Anders la Cour, Chief Executive Officer of Saxo Payments provides his perspective on how the FinTech sector has evolved in 2015.
“I have been tremendously excited to see how the FinTech sector as a whole has moved up to a whole new level this year. And what particularly excites me is the way two particular groups have seemed to really recognise the role of FinTechs in underpinning economic growth.
“First of all there’s Government. In the Summer, the UK government appointed its first Special Envoy for FinTech, signalling a real recognition that this sector has a fundamental role to play. Eileen Burbridge was appointed by George Osborne as the government’s special envoy for FinTech. And the UK government also signalled a commitment to FinTechs with an ambitious goal to make London the global centre for FinTechs. In setting out this ambition, George Osborne said that British regulators would provide ‘the space where innovation can happen’, backed up by Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s promise that reforms to the financial sector would be designed to make innovation easier. Bold promises that, if genuinely delivered, will truly shake up the marketplace.
“The other group that, perhaps surprisingly, has embraced the change being empowered by FinTechs, is the very organisations being challenged by the disruptors. The traditional banks. In 2015 there was a growing groundswell amongst the traditional banks to get involved in the FinTech sector, with a genuine interest in extending their services to deliver better value for customers. Key investments have been made by several of the high street banks, including Barclays and Santander, as well as the appointment of FinTech specialists in a number of these organisations. I firmly believe this is great news for the sector as a whole.
“There are a wealth of businesses – from start-ups to established brands – that are looking for ways to improve people’s lives and they need to be able to do things differently and better to achieve their goals. The payments process is a common thread through all of this. And whilst much of this year’s headlines have focused on the innovations occurring in the consumer payments sphere, 2015 has also seen considerable developments in the B2B payments sector which probably isn’t surprising when looking at the state of the global economy.
“FinTechs are in the perfect position to bring innovation to the international B2B landscape and a number of brands have thrown down the gauntlet during 2015. With no legacy infrastructures, lower running costs versus incumbents and increased transparency, the new breed of disruptors can finally get B2B payments moving. And it isn’t just a question of charging less than traditional banks and cutting them out of the picture. FinTechs can collaborate with banks to help them successfully move into the digital payments market. In turn, banks can offer FinTechs the additional security through their regulation, offering added peace of mind to their customers, as well as dragging the payments process into the future.
“2015 has been a year where the FinTech sector has moved on significantly – not least through the growing consumer appetite for better and quicker ways to pay – think tap and pay. 2016 has to be the year that the business marketplace gets in on the act.”