London FinTech Week is a series of conferences, exhibitions, workshops, hackathons, meetups and parties with 5,000 delegates from over 50 countries participating in events throughout the week. Marking the fifth year and after attending previous edition as regular visitors, PlanetCompliance this year was the official media partner. Here are our three key takeaways, though there was obviously much more to this event.
The responses to the current status of Brexit and future developments ranged from initial expression of despair to stoic determination that London will remain the centre of the Fintech world. On the surface the general consensus could be summarised that the sector continues to attract attention from major institutions with regard to investments and application in large institutions. At the same time several executives expressed their concerns and not only a few are in the midst of contingency planning.
The enthusiasm is still there but it has discovered a hint of realism. Especially in the crypto space, the last year has been a rollercoaster ride and the view of the industry has changed entirely- and then again. For Blockchain technology more generally, makers realise that adoption will take longer than anticipated but are still convinced that it will play an important role in financial services.
The future of Fintech
The main message was to stress the importance of collaboration between Fintechs and established players. On one hand, traditional players despite their best efforts realise that sometimes a large organisation isn’t the best place for new ideas and innovation. On the other hand, Fintechs have to learn the bitter truth that their enthusiasm and agility often aren’t enough to break through.
However, there are a number of issues like culture or legal aspects that need to be overcome to build a successful partnership and the different panels and presentations touched on that.
At first sight it appeared that Regulation wouldn’t play a terribly important role on the official agenda. One session discussed briefly how Blockchain fits in with compliance, Cordelia Kafetz from Bank Of England gave an interesting talk about the Bank’s Fintech Innovation Hub and Nick Cook, the FCA’s Head of Regtech, also provided an update on the state of RegTech, but compared to total number of sessions it didn’t seem to be a major subject. In reality however both on and off the stage it was. During the many conversations we had on various subjects regulations and its role for innovation kept coming up. For instance, in the Blockchain space and in particular with regard to cryptocurrencies and ICOs, the topic was much more on the minds of decision makers than last year. This reflects the growing awareness of its importance and the impact it has on businesses.
All together another exciting week of events and encounters and we at PlanetCompliance are already looking forward to next year.