Posted by & filed under Banking, Collaboration, Entrepreneurship, Fintech, Innovation.

Looking back at 2019’s biggest fintech convention of the year.
Source: @money2020 Twitter

…And it’s a wrap! The European leg of Money 20/20 in Amsterdam was a wild success. The world’s largest marketplace for fintech ideas and innovations grew in maturity. Fintech scaleups seemed to outnumber startups. A sign that the fintech industry is growing and developing.

As innovators come together to explore the future of fintech, we seized the opportunity to take notes! Let’s take a look at the week’s highlights.

Open banking in a cashless society

This year’s Money 20/20 theme was alchemy. Tracey Davies, president of Money 20/20, provided a platform for collaboration. And alchemy was the perfect metaphor for the conference. Industry leaders were seen networking and collaborating with SME founders. Conversations were sparked and ideas were heard.

“Cards and phones are taking over payments. Non-cash transactions are growing at the fastest pace ever. Lead by Asia that’s growing at 29%. Sweden is expected to become the world’s first cashless society by 2023.”  

Peggy Alford, PayPal, Senior VP of Core Markets

Digital payments require coordination from different party. It’s no wonder that open banking is a hot topic. Nevertheless, it looks like things are taking more for banks than they initially thought.

“Open Banking was one of the main topics of Money2020 as the up-and-coming thing… this year again”

Jeroen De Bel, Founder at Fincog (at MeetupXL of Amsterdam Fintech Week)

The good news is, this means more maturity in the way financial institutions approach scaleups and startups. It’s no longer an afterthought or a sugar-coat, but rather a strategic decision.

“Banks need to rethink their strategy. Customers are evolving with fintech trends. And banks need to make room for more flexible touchpoints.”

David Brear, CEO of 11:FS

Too many fintechs, too little novelty?

Drew Graham and Dr. Leda Glyptis at Money2020

Drew Graham, Director of Digital Strategy at Barclays, argued that there are too many fintech startups. His argument was that startups overpowered the quality of value they provide. Too many startups – too little new innovations.

From the point of view of a big financial institutions, the amount of fintech startups can be overwhelming. Banks have traditionally taken care of the whole value chain. Of all banking needs. Fintechs, on the other hand, often take care of more specific niches or products.

Another reason for this boom is the romanticization of startup culture. It’s “cool” to have a fintech startup, or to invest in fintech startups.

“A lot of capital being thrown around in small increments encourage the proliferation of startups.”

Dr. Leda Glyptis, CEO at Foundry and Chief of Staff at 11:FS

Many of these startups are becoming strong challengers to banks’ business. The combination of niche mentality and capital gives some of them a stronger value proposition.

Michael Byrne, Director of Strategic Partners at LexisNexis Risk Solutions at Money2020

“We are seeing more and more fintech startups, cryptos, regtech, and insurtech companies. Taking their seat alongside the major players in full lifecycle financial ground.”

Michael Byrne, Director of Strategic Partners at LexisNexis Risk Solutions

But working with them is often not easy.

“Often startups don’t have a clue of how to collaborate with a bank, and enthusiastic innovation managers might give them the wrong expectations”

Don Ginsel, Founder at Holland Fintech (at MeetupXL of Amsterdam Fintech Week)

All in all, this makes banks’ life more difficult. There are more and more startups. Some of them are more and more of a challenger. It’s more important than ever to be able to pick the winners. Who do you think is going to transform your business?

Customer-oriented innovation

As Money 20/20 wraps up, speakers focused on the different industry trends.

“We have to make [banking] relevant. And we have to give people comfort. That governments and regulators can answer the questions they have. We need to reimagine a way of regulating. We need to become much more iterative, much more open.”

Martha Lane Fox on traditional financial institutions

Customers have gotten used to convenience. It’s gone from bonus to requirement. And we got to see how banks deal with this “new” requirement.

“It’s important to focus on solving the immediate needs of your customer, but always with the longer term vision in mind — at Ripple that’s the Internet of Value.”

Ginger Baker, Ripple, Sr. Director of Product

Adopting fintech solutions was definitely one of the most touted ways of achieving this. This is a double-edged sword. Financial institutions get a more flexible offering. But they also need to become flexible themselves. Otherwise, it will be difficult to compete in the industry.

Behind banking products: having a healthy fintech ecosystem

It’s important to have change among the changemakers.

Finance has been traditionally male-dominated. But the finance industry needs to reflect the society it serves. And women in fintech are rising to the challenge.

Elizabeth Lumley, Teena Baker-Taylor, and Ruth Wandhöfer on Gender Diversity at Money 2020 Amsterdam 2019, interviewed by Isobel Chillman

“So many women get denied leadership positions and speaking slots. Because the status quo doesn’t know that they’re there. So we need to work as an entire community to find that woman. And put her on stage.”

Elizabeth Lumley on gender diversity within the fintech industry

Another factor of a healthy startup ecosystem is healthy entrepreneurs. And startup culture has been known for being toxic in burning people out. Many entrepreneurs will find themselves stressed out of their wits. Sometimes it gets the best of you.

“You’re not out of control. You are totally in control of how you deal with this. So I opted to stay close to myself. And remain insatiably curious.”

Conny Dorrestijn, Founding Partner at Bankifi

Entrepreneur or not, make sure you know your purpose. Focus on the important tasks. Ask the right questions and keep looking for solutions.

What’s next?

Collaboration is breaking walls between organizations. The event was a platform for big leaders and new players to address common issues. And if we had to summarize the overall feel in one word, it would be “maturity”.

Every year, Money 20/20 grows and becomes more welcoming of innovations. Next year, we’re expecting to see more global trends getting adopted by fintech. As technology continues to disrupt, startups continue to improve their technologies. And one thing’s for sure. Money 20/20 will remain one of the largest platforms for cultural innovation and external collaboration.

What do you want to be able to share a year from now?