FinTech North News and Regional FinTech Developments

FinTech North, Leeds – Event Round Up

On Wednesday 18th September, the FinTech North community gathered once more to network and discuss industry developments. Today’s event was hosted in partnership with KPMG and featured some fantastic speakers representing a great cross-section of the FinTech North community. Here’s a roundup of what went on and what was said so you can catch up and pick up some of the soundbites!

For those who don’t already know us, a brief summary; since 2016 FinTech North has run 41 events across the north, including 7 full day conferences, whilst operating on a not for profit basis. Our Director Julian Wells also mentioned the FinTech National Network, which was recently announced and has seen FinTech North work in partnership with Innovate Finance, FinTech Scotland, FinTech Wales, FinTech Northern Ireland, and FinTech West. You can read more about that here.

Richard Little, Head of Regional Financial Services at KPMG, gave a warm welcome on behalf of our hosts for the morning. Richard then handed over to Anton Ruddenklau, Global co-head of FinTech at KPMG.

Anton delivered an overview of developments in UK FinTech, starting with an anecdote about the first 2 shops he visited when moving to Leeds being the now defunct HMV and struggling M&S; which framed the remaining discussions perfectly and set the scene as one of disruption and innovation.

Anton presented the FinTech sector as the dynamic and high-growth sector it is, but one that could be doing even more. UK FinTech is a $6bn business for the UK, but that is only a fraction of the $132bn that Financial Services is worth to the UK economy.

“Payments should underpin the way the digital economy works going forward” – Anton Ruddenklau

Anton touched upon the ethicality and portability of data, as well as mentioning the Carbon Economy and the trillions needed for the UK to meet its climate targets.

Looking further ahead at demographic change, Anton and KPMG see the need for the democratisation of wealth management and a de-mystification of Financial Services for the whole population. We are already seeing this around us with the gamification of saving, with the example of EducationTech encouraging school kids to become fiscally responsible from an early age.

Sarah Tierney, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Nesta Challenges, was next up. Nesta is an innovation foundation that looks to support innovation via an array of funding schemes and programs, one of which being the Open UP 2020 Challenge.

Open Up is a challenge in open banking looking to encourage FinTech start-ups to better serve consumers in financial inclusion and day to day banking. Each of the finalists in the challenge will receive up to £300,000 in equity-free funds, as well as other mentoring support by specialists in the industry.

More details on the application can be found here. The closing date is 2nd October. Finalists announced on November 6, main winners are announced in July 2020.

The key segments (use cases) Nesta are interested in are as follows:

  • PCA switching
  • Overdraft bundling
  • Savings sweeping
  • More affordable credit
  • Micro payments savings
  • Robo financial management

Martin Hill, Managing Director of DealTrak, was next up introducing DealTrak as the most effective way to tackle inefficiencies in the Motor Finance and Insurance industries, with the DealTrak platform integrating everyone involved in the F&I process.

Efficiency is important to speed up the sales process and in improving lender relationships. This is doubly significant for the Motor Finance industry as the return on investment on a new car sale is on average, 1.5%. The F&I market is therefore increasingly becoming the largest revenue stream in the industry.

DealTrak creates efficiencies with its Rules engine, allowing clients to configure options and parameters, dealing with them fairly and consistently. Other ways in which the platform helps drive efficiency is through its ‘soft search’ function and its ‘Inside Trak’ tool for Brokers.

Michele Booth, Senior Knowledge and Robotics Manager at HSBC, then explained HSBC’s conversational banking. The purpose of which is to help migrate HSBC customers to self-service/non-voice channels, whilst still providing multi-channel options for customers to use if they so wish, in turn supporting their customers in a world where technology is changing all the time.

Some of HSBC’s front-line employees, those most involved in the customer journey, have helped shape the conversation for HSBC chat-bots, allowing HSBC to blend analogue and digital technologies to give customers 24/7 access to the bank’s services regardless of what channel is used.

Conversational Banking is:

  • Providing support for customers in a world with rapid technological advancements
  • Moving away from single channel
  • Building relationships with customers

Finally, Richard Hayes, CEO at Mojo Mortgages, talked us through Mojo’s journey and the concept of a Mortgage FinTech.

“Mortgage FinTech – sounds sexier than it actually is!” – Richard Hayes

Richard gave us some context behind the UK Mortgage market, which is the largest in the UK, weighing in at £267bn in 2017. Despite that, getting a mortgage is still all too often a difficult process, with 28% of customers ranking it in their top 3 most stressful life moments.

Mojo’s highly customer-centric model empowers users and also provides a great channel mix. Customers are enjoying a 65% faster service – on average Mojo takes 14 days from application to mortgage offer.

How Mojo differentiate themselves:

  • Instant mortgage comparison
  • Unique partnership platform
  • More capital efficient (better deal)
  • Experienced founders

Mojo are looking to expand their proposition over the next 12 months and improve customer and lender experience. They also have their ‘Mortgage Score’ tool on the horizon before the end of the year, launching a service which points out things customers can do to get mortgage ready.

We then moved onto the Q&A, with our speakers forming the panel.

On the challenge with over 300 dialects being spoken in the UK:

Michele – “Really, really interesting and funny actually, we have a million ways to ask the same thing. We saw the need to move away from a ‘menu’ model and offer personalised options for individual customers. Our chat bots are therefore best built by those who are closest to the customer journey, our conversational designers.”

On the experience of growing a FinTech business in Leeds, hiring talent etc:

Martin – “The pull of Leeds and the city centre was clear and has been recognised as key. All our main posts were filled in 8 weeks once Leeds was announced. Involving our people in the fit-out has proved key for loyalty and the space now certainly helps with the recruitment process”

“Technology doesn’t create disruption, proposition does” – Richard Hayes

On the ‘echo-chamber’; talking to and engaging with customers:

Anton – “Lots of organisations are doing different things, going through consumer organisations and even bringing them into the process is a good idea. Financial Services organisations have traditionally built big ivory towers keeping them away from the customer. Linear thinking has lead to this, flip the process to bring customers in at the earliest possible stage”

Richard – “Agreed, research comes first”

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