04.03.2015

Exploring the new FinTech models: this is what tomorrow’s finances will look like

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Image | Antana

Technology is a wave impacting every sphere: education, health, entrepreneurship and, of course, the economy. The way we store our money and make payments is more and more automated, as the prevailing processes abandon the world of paper. Digital options mean that we are increasingly less dependent on material objects, and we centre everything on just one: our smartphones.

4Years From Now (4YFN) has brought together major experts on the economy, technology and digital channels to discuss what the new financial models applied to technology will be like. Jennifer L. Schenker (Informilo) moderated a discussion with speakers Adam Kostyál (NASDAQ), Philippe Gelis (Kantox), Yoni Assia (eToro), Jeremy Nicholds (Visa Europe) and Pol Navarro, Head of Digital Transformation at Banc Sabadell, sharing their points of view at the “FinTech Innovation Models For the Digital Age” forum.

The idea is clear: henceforth the trend is for all banking processes, at both the corporate level and directly for end clients, to take place in a way that is faster and more economical; in short, towards improvement. The five leading experts, representing very different financial organizations, have been exploring how the banking sector is preparing for a future that, without a doubt, will force them to place disruptive business models into operation.

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One of the discussion’s recurrent themes was the concept of trust. Both users of clearly innovative investment companies, like eToro, and those of traditional business models, like Visa, Nasdaq and Banc Sabadell, need for the company in which they deposit their money to instil them with trust. A change is coming about not only in the way transactions are carried out, but also in the way finances are understood.  Digital technologies have spurred users featuring profiles who never would have previously become involved in this type of industry to now actively participate on the stock market and in investment funds.

The transparency of the digital era is a plus that both Kantox and eToro have managed to take advantage of to grow their companies, clearly committed to a business model based on trust. The largest organisations – like Visa, Nasdaq and Banc Sabadell – believe that the key to the business model evolving towards mobile-based payment is to convince consumers to accept the established structure. In 2015, and especially in 2016, forecasts call for a change in users’ willingness to buy through mobile devices. The role of banks, then, is to motivate these users by fortifying security policies and establishing simple procedures prioritising speed.

In the words of Pol Navarro at Banc Sabadell, the digital sphere is not just a question of technology: the key is to make a cultural shift. In order to promote this change the work processes employed by those in leadership positions (upper management) must change, in which case the technology will automatically follow. Banc Sabadell boosts its customers’ trust through a transparent platform that facilitates the relationship between the user and his financial manager. At the same time it supports an innovation program in collaboration with startups in a continuous search for products and services that, based on mobile technology, can be applied to current banking processes. Through an open platform they encourage exchanges of ideas to enrich their users, collaborators, and, ultimately, the sector.

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The larger banks like Banc Sabadell are fighting the opacity of the current system with transparency. Only values like transparency will usher users into the digital era, and this will be achieved through communications based on trust.

Little by little the former lines existing between the big banks and digital companies are blurring. The financial model of the future, then, will combine features of both, in an extension of trust, this time between organisations, developed through the interchange of good practices.

In summary, four years from now projections call for 60% of transactions to be carried out on mobile devices, as more and more banks will build business models based on digital technology.