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My key takeouts from our Curious Thinkers event

Bianca Bates and Leda Glyptis

We recently held our inaugural client conference ‘Curious Thinkers’ where local and international experts presented on the topics that are front of mind in the payments space. My key take out from the Conference was that now, more than ever, it is essential for financial services organisations to clearly understand their customers’ expectations. They then need to be able to respond quickly to those expectations while managing an increasingly complex compliance and regulatory environment.

Here are some other learnings which may help navigate the current landscape:

The importance of picking the right partners

Collaboration and partnering are essential to succeed in the current market. Leda Glyptis’s thoughts on partnership resonated with me. Leda highlighted the options available to financial institutions in this age of digital disruption and greater open-ness. I loved Leda’s tips on picking the right partner and which partners to avoid at all costs:

  • Vampires – companies that fundamentally undermine or steal our business
  • Cheese sandwiches – companies that add no value (this came from rowing, where you can tell the value of each rower by replacing them with a cheese sandwich and measuring the difference in boat speed)

Fraud prevention for the future

Nuno Sebastiao, the global CEO of our fraud partner Feedzai, outlined the capabilities of the Feedzai platform, including machine learning and AI. Nuno and his team’s presentations during the day reinforced our decision to roll out the Feedzai fraud solution. It is a best-in-class fraud monitoring tool that provides us and our clients with a holistic, and highly granular, view of each end customer. The ability to intimately know someone’s spending patterns, and so detect when something is out of character, will be crucial in preventing future fraud.

The role of regulators in a time of change

Change is not new, of course… But what is unsettling for today’s financial institutions is the sheer pace of change.” Wayne Byres provided a timely and useful perspective on the challenges facing regulators and financial services companies today. In particular, he highlighted:

  • The role APRA plays role in promoting stability, but not protecting regulated entities or standing in the way of change
  • The necessity for many financial institutions to increase their technology budgets to allow new technologies while maintaining their current systems
  • APRA’s position on cloud usage, including safety and security

On the way to open banking

Scott Farrell, the Chair of the Australian Government’s Review into Open Banking, reminded us of the principles behind Open Banking: “to give customers more control over their data leading to more choice in banking and more convenience in managing their money.” Whilst many are concentrating on the compliance requirements that sit with open banking, we are really focussed on how we can enable some real growth opportunities for our clients in an open banking environment.

The ‘youthquake’ is coming – we’d better be ready.

Rocky Scopelliti outlined how the millennial generation views work, banking and the digital world. Two points which struck me in particular were:

  • Millennials are motivated by ‘purpose’ and ‘social equity’ more so than other generations.
  • Being online, or connected, is “as natural to them as breathing”. A great reminder of how crucial digital and mobile banking is to our future.

Innovation is over-used, but under-utilised.

We all talk about how important ‘innovation’ is, but if we’re honest, most of us don’t back up our words very well with concrete action. Charlotte Rush gave us practical, simple and scientifically validated methods to cultivate innovation. To turn this into action we then had a group ideation session on how to collaborate better to enable a seamless customer experience, from Cuscal to client to customer. We will be taking the best of these ideas forward in the year ahead.

Real-time payments have ramped up.

Now that all the major banks are live we’ve seen a 40% jump in New Payments Platform (NPP) transaction numbers between July and August. Adrian Lovney outlined the NPPA’s priorities for the coming years, including an expansion in reach, volume and capability. The ‘consent and mandate’ service will be particularly exciting. It will make direct debits simpler and more transparent, removing one of the major obstacles to account switching. It will also allow services like Osko’s ‘Request to Pay’ and pave the way for open banking. We will bring these innovations to our clients and their customers as quickly as possible.

How to lead in the digital age.

Stephen Scheeler emphasised how important it is for business leaders to understand the fundamentals of digital. If we fail to understand digital, we open the door to competitors that do (like the way Netflix rapidly overtook Time Warner). The points which stuck with me were:

  • The importance of data. Most companies only use about 5-10% of the data they hold on their customers, but it holds the keys to solving customer problems.
  • Be ‘obsessed’ with customer experience. Our customers buy things which solve their problems, if we don’t understand their difficulties we are taking them for granted.

The link between digital identity and open banking

Digital identity is rapidly evolving and there is no consistent global standard. Steven Bankston, from Visa, updated us on Europe’s leadership and outlined Visa’s plans for a global platform to incorporate digital identity into a seamless payments experience. What really struck me was the inextricable link between digital identity and open data. The interplay between the two will create both opportunities and threats in coming years.

As I reflect on the two days I’m hopeful that it has helped us to inspire closer collaboration with our clients and partners for the year ahead. We can only succeed if our clients succeed and I believe that our first conference has started some great conversations.

 By Bianca Bates. Chief Client Officer