by: Grow VC Group

Financial Times Live organized European Financial Forum in Dublin Castle on January 27. It gathered hundreds of finance executives and professionals not only from Europe but around the world. Fintech and digital finance got very important role in the presentations and panels. And it was probably also the hottest topic to discuss during the breaks. One fintech startup speaker even predicted that half of the audience loses their job in the next 5 years due to the digital disruption.

​The day was started by Philip Lane, the Governor of Bank of Ireland, and Andrew Bailey, the Deputy Governor of Prudential Regulation at Bank of England. The interesting coincidence was that a day earlier it was announced that Andrew Bailey will take over from Tracey McDermott as the boss of the UK Financial Conduct Authority, FCA. Both of them spoke the importance and complex questions of the regulation. Mr. Bailey specially wanted to emphasize, how important it is the finance companies clearly differentiate items in the their balance sheet, e.g. bank deposits from bank’s debts. And he also saw similar needs with investment instruments; investors must be able to see, what kind of assets an instrument includes. A significant difference between Mr. Lane’s and Mr. Bailey’s comments was that Mr. Lane saw EU’s importance role, when Mr. Bailey focused on the national regulation.

The digital disruption panel discussed, how new services change the business and also about the relationship of old and new actors in the market. They saw that it is not only about technology, but it is even more important to develop new business models and instruments. The panel has little bit different views, how new services and service providers impact on banks. Some panelist saw banks and new services could work well together, when e.g. banks already now lend money through p2p lending services. But some panelist, e.g. Zopa’s founder Giles Andrews highlighted that it will have a significant impact on banks, if they lose customer touch points to online services.

The fintech panel included Colm Lyon from Fintech and Payment Association of Ireland, David McHenry from Silicon Valley Bank, and Anthony Watson from Uphold. The most important topic was, how much established finance companies are able to adapt to the new digital business and how much it will be dominated by new startups. They also divided fintech to two dimensions: 1) new finance services and products, and 2) access to (old or new) finance products. Mr. Watson presented bold statements, like “half of the audience will lose their job in 5 years thanks for fintech”, “corporates are not able to adapt to new business because they should cannibalize the existing business”, and “corporates are now very excited about block chain, and it is a total joke, it is just one database, but tells how limited their thinking about the changes is.” Mr. McHenry commented SVB is especially interested in fintech solutions that can really scale up, for example, trade finance is an area where he sees a lot of opportunities. They were also asked to name the leading fintech hubs in the world. They started with San Francisco, London, and New York, but then added that there are a few other places where significant development is happening, like Portland, Seattle and Atlanta in the US, Ireland and also some hubs are emerging in Asia.

In his closing remarks Irish Minister of State Simon Harris highlighted, how finance sector has become very important for Ireland. Ireland has now 38,000 jobs in finance, 12,000 of them outside Dublin, and they are high skill well paid jobs. He also wanted to emphasize the Irish finance sector is now very healthy after the serious crisis and they have been also able to develop the regulation.

Read the whole article on Crowd Valley Blog.

European Financial Forum in Dublin


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