Finovate West Digital Summit

This year we attended the Finovate West Digital Summit conference. Here, we were able to listen to some of the greatest minds at the forefront of the financial technology & services and learn about the latest and greatest innovations in FinTech. There were keynote speakers from across the globe giving phenomenal insights into the digital transformation of the financial industry. The conference was broken down into 5 main categories: Future Banking, Future Lending, Future Tech, Future of SMB Financing, and Future Payments. These categories make up the basis of what is fueling the FinTech and FinServ industries. Below, we will share some key Highlights and biggest Takeaways from the conference: 

Highlights:  

  • Nancy Giordano, a Strategic Futurist, spoke on the importance of learning how to navigate through this new digital economy. “it’s important we take a moment to breathe and notice that we are entering what I call the first productivity revolution.” She said, as she emphasized & encouraged financial services to start preparing & planning for a new digital age.  
  • Jeff Fried, InterSystems, Director of Product Management, talked about the utilization of Machine Learning tools to help guide through and make sense of the massive amounts of data that is being generated today. “Machine Learning is a tool for building resiliency and business success. It’s about targeting the right problems, and FIs need to be robust and agile.” 
  • Kelly SwittGlobal Senior Director at Financial Services Strategy and Strategic Partnerships, emphasized the dawn of a new customer experience, by utilizing the power of API’s & Open Banking, and the shift in customer demand to be more convenient, transparent, and accessible. “We’re seeing changes to the fabric of society, which is becoming technology first, so the industry is asking itself how to innovate, stay relevant and keep up with what’s next.”  
  • Eliel Johnson, Charles Schwab, Vice President focused on a customer centric approach and how building client trust is essential for any business. “Start with discovery and have the humility to iterate and remember that trust is so important – it takes a lifetime to build but only a moment to lose it.” 

Takeaways: 

The financial industry is changing at a rapid pace due to customer demand. People want to be able to make transactions in real time, in the convivence of their home, with data supported analytics to make sure they are making the best financial decision they can. It’s their money and they want it now. While API’s & Open Banking certainly have their benefits in aiding Financial Services through this digital age, they also come with their fair share of vulnerabilities. One thing we were keeping an eye out for during this event was an emphasis on security. The University of Maryland found that hackers attack every 39 seconds, on average 2,244 times per day. (University of Maryland

The bad guys only have to be right once. 

Unfortunately, even with all the great products that were demonstrated, information security was hardly mentioned. Fraud & Identity Theft have plagued the financial industry for decades and have continued to do so within the virtual world. A study done by Varonis showed that only 5% of companies’ folders were properly protected. Stolen credentials or “credential stuffing” are the most common types of cyberattacks in the financial space because they are easy to obtain and provide bad actors with a lot of access to client personal financial data.  

Everything is fine….Until it isn’t. 

There were countless demos on ways to utilize Big Data analytics but none of them mentioned how said data would be/ is being protected. Having a software where “data is aggregated in real-time and thousands of signals are analyzed to help SMBs better understand the health of their businesses via interactive dashboards” is great until a criminal behind a computer screen gains login credentials and has access to all those files. 

 Everything is fine….Until it isn’t. Another point that wasn’t talked about at all during the event was Compliance Regulations. Federal & State legislatures are starting to crack down on data privacy & protection laws, again, due to client demand, however practically no one was talking about it.  

Summary: 

Versatility is key! There were so many amazing demos and products shown at this event, but one thing was clear for sure: People want a “One Stop Shop” for all their financial needs. They want their banking, lending, & investments all in one place. One speaker from the event mentioned that in roughly 5 years we may not even be able to tell the difference between a FinTech company & a FinServ firm which is astonishing! The financial industry is making leaps and bounds trying to keep up with customer demands which could end up making them fairly vulnerable in the long run.