Warply, as a leader in Fintech, is proud to have presented the first of a series of events under the theme of “Leaders in Fintech: Personal stories of financial disruption”, which was held with great success on the 7th of March, in Athens at the Benaki Museum. The keynote speakers of the global event were Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament, Ana Cernat, CEO at Alior Bank of Romania, Anna Pouliou, Head of Privacy at Chanel in Paris and Anna Kuzmina Deputy CCO at Yandex.Money, the largest FinTech company in Asia.
The global event focused on digital payments and innovative services, as they are already being implemented in Banking and Retail sectors. The keynote speakers presented the ecosystem of digital payments, with an emphasis on mobile wallets, investment opportunities and e-wallet development by retailers and the mobile operators and the role of legislation in penetrating digital payments by country. The global digital payment market in 2018 was estimated at $ 3,417.39 billion but is expected to reach $ 7,640 billion by 2024, with an annual growth rate of 13.7% over the next five years of 2019-2024.
The freedom to build a banking service from the ground-up has led to some great innovations from digital-only banks, said Ana Cernat, CEO at Alior Bank of Romania and she mentioned: “As digital-only banks position themselves to challenge the monopoly of traditional banks, many Romanians are jumping on the digital bank”, such as Alior Bank of Romania.
During her speech, she analyzed the collaboration between Telekom Romania and Polish financial group Alior Bank. Alior Bank of Romania, started as a “copycat” of T-Mobile Bank Poland; business plan was built solely on Telekom shops and customers, with the aim at opening 120 banking shops inside Telekom own stores (over 200) and reaching 400K customers. Telekom Romania has 5.27 million clients of mobile and 1.9 million fixed services clients. The venture was unique in Romania as cooperation (telco-bank) and given the large customer base.
Eva Kaili, a member of the European Parliament, talked about blockchain technology and its evolution throughout the years. She went on saying that there is a large difference between the blockchain market 5 years ago and now. Clearly, the technology has been improved and there were several pilots testing real-world use cases. Companies, governments and firms have implemented different distributed ledger technology (DLT) systems to improve their procedures, systems, goods and services.
Eva Kaili said that regulations related to this technology have been well-received at the EU level, financial institutions included. At the moment, digital assets and blockchain technology are being accepted by regulators all over the world.
Privacy laws have never been as important as they are today, now that data travels the world through borderless networks, said Anna Pouliou Head of Privacy at Chanel. She also stated that “some countries have sectoral coverage, meaning different industries or trades in the country have their own data privacy laws. Other countries have omnibus coverage, with at least one national data protection law in addition to provincial or sectoral regulations. With so many rules, it’s hard to be sure you’re compliant. A detailed data security policy can keep things organized”. She concluded that “unified data privacy laws will create extraordinary opportunities and motivating innovation for businesses not only within Europe, but also for the organization who are willing to do business with European states”.
Anna Kuzmina, deputy chief commercial officer at Yandex.Money, talked about the world of digital payments in Asia and Africa. Especially China and Kenya are emblematic of opportunities to lead the world away from cash, said.
“Chinese FinTech revolution only recently became obvious to western eyes, far later than needed. Their unique QR-code based economy has evolved its unique Chinese way and transformed the lives of the billion”, said and their innovation is the created of a super modern economy where online and offline are merged and everything is done via mobile, she added.
“Kenya is at the forefront of the m-wallets across Africa. In the continent where banks are only strong in South Africa, and the rest is done by telecoms, m-wallets are fighting with cash” she stated and she added that “M-PESA’s mobile wallet has revolutionized financial inclusion over a decade by enabling millions of Kenyans to receive money from abroad, store and send money or make payments locally, and leapfrog traditional infrastructure. Their innovation is the financial inclusion for the poor”.
It’s no secret that smartphones pay a huge role in the customer journey, right down to the physical store experience. In less than 20 years, high speed internet access has become available across the globe, banking transactions can be conducted entirely online and mobile devices have reached ubiquity. These changes and others have laid the groundwork for the exponential expansion of technology to continue, and it will have fundamental consequences for the banking system. New payment methods are bringing new possibilities for consumers to pay online and new challenges for businesses seeking to accept as many means of payment as possible.
"Leaders in FinTech: Personal stories of financial disruption", organized by Warply, was a great success, with truly inspirational stories from the lives of great women. The most important thing for all of us at Warply, is that they are collaborators and friends who shared their knowledge and experiences through personal stories.