Banks, FinTechs and the Way of the Future

The Digital Banker - Serving Tomorrow's Customers

In what could be considered as the largest gathering of power players in the retail banking industry and the fintech world, CEOs, founders, tech innovators and challengers of all stripes gathered to discuss the future of global banking at the 2nd Annual Global Retail Banking Innovation Summit and Awards.

Held on 26 September 2019 at the Carlton Hotel in Singapore, more than 200 delegates from different parts of the world paid close attention to the clash of ideas happening on stage as incumbent banks tackle the impending impact of digital banking to their core business model and how, by innovating, this could be a big win for both its customers and shareholders.

On the other hand, challengers of the status quo such as neobanks, digital banks and virtual banks made the case for faster, cheaper and arguably more exciting way to do banking in the future as they map out plans and strategies to reach more customers and achieve profitability.

Challengers of the status quo such as neobanks, digital banks and virtual banks made the case for faster, cheaper and arguably more exciting way to do banking in the future.

Incumbents vs Challengers

The competition between the so-called incumbents and challengers reached a fever pitch in June of this year when Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced that up to five new digital bank licences will be issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) comprising up to two digital full bank licences and up to three digital wholesale bank licences.

Singapore, which is now the most competitive economy in the world, dislodged the United States in the recent global rankings. This latest move to issue up to five new digital bank licenses in Singapore will put the banking liberalisation into hyperdrive and could potentially be a game changer not only in the ASEAN region but in other regions as well.

The session was opened by Bain & Company where the Top 10 Predictions for the Retail Banking Landscape in 2020 was shared. In this presentation, Bain & Company revealed some of the key findings of their research on digital financial services in Singapore including potential revenue pool shifts, winners and losers as well as success factors for a digital/neo bank.

He was then followed by Bidyut Dumra, Head of Innovation at DBS where he discussed the importance of collaboration for financial institutions through Open Banking. Topping the Asia Pacific region when it comes to open banking readiness, Singapore is poised to take the lead in this space. And as the country’s largest bank, DBS is well-positioned to extol the virtues of Open Banking. Mr. Tekchandani took the opportunity to share the six pillars of Open Banking to make collaboration possible as well as practical strategies to put plans into action.

Wavemoney’s CEO, Brad Jones then took the stage to talk about the importance of financial inclusion, particularly, in how they successfully did it in Myanmar. Having covered 89% of the Myanmar market, Brad shared the challenges and payment nuances in Myanmar and how they were able to address these challenges – lessons which can aptly be applied across different markets in Asia.

What came next was probably one of the most fascinating highlights of the entire conference as key officers from challengers and traditional banks hit the stage for a CxO Power Panel. Anurag Mathur, Head of Retail Banking & Wealth Management at HSBC Singapore, Jakub Zakrzewski, General Manager at Revolut, Chris Davison, Co-Founder at Big Pay, and Pedro Sousa Cardoso, Global Head of Digital Commerce at Standard Chartered Bank all presented valuable insights on the emergence of digital banks and how the incumbents are responding to these challenges.

Can Innovation Co-Exist with Regulations?

One interesting topic of discussion is whether regulations is stifling innovation, especially as it mostly covers traditional banks and not necessarily the fintech companies. HSBC’s Anurag Mathur put things into perspective by highlighting that regulations have been there to protect customers. In Singapore’s case, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has, in fact, encouraged innovation by setting up a FinTech Regulatory Sandbox and other similar programs to advance the welfare of the industry.

Revolut, being one of the most popular fintech in the panel and also boasts of a large number of user base was asked the inevitable question by the moderator, Namita Bhide, Founder of Denim Consulting: Will Revolut apply for a digital banking license in Singapore? Revolut’s Jakub Zakrzewski expressed optimism with the Singapore market and how Revolut could address a specific need, however, was non-committal to provide a straight affirmative or negative response.

In Singapore’s case, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has, in fact, encouraged innovation by setting up a FinTech Regulatory Sandbox and other similar programs to advance the welfare of the industry.

Other Presentations include:

The Future of Retail Banking – How Everything and Nothing Has Changed
By Aizuddin Danian, Head, Digital Banking at Standard Chartered Bank

Hardwiring CX to financial performance in the FSI sector
By Tom Mouhsian, Principal Analyst (CX) at Forrester

ASEAN’s Digital Bank for ASEAN’s Digital Generation – A Case Study on How UOB Built an Award-Winning Digital Bank in Thailand
By Stuart Smith, Regional Head of Engagement & Design at TMRW by UOB

How Non-Banks Harness Tech to Disrupt the Digital Banking Landscape
By Jasmine Ng, CEO at Razer Fintech

The Revolut Journey – Past, Present & Future
By Jakub Zakrzewski, General Manager, Singapore at Revolut Inc

Awards Gala Dinner

In the evening, the Awards Gala Dinner was held celebrating the best-in-class retail banks in the world. The Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards 2019 received over 400 submissions from banks who are at the forefront of innovation and continue to bring superior products to the market. Among the most coveted awards given were: Retail Bank of the Year, won United Overseas Bank Limited; Retail Banker of the Year, won by Anurag Mathur of HSBC and CEO of the Year, won by Piyush Gupta of DBS. The highly prestigious Best Bank in the World was won by DBS for being digital to the core and customer obsessed while maintaining a start-up culture through and through.

>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the digital banking landscape, download the latest issue of The Digital Banker Magazine HERE.

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