Article | April 7, 2020
What does it mean to be financially literate? Is it more important to be able to balance a checkbook or to understand the power of compound interest? Does a financially literate person pay down student debt or consumer debt first? And does a truly financially literate person even take on debt in the first place? A growing number of fintechs – many of them Finovate alums you’ll meet below – have devised innovative ways to help young people in particular, become better earners, savers, spenders, and investors.
Article | July 1, 2020
According to a recent CNBC study, only half of American workers report having a mentor, and those who do enjoy greater job satisfaction than their peers who are doing it alone. In fact, 91% of U.S. employees who have mentors say they are satisfied with their jobs. Mentorship is especially important for young financial advisors who are just starting out, trying to get a foothold into the world of wealth management. There’s a lot to learn, and not a lot of room for trial and error. As a result, many would-be advisors give up when things get tough. That’s where mentorship can really make a difference.
Article | August 17, 2021
Powered by Ledgers: Leading Market Experts Predict How Exchange 4.0 will Digitally Transform Financial Market Infrastructure
The move to Exchange 4.0 is well underway, with profound implications for financial markets.
Forward-thinking firms are already positioning themselves for a DLT-fuelled future. But behind the buzzwords, there are lingering questions. What benefits will digitalisation bring, both to trading venues and the market participants they serve? What are the main obstacles to Exchange 4.0, whether they stem from outdated thinking or misaligned stakeholder incentives? And what sort of step-changes can we expect as digitalisation takes off?
In a recent report, Hirander Misra, Chairman and CEO of GMEX Group, and the Realization Group interviewed experts at firms pioneering the new world of crypto asset trading
Alokik Advani, Managing Partner, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures
Charles Kerrigan, Partner, CMS London
Jessica Naga, Director Responsible for Legal and Compliance, SECDEX
Anoop Nannra, Global Blockchain Segment Leader, Amazon Web Services
Nicholas Philpott, Director, Zodia
Duncan Trenholme, Head of Digital Assets, TP ICAP.
We summarise the key highlights and perspectives from virtually every stakeholder group involved in the trend towards digitalisation.
Introducing Exchange 4.0
Just as the world is experiencing a fourth industrial revolution, sometimes called 4IR, financial exchanges are beginning their own technological revolution. The 4IR concept is the driving force behind the Internet of Things, where AI and web technology combine to create smart products. A similar idea is taking hold in the world of financial market infrastructure enabled exchange trading, as DLT, smart contracts and tokenisation make it possible to facilitate true asset portability while linking far-flung liquidity centers.
But there is a great deal of confusion as to how distributed technology will change financial market infrastructure so that it can make the transition, be fit for purpose and what benefits it will bring. There are also significant roadblocks, either in terms of old-fashioned thinking or stakeholders defending their turf. Experts say it is only a matter of time before these obstacles are overcome. The first step, they say, will involve trading venues and participants developing a new mindset, one that embraces open-source practices. As Exchange 4.0 becomes better understood, and as firms move from proof of concept to bottom-line benefits, we can expect a rash of major changes. New trading centers, new products, new ways of doing business and new ways of enabling post trade are all on the way.
Creating the network effect
A growing number of exchanges and trading firms are embracing distributed ledger technology (DLT) and tokenisation, recognising a surge of interest in crypto asset trading from both retail and institutional investors. But many of the venues are replicating silo-based models and missing out on the most important lessons from the digital revolution. DLT, tokenisation and crypto asset trading offer a chance to create much larger market ecosystems by enabling participants to transact across borders more easily and by facilitating asset portability. Rather than divvying up the pie, it’s all about making the pie much larger.
“The key thing about this is asset portability,” says Hirander Misra. “If you look at marketplaces in this space, there are lots of exchanges across the world and there’s tumbleweed growing through most of them. How do you create that network effect? But then also, how do you focus on what you’re really good at?”
Misra says the problem starts with exchanges adopting a silo mentality, where they seek to service clients exclusively rather than building a more collaborative model. Trading, clearing and settlement end up being offered in a closed-in environment. “Essentially these exchanges are just pockets of their own liquidity.”
But the future could soon look very different. “You’re going to see exchanges, custodians and other services interconnect more seamlessly, with the ability to swap services and assets across jurisdictions and across different types of users to get that network effect. This is a construct that I have labelled Exchange 4.0,” Misra says.
What the Experts Expect
Provided that network effect can be created, what sort of benefits can firms look forward to? The list is long and varied.
Alokik Advani:“You have to try this in pockets of smaller assets, where it can be really efficient – private markets, alternative assets, private equity, venture capital, real estate, private debt. All of these things are obscenely inefficient. They trade like bulletin boards today. If you wanted to bring that to some level of an exchange-like infrastructure with a DLT backing and speed of clearing and settlement, it’s a revolution.”
Charles Kerrigan: “You are seeing the move towards digitalisation as a prime example of capitalism forcing change. You are talking about another wave of creative destruction. We have digitalised the front office of financial institutions – what you see as a customer – but the real benefits will come from digitalising the market infrastructure. Crypto shows how this can be done. Payments have learnt from that. Securities issuance is following. We are simply following the logic of the information economy. This is a big one.”
Hirander Misra: “With Exchange 4.0, say you’re an existing exchange and you have existing infrastructure. You may want to set up a digital exchange, but you may not want to replicate everything you have. You may not need another matching engine, you may need digital custody or you may need issuance. The thing about Exchange 4.0 is that you can combine the services you have with services others have or augment what you already have. So, you’re not beholden to creating yet another siloed infrastructure.”
Jessica Naga: “There is something to be said for the countries that take the jump and do this now fast. They will have first movers’ advantage, if they build the necessary legal framework and infrastructural ecosystem in a sustainable way. The clear advantage of technology and FinTech companies is that their business is cross border and therefore from one centre, they can service the world.”
Anoop Nannra: “We look at Exchange 4.0 and the opportunities in terms of creating digital assets on virtually any aspect of our business. I think it’s really exciting, being able to create a futures index based on real-time solar energy production. Right down to the second. You create new patterns and opportunities for liquidity to occur. Capital historically will move to the environments where liquidity is most easily had.”
Nicholas Philpott,: “The locations and the cities that succeed in the future may no longer be the same as the ones at present. It’s a much more even competition now. If you can spin up a virtual exchange with none of that physical infrastructure that opens up the possibility of some very interesting developments as far as the new trading centres of the future are concerned. You’re broadening the market across a bigger spectrum of participants. More people can have access.”
Duncan Trenholme: “It’s possible that some of the private permissioned blockchains get traction in certain areas and solve certain use cases, but over time we believe the open permission-less blockchains will eat market share. The idea of running your own distributed ledger, in a centralised manner, just misses the point of what this technology can do. It’s repeating the limitations of vertical silo’s all over again. As people do connect, they’ll increasingly experience the benefits of transacting on an open, interoperable, and programmable financial system.”
A way forward
All of this leaves traditional venues and market participants having to prepare for a wholesale change in the way they operate while still conducting business in the here and now. At the same time, scores of new exchanges have sprouted up with DLT technology and digital assets that can only be traded on one platform.
By forging the DLT-based world of the future while still servicing traditional assets in traditional ways, we will see a hybrid model which bridges the gap between digital and traditional financial market infrastructure. This will serve to eradicate the current silos and fragmentation to facilitate better portability of assets by interconnecting the whole capital markets value chain of participants, across international nodes (jurisdictions), to more easily trade, clear and settle.
Article | April 4, 2020
Banks have an Essential Role to Play as Systemic Stabilizers.
COVID 19 has created disruptive economic fallout within human society across all religions/races/geographies/countries/continents. The path ahead is hence a dangerous one, driven by epidemiological uncertainty.
While this situation is occurring for the first time in human history, this has also been an eye-opener to have a more comprehensive look at the way we operate. The footfalls of branch banking have decreased to a large extent, and banks have urged customers to use digital channels.
Table of Contents
• COVID 19- An Accelerant to Digital Transformation
• How to Increase Digital Banking Adoption
- Start with a comprehensive plan
- Keep employees morale up to get back on solid ground
- Leverage digital and traditional channels
- Enable Seamless Customer Experience
COVID 19- An Accelerant to Digital Transformation
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is indirectly promoting digital transformation, as many service providers, including banks, have significantly decreased or even closed their offline services, asking their customers to adopt the digital banking for any assistance. This trend is resulting in speeding up digital transformation. But, the question here is, are customers ready for this drastic change?
Yes, slowly yet firmly, Banks are witnessing customers picking up services that have distinguished digital capabilities. The mechanics of customer interaction has quickly shifted from physical handshakes to virtual communication over personal & extensive digital channels.
Learn more: https://capital.report/blogs/6-digital-banking-best-practices-during-the-covid-19-outbreak/8287
Consultant McKinsey & Co, in an article titled Leadership in the time of coronavirus: COVID-19 response and implications for the banks, reports that Banks have already taken a series of actions in reaction to the spread of COVID-19. Common steps we’ve seen include establishing a central task force, curtailing travel, suspending large-scale gatherings, segregating teams, making arrangements for teleworking, and refreshing external-vendor-interaction policies. It also highlights some of the fundamental changes banking organizations are going to need to make in the way they do business.
Workplace dynamics and talent management, already evolving in a digitizing world, maybe durably changed after an extended period of remote working,” it says. “Likewise, customer routines and expectations may also shift further in meaningful proportions, both in terms of digital adaptation and the expectation for proactive communication and care.
How to Increase Digital Banking Adoption
Digital is not a destination but it's a journey with more and more innovations and discoveries happening across multiple industries. But with COVID 19, it is a forced change for human society to adapt to a digital and contactless mechanism for business transactions between individuals or companies across the border (B2B, B2C, B2G, G2G, etc). The countries which are adopting this methodology are more likely to succeed in the new digital paradigm post-Covid 19.
Below are some simple steps you can use to increase customer engagement with digital banking:
Start with a comprehensive plan
To increase awareness of your digital banking platform, it is always essential, to begin with, a first cut action plan. In the current crisis, there are immediate actions banks can take to help retail and small business customers, support the use of digital channels so that customers can bank from home.
In the United States, many banks struggle to increase digital adoption among their customers; for example, nearly half of banking customers either never use their mobile app or do so infrequently.
According to McKinsey& Company, In the United States, the most satisfied customers use digital multiple times per week, the second-most satisfied customers do not use digital at all. The least satisfied banking customers are those who use digital tools infrequently, less than once per month. This is because customers go through a learning curve as they adopt digital tools, and most banks under-support their customers in the adoption journey. In the current environment, banks should redouble their efforts to smooth customers’ transition to digital. Here’s how:
• Easy-to-find and clear communication
• segment-specific campaigns
• remote coaching and advice,
• And unified experiences across each journey, such as written and video explanations for how to accomplish specific digital tasks, along with ways to try them out.
Banking services that involve branch interaction, digital tools can still play an important role by providing information on adjusted hours, essential services, reduced staff numbers, heightened safety precautions, social-distancing measures, and digitally-enabled queuing.
Keep employees morale up to get back on solid ground
One of the first things that can go for a toss in such challenging times is the morale of employees. It is natural for employees to feel frustrated. The uncertainty of the company's future, the fear of recession, and uncertainty around jobs can damage motivation, productivity, and can create a lot of fear among employees.
This entails bank managers to set precise directions for remote teams that are pursuing common goals. Bank managers should also take this opportunity to delegate and empower their employees for decision making. Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation through rewards, clear spans of control, and meaningful appreciation can go a long way in supporting employee morale.
A vital portion of the employees is working from home facing operational challenges, such as internet-bandwidth issues, network connectivity, technology glitches, and childcare priorities. Following practices could help these banks perform a more effective distributed-work environment:
According to McKinsey &Company, following practices could help these banks perform a more effective distributed-work environment:
• Enable technology setup and infrastructure for remote work.
• Supporting remote-work technology and infrastructure
• Assisting employees with home-office setup
• Ensuring adequate VPN bandwidth
• Providing remote application access
• Adopting a suite of digital tools that facilitate effective communication, and decision making, such as videoconferencing, file sharing, real-time communication, coediting, and task management, and
• Ensuring that agents have the necessary tools and resources to handle calls from home while maintaining customer-data-confidentiality standards.
With all these features, it is also critical to ensure that agents are well-equipped with the necessary tools and resources to handle calls from home while maintaining customer-data-confidentiality standards.
Leverage digital and traditional channels
The more frequently a person sees a message, and in more places, the more likely they are to engage and take action. Banks need to maximize awareness by promoting their message across channels. Promote it in their branch and online, on ATM screens and in the call center.
Banks can also find ways to cross-promote digital banking. For example, during the new account opening process, it should encourage consumers to enroll in online banking. Or, if a bank or credit union is doing a credit card promotion, they can use it as an opportunity to cross-promote its mobile app.
Enable Seamless Customer Experience
For banks, spending on customer experience was essential before the current crisis, both from a “good business” perspective and a “good bank” perspective. Now, these aspects are even more relevant. It is highly important for banks to make their genuine concern for their customers clear and to make customer interactions with the bank as easy as possible.
COVID-19 has brought customers already under health and financial stress. They will need ready access to bank products and services. It is now more important, then, to reach customers through digital channels, stay connected through innovative communication channels, meet the needs of vulnerable populations, and stabilize critical infrastructure.
• Banks should encourage more customers to use remote channels and digital products whenever possible.
• Enhancing current digital offerings, identifying key functionalities, that can be improved quickly
• Speeding up the procedure to increase limits on online transactions and simplifying password reset.
• Keeping clients involved via SMS, mobile apps, and digital media
• Minimize disagreeable surprises to customers (such as potential branch lockdowns)
• Encourage fraud-prevention measures, clarify the availability of solutions on digital channels, and
• Define preventive measures to ensure the health and safety of clients and employees in branches.
According to McKinsey & Company, some financial institutions will need to address such technology gaps in order to offer a seamless digital customer experience. This will require planning ahead by scaling infrastructure capacity and network bandwidth, stress testing and scenario planning, managing near-term patches, and identifying urgent weaknesses in architecture.
Learn more: https://capital.report/blogs/9-best-fintech-apps-to-use-while-at-home-during-the-coronavirus-lockdown/8273
All in All
Coronavirus difficulties provide an opportunity for new businesses to thrive based on a new digital reality – completely digital and contactless. Digitalization has found a new meaning and it is going to reach newer areas. The world is thinking about implementing ways to lessen the disruption caused to humanity. This is the perfect time to focus on digital transformation by realizing the necessities accelerating it.