Hear from our CEO & Founder, Michael Finkelstein, about his experience and takeaways from the 2019 Paris Fintech Forum.
Last month, I had the good fortune to be able to travel to Paris and participate in one of the most important and pre-eminent global FinTech events - the 2019 Paris Fintech Forum. It was an honor for me and The Credit Junction to be a part of such a great collection of public and private sector visionaries, advocates and thought leaders. The Forum is an annual gathering of 2,700 entrepreneurs, investors, bankers and regulators held at the Palais Brongniart — once the home of the French stock exchange. There, discussion topics ranged from what’s on the horizon for the Fintech industry, to international regulation to the integration of new technologies within industry mainstays.
I had the opportunity to speak on two panels on the forum’s main stages. The first, entitled Trade Finance & Invoice Trading: How FinTechs Help Businesses Improve Their Cashflow discussed how lenders like TCJ provide SMEs with the capital they need to grow and thrive. The second, It’s a Data World, had a stronger focus on technology and artificial intelligence, which are both playing increasingly important roles for organizations big and small.
Below, I share some of my views from the ground floor of this cardinal event.
From Competition to Collaboration
From lending to payments to data and AI, ‘collaboration’ was the word du jour at the Forum. When TCJ was founded five years ago, industry rhetoric focused on competition between long-standing industry players and new disruptive upstarts. How times have changed! Today, there has been a noticeable shift from competition to collaboration with traditional players embracing nimble upstarts and jointly focusing on how they can mutually benefit one another.
Adding to the Core
Traditional banks are seeing competition from all sides — from challenger banks digitally built from the ground up to large data behemoths rolling out financial services products to their ecosystems. Banks are now embracing what they do well and are working with their core providers to enhance highly important processes through integrating with cloud-based, lightweight, best-of-breed Fintech players. By adding to their core offerings, traditional institutions gain the ability to rapidly tailor their product offerings to meet customers’ increasingly complex needs. The introduction of nimble upstarts into the slow-moving world of banking means that development is no longer strictly limited to internal resources but has instead become a collaborative effort. As Carlos Torres Vila, the CEO of the BBVA said: “if the pace of change outside exceeds the pace of change from within…the end is near.”
Think Global, Act Local
It’s no secret that the proliferation of ideas globally is beneficial to everyone. I was able to share ideas with people who run platforms in Singapore, meet data analytic companies from Latvia, and discuss opportunities with folks from the UK and France in just a matter of a few days. The cross-border nature of the Forum emphasized that collaboration is not just taking place in a few finance and technology hubs, but rather around the world. We have seen how the removal of physical barriers transforms well-entrenched industries (such as music or retail). It’s clear to me that financial services is next. The ability to share through APIs, collaborate through video conference, and integrate through the commonality of open source software allows the ecosystem to flourish, and makes innovation the priority for the foreseeable future.
It was an honor to speak at the Paris Fintech Forum among some of the world’s leading experts and top entrepreneurs. I hope to be able to go next year and look forward to seeing what progress the industry makes in the months to come.