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Expert opinion

Paris Fintech Forum 2019: key learnings and insights on the fintech industry

Monday 11 February 2019 | 11:37 AM CET

The Paypers proudly presents the 4th edition of Paris Fintech Forum – two days of debates, key learnings and insights on the fintech industry, as seen through the eyes of our editors

We are glad to have met and listened to experts from companies including Five Degrees, Deutsche Handelsbank, Taulia, Finastra, Limonetik, Priviti, MangoPay, Know Your Customer, Salt Edge, Bankingblocks, The Bank of Lithuania, ebankIT, Raisin, Pelican, SlimPay, Onfido, Natixis Payments, Flinks, and many more.

From 29 to 30 January, Paris, once again, was the home of Paris Fintech Forum, a buzzing event in the European Fintech community. Organized by Altéir with the support of 60+ international partners, the event brought together more than 2,600 participants to listen to 220+ CEOs from banks, insurance, telco, regulators and fintechs from all continents. For two days straight, they discussed everything fintech and addressed all critical issues of digital finance at 150+ keynotes, panels, interviews and pitches. Here are some of the key takeaways.

Customers at the heart of everything

Neobanks are set for huge growth worldwide as they continue to reinvent the practices and processes associated with traditional banking. In a panel with CEOs of digital neobanks discussing growth opportunities, Maximilian Tayenthal, the co-founder of N26, David Vélez, CEO of Nubank, and Oliver Hughes, CEO of Tinkoff shared thoughts on the challenges facing digital banks looking to acquire new customers and agreed that scaling and sustainability are the key challenge for them.

Of course, the focus is still on consumer needs and the digitalisation of customer services – this is one of the key takeaways of this year’s Paris Fintech Forum. In this respect, with a customer-centric approach in mind, digital banks are able to offer enhanced offers to end clients. Digital banks have already proven themselves masterful at attracting customers in droves. However, that doesn’t mean that building a profitable business is easy. Therefore, all want to eventually move into other businesses: some, for instance, are already looking at the next step, which is to expand their services to include lending. This way, digital banks tap new opportunities to succeed.

Platform is the new Black

Platformification of financial services was a topic mentioned throughout the entire Paris Fintech Forum 2019. In a panel discussion, Gilles Gade, CEO of Cross River, Roland Folz, CEO of SolarisBank, Steve Kirsch, CEO of Token, Nigel Verdon, CEO of Railsbank and Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank discussed the importance of banking-as-a-service.

No doubt, banking-as-a-service is a necessary shift in the bank-customer relationship. Due to a greater adoption of digital and mobile capabilities, digital banks are focused on building solutions that provide the customers with effortless, trusted, and personalised experiences — making things simple, straightforward, and providing an experience that fits naturally into people’s digital lives.

Both traditional banks and digital ones understand that platform-based services are the future of banking and the fact that there is a paradigm shift that can be delineated in the way people interact with banks. No doubt, platform fintech institutions have an ace up their sleeves, as they offer easier access to their services, while providing better customer experience.

Data and security

Data management (and its challenges) has been at the heart of Paris Fintech Forum 2019 and experts have agreed that it`s about time to define the most important pieces when it comes to data, how to protect it and how to regulate the way financial institutions use it.

One frequently used buzzword at Paris Fintech Forum was fraud. Decentralisation and anti-fraud were the hot topics of 2018, and they will (inevitably) migrate to 2019 (fraud isn't likely to go away in 2019, that`s for sure). Husayn Kassai, CEO of Onfido, Guillaume Despagne, Chairman at AriadNEXT,  Patrick Kleuters, SVP Gemalto Europe at Gemalto, and Rupert Spiegelberg, CEO of IDnow agreed that in several years we will have a fully decentralised identity system whereby every individual will own their ID and control its use in a fully encrypted space.

But there’s one acute issue — the lack of trust. Therefore, this year, fintech has to focus on how to make people trust data and digital identities to increase but also to streamline and improve onboarding. Fortunately, regulations such as the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will undoubtedly help in addressing this issue.

The global fintech ecosystem still booming

With major developments in digitalisation, Open Banking, digital identity, data, and artificial intelligence, 2018 was an excellent and fruitful year for fintech. According to industry thought-leaders speaking at Paris Fintech Forum, 2019 promises to be yet another interesting year for the financial sector. Thinking about what the next 12 months will bring us, here are some 2019 trends that will shape the fintech future:

  • Fintech companies offering products and services that have been specifically tailored to suit the needs of SMEs

  • Drivers of adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence across financial services

  • The rise of new challenger banks & many fintechs wanting a banking license

  • Collaborations between incumbents, fintech companies and tech giants

  • Open banking, PSD2 and the API economy

  • Data, security and trust

  • Open Banking and customer engagement.

How will these trends impact the industry and what are the challenges they will pose? It remains to be seen. Nevertheless, 2019 might have the answers.

This article only scratches the surface of the entire Paris Fintech Forum event, which was a huge success once again. We would like to take this opportunity to express a sincere thank you from the entire The Paypers team to our trusted partners at Altéir for having us there. Congratulations to the organising team, we are all happy and grateful for the opportunity and we are looking forward to next year’s inspiring edition!

Thank you for reading and see you next year at Paris Fintech Forum 2020!

About Oana Ifrim

Oana Ifrim is Senior Editor at The Paypers and explores topics spanning B2B payments, supply chain finance e-invoicing, and related subjects and topics. She is a passionate observer of banking innovation, with a penchant for fintech - always keen to identify and understand how new technologies and digital strategies and solutions are shaping the future of banking. Oana holds a Master’s degree in American Studies.

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