Democratising access to finance: Financial inclusion through fintech
20 February 2018, Istanbul
The concept of financial inclusion and its role in economic development was highlighted at the July G20 summit in Hamburg. Small and medium-sized enterprises have been shown to account for the creation of significant numbers of new jobs and are therefore major contributors to economic growth. Access to finance is clearly an important factor in their development.
However, an estimated 2 billion people around the world lack access to an account for even the most basic financial transactions, such as making deposits and receiving payments.
The world clearly needs an innovative way to democratise finance, and we maintain that fintech can help expand access to finance and equalise opportunities. Lowering the cost of financial services is one way, but we need to explore ever-increasing innovations in technology in areas such as biometric authentication, cryptography, and big data analytics.
The WBAF FinTech Summit 2018 in Istanbul will address the challenges and opportunities of the global fintech ecosystem.
Global equity market leaders — family office managers, wealth management executives, stock exchange executives, financial experts, policymakers, academics, active members of early-stage investment markets, bank executives and WBAF delegates — will come together to discuss a wide range of topics related to transformations in the finance industry through the incorporation of cutting edge technology, including
The trajectory of individual countries towards cashless will be shaped by consumers’ willingness to ditch cash and the readiness of businesses to accept and promote cashless transactions. Governments and regulators will be the key enablers in the development of infrastucture and policies for business and consumers and the facilitators of the transition to a cashless future. New technologies bring new digital alternatives to cash, such as mobile wallets and internet banking, in addition to credit and debit cards. A recent mobile banking survey shows that 34% of individuals in Europe would readily go cashless if given a choice. This panel will attempt to define digital alternatives for a cashless economy. How can governments and regulators come together to create a favourable environment for the fintech ecosystem to accelerate the adoption of mobile banking and digital payments? In this session you will hear insights from different countries about attempts to transition to a cashless society. As cashless takes hold, banks and insurance companies and their network of partners (fintechs, payment companies, and third-parties across other industries) will have to remake the model of financial services. What are the necessary first steps toward this transformation?
The most important problem for banks is that, as they struggle with digitalisation barriers in banking, they are being simultaneously squeezed by having to keep pace with changes in customer behaviour. Some companies create subsidiary fintech businesses in order to encourage innovations outside mainstream banking, while others aggressively turn their business models inside out. This panel will discuss why financial institutions will need to change all of their business models in the near future. What will be the implications of the transformation from a ‘financial products distribution channel’ to a ‘financial consulting distribution channel’ for the financial services industry? What is the exact place of technology companies in the new world of banking? In this session, panellists will attempt to identify potential financial industry responses to fintech innovation.
Humanitarian crises pose a formidable development challenge. The millions of refugees and people forcibly displaced within their own countries are growing in number, placing huge burdens on their host communities and straining the humanitarian sector’s ability to respond. Financial services have an important role to play in helping displaced people overcome adversity and in enabling local economies to thrive. Financial services provide one way to cope with conflicts and natural disasters. But people affected by humanitarian crises are less likely to have a bank account and more likely to rely on informal networks. This panel will attempt to define barriers to financial services in crises, how can innovative financial solutions address the challenges of displaced people? How can regulators engage with innovative solutions to help migrants connect with diaspora finance? How can we develop a special wallet banking system for migrants who have no national ID number or residence permit.Panellists will address the capabilities of donors, public policymakers and financial service providers to develop contingency plans for humanitarian crises.
Interoperability – the ability of different systems to connect with one another – is attracting more attention among digital finance experts. Interoperable payment systems have the potential to make it easier for people to send payments to anyone and receive payments from anyone quickly and cheaply. Financial service providers welcome the new business opportunities that would emerge from this higher volume of transactions, and policymakers see interoperability as means of bringing more poor people into the financial system, thus fostering financial inclusion. However, not everyone is enthusiastic about interoperability. Providers in some markets see a competitive risk in opening their proprietary networks to what some perceive as ‘free riders’. Or they may not perceive a need to make their payment systems interact with others systems. Panel discussants will explore how interoperability can balance competition and coordination and how every stakeholder in the interoperability system can become a winner—instead of some winners and some losers. Should government stand back and let industry lead? Or should government have a strong hand in making things happen? Have we gone beyond technical connections and given sufficient attention to arrangement governance and business incentives? This session will try to formulate answers to these critical questions.
This session will attempt to explore the best type of finance for fintechs from start-up to scale-up to exit. How can crowdfunding platforms, accelerators and personal finance carry a fintech business to angel investors at the seed stage? What sort of angel investor is good for fintech businesses? How can angel investors connect fintech scale-ups with corporate ventures? What are the expectations do CVCs expect from fintech businesses? What would be the best mix of finance for fintech start-ups? What is the best exit strategy for fintechs, and which source of finance would serve best to execute an exit strategy? Panel discussants will define different roles and different financial supports for fintech at different stages of the entrepreneurial journey.
Blockchain is arguably the most disruptive technological innovation in decades. It is built on the concept of a distributed consensus ledger, which leverages a network of computers that jointly create, evolve, and keep track of one immutable history of transactions. That is, it provides a distributed and decentralized digital infrastructure that empowers transactions or exchange of value — including financial assets and auto-executable contracts — in a secure and trusted environment. Banks, fintech startups and other parties are already experimenting with blockchain technology across a number of cases such as KYC, AML, remittances, payments, trade finance, clearing and settlements. In this session, panellists will be sharing their views of blockchain, market trends, industry experiments, and platforms and future roadmaps with live PoC.
With IoT, mobility and cloud reliance, financial institutions are able to provide better customer connection and experience with a greater flexibility. However, many enterprises are not aware of the danger that exists in the process of transformation. The sophistication of modern malware and tactics used by hackers means we are all vulnerable. It’s time to take a different view and build the security architecture of a future that is already underway. Panel members will define the architecture and solution set that addresses the full spectrum of threats during transformation of financial services from on-premises to mobile to cloud and fintech integration
Changing consumer behaviour patterns, especially the desire for digital channels, underlie insurers’ preoccupation with technological advancement. We might tentatively say that the interface between customer and insurer is going to be one of the key battlegrounds going forward, not just in the trivial sense of online portals and chatbots but rather as the ability of insurers and other industry participants to make every part of their operation work for the customer. This session will define the main challenges and opportunities the insurance industry faces and how InsurTech can respond to them.
Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and related data-driven technologies have moved to the forefront of the business technology agenda. Together, they promise real-time analysis, immediate adaptability, and scalable automation. But the actual implementation of AI varies dramatically from function to function — and there are unique challenges to each application. In this session, panellists will examine how AI systems are transforming business operations, rewriting business strategy, and creating new engines for rapid, disruptive growth. The panel will look at best practices in AI for both business and technology professionals in such areas as core AI systems, business intelligence and analytics, commerce, and payments.
Traditional challenges faced by lenders in financing small business have necessitated the use of innovative methods for credit assessment. This session will focus on effective ways to assess the credit worthiness of small businesses through available information which has traditionally not been used for credit assessment. However, it is important to make clear to consumers that mobile credit scoring does not mean that non-creditworthy consumers will now be given loans. Instead, it allows for better assessment of consumers’ risks from new and expanded information sources available via mobile phone and data sources. discussants will explore how fintech can take an active role to create a better bridge between the consumer and financial service providers.