denis Anikin/Shutterstock

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?

Fintech 2017

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.

Inspirefest 2017

Stephen Moran

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.

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

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.

Robert Bosch

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.

Patrick Spens

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.

Fintech Influencers: Patrick Spens, PwC

Patrick Spens, transformation and assurance director, PwC UK. Image: PwC/YouTube

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

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.

Spiros Margaris

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.

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

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.

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.

Leda Glyptis

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.

Richard Lumb

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.

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.

David Dalton

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.

Eileen Burbidge

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.

Florian Graillot

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.

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

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.

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.

Jan Hammer

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.

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

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.

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.

Valdis Dombrovskis

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.

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

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.

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.

Oliver Bussmann

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.

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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