In the afternoon of May 15th, FinTech experts from all over the world got together at ICT Spring in Luxembourg to discuss cutting-edge innovation in financial services, but also addressed the cooperation between banks and innovative companies, and more generally the digitalization of the entire industry.

Hans van Grieken (Deloitte EMEA Technology Research & Insights Leader, Deloitte NL) took the role of Master of ceremony and introduced this session, comparing innovation in financial services to aircrafts. He then shared three scenarios: the online bank (with its multichannel user experience), the digital bank (omnichannel UX) and the financial services platforms. He then asked the following question: when keeping the bank in place and when building FinTech capabilities on top, how do you make sure it works?

He then welcomed Marie-Hélène Massard (CEO, AXA Wealth Europe & AXA Luxembourg) and Jonathan Prince (Co-Founder, Finologee) on stage for a fireside chat session on the digitalization of the insurance industry. "Until recently, the insurance industry was not considered as a leader regarding the use of technology. But we woke up and even if the impact of digital is not yet visible from the customer point of view, we are fully rethinking our strategy to fully benefit from technology" started Mrs. Massard. She then explained that digital was clearly going to improve the customer experience and efficiency. Moreover, it also brings opportunities to put regulation and compliance under control, since financial players have to collect a lot of data on the customer and analyze it. The two experts then discussed the creation of new business models, and how to manage these changes. According to the CEO of AXA Luxembourg, her company is benefiting from the competencies and knowledge of global company, while still cooperating with global actors: a pragmatic approach. She concluded her presentation with a word on gender diversity, giving pieces of advice to girls wishing to work in the fields of finance and technology.

Antonio Corpas (CEO & Managing Director, OneLife) took the stage to present the digital evolution of his life-insurance company, through several initiatives lead in the last 3 years. "The feedback we got internally when we announced our digital strategy was that life-insurance was too traditional to be digitalized, but our clients and partners wanted us to be first in class" explained Mr. Corpas. He continued: "It had to start with our people, thanks to providing additional education and onboarding processes, to later make them ambassadors. Digital is not all about technology, you need the people". He then gave more details on the several digital projects that have been lead since the launch of this strategy, from the organization of workshops, a two-day event called the Digital Days, to the generation of leads through social media and the creation of relevant content. "Digital is a fascinating journey, and it takes the power of people and techno to succeed," he concluded.

A round table discussion followed, with Florian Graillot (Partner, and Nathalie Knops (Head of Business Transformation, Retail & Digital Banking, BIL). It was moderated by Hans van Grieken. According to Mr. Graillot, startups that are doing well in Europe are mainly focusing on serving one single need: they think about a specific product and how it can deliver value to the customer. Mrs Knops agreed: "We need to focus first on those kinds of FinTech that can scale in the heart of the business, by digitalizing the existent rather than creating new business lines". On cooperating with startups, she added that it is crucial to understand the way they work, understand their culture and not trying to change them, because the way they are and operate is their main strength. Finally, Florian Graillot shared a piece of advice: start small with a Proof of Concept that impacts a limited part of customers, and then work with the startup and an investment company to start scaling.

Alex Panican (Head of Partnerships and Ecosystem, LHoFT) then lead a fireside chat with Pascal Bouvier (Fintech Venture Capital Investor), Nick Wakefield (Managing Director Europe, BAMBU) and Joe Seunghyun Cho (Co-founder & Chairman at Marvelstone Group & Co-founder & Founding CEO at LATTICE80). Pascal Bouvier first gave the audience more details about the FinTech Europe 2018 program and its presence in Luxembourg: "the country is quite unique thanks to the collaboration between the government, regulators, startups and the businesses that are already established here". Mr. Cho could only agree, stating that Europe was the place to build a legal framework for FinTech. And Mr. Wakefield added that getting in touch with the right person was much easier in Luxembourg than in other FinTech hubs over the world, giving the country a strong advantage. On new customer needs, he added that wealth management was also undergoing digitalization with the creation of apps, but also robo-advisors. Finally, Pascal Bouvier stated that when investing in a company, he was actually investing in people he believes in. He concluded: "In order to build a hub with a strong network, all stakeholders are needed, including investors".

The organizers also welcomed Christer Holloman (CEO and Co-founder, Divido) who shared examples of why and how banks partner successfully with FinTechs. In today's context, banks are facing more and more competition, and it has become unrealistic to think that they can do everything in house. Also, they often struggle with legacy. Therefore, he advocated the normalization of partnerships between traditional players and startups, not only in the financial sector. Several types of collaboration are available: they can either invest, acquire or partner – a collaboration benefiting both parties. Mr. Holloman added that the DNA of successful partnerships were the following: senior management buy-in support, the use of an external facilitator, having a dedicated contact person, adopting onboarding and due diligence processes and finally defining a clear ROI.

The moderator then welcomed Xavier Turquin (Deloitte Digital Ideator, Deloitte Digital) who shared the results of a survey conducted by the consulting firm in a presentation entitled "5 Things Every Luxembourg Banking Executive Should Know About Digital". First, he told that banks in Luxembourg are not yet delivering the level of digital services that customers are expecting as only 32% of the functionalities are covered when digital champions are closer to 50%. Then, he highlighted the fact that digital champions are more driven by market pressure than visionary leaders: the local environment creates digital champions, and it seems that pressure is not big enough in Luxembourg, which could be a threat as companies that do not deliver can become targets for new entrants. Fortunately, PSD2 and FinTechs will increase market pressure and Luxembourg therefore becomes a prey for digital champions. "Winners will be determined by banks that embrace the future of banking first: open banking and beyond banking," he added. Also, "today's digital champions are not guaranteed to be the digital champions of tomorrow. It is not too late for banks in Luxembourg. They need to open themselves and go beyond banking by delivering new experiences". Finally, according to the survey, banks need objective data to make strategy decision about moving forward in the post-PSD2 world: which role are they going to have in the value chain?


The day ended with a startup Insights session featuring Vladimir Khanumyan (Chairman, VNX) and Niall Bellabarba (Director International, Elinvar).


Alexandre Keilmann

Photos: Dominique Gaul

Publié le 17 mai 2018