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Exclusive interview with Fujitsu and Trunomi on the fintech industry

Wednesday 7 December 2016 | 10:39 AM CET

The Paypers offers exclusively an insightful fintech-related interview with Gary Feagan, Fujitsu, and Stuart Lacey, Trunomi

What is Fujitsu’s main, and most complex, project that is in the works and what purpose does it serve, generally speaking?

G.F. Fujitsu is currently undertaking an internal digital transformation process as part of centralising the likes of HR, collaboration and all other internal systems across EMEIA. Not only are new systems being put in place but all of them will be hosted and managed upon Fujitsu’s new Openstack cloud, K5.

Fujitsu has recently launched Smart Origination solution in partnership with some big names in the Fintech industry. Can you make a breakdown of how each part is actually contributing to this initiative, given that Fujitsu is more recognized globally for IT solution developments?

G.F. Fujitsu has a strong pedigree with partnering enterprise systems providers, with Smart Origination the was an obvious gap in the market for a true “as a service” offering for customer on-boarding and servicing. Not only must the solution through the fintech partners provide the functionality expected in a digital banking SOE it has to be delivered and supported in the same way as a banking platform, which is where Fujitsu’s strength in depth and K5 Cloud comes into play.

Smart Origination brings together electronic ID verification from Mitek, Know your device and location from InAuth, Biometrics from Imageware systems, GDPR compliance and a secure data-store from Trunomi, robust workflow and case management from Zoot as well as a first class SOE and middleware solution from Intelligent Environments. This is all deployed, configured and supported by Fujitsu and hosted most likely as a hybrid solution utilising the Fujitsu K5 cloud.

We think by pre-integrating these services into one new evergreen solution that banks can leapfrog many years of internal development and concentrate on adding real value through technological differentiation of services, rather than just digitalizing customer on-boarding.

Based on this specific partnership, is Fujitsu considering further developments in the finances space and, if so, where do you think the industry needs more such solutions and why?

G.F. Fujitsu has recently launched an innovative platform built upon K5 called Finplex. Finplex gives banks a robust platform on which to utilise Blockchain, IoT, API management as well as an easy way to utilise fintech partners safely decoupled from their core legacy platforms. Finplex is a platform built for co-innovation with its financial services partners and is just the beginning of Fujitsu’s financial services offerings. Fujitsu believes that a platform like Finplex and a partner like Fujitsu satisfies the demand for small agile finplex to work with the more cautious and regulated FS customers who demand more attention and effort that a small finplex can commit to.

What is (or are) the most important IT-related technology to consider for major disruption in the current, traditional financial system and how could they change the landscape?

G.F. There’s no doubt that AI and the real exploitation of data will totally revolutionise traditional finance offerings and as well as the ways that these services are delivered. Open banking APIs are accelerating this innovation and banks and financial service providers will need to take a customer centric outlook in the services they provide, going way beyond those that are currently provided, and possibly with no financial gain other than to remain relevant in an increasingly fickle marketplace.

S.L. We are moving towards a more federated financial model where successful financial institutions and fintech firms are embracing an open/API banking strategy. I believe this is fundamental to the future success of the industry to ensure that firms can be agile in response to the changing needs of the regulatory environment and customer demand.

In your opinion, what global areas and / or countries act like global technological hotspots driving innovation further an, based on this, where do you consider further expansion / development of Fujitsu’s current projects?

G.F. The FS world is looking to China as the leader in the uptake of non-traditional delivery of financial services such as via WeChat. For digital delivery on banking services then countries with a younger demographic such as Turkey and Poland are leading the way forward. That said, the UK is a real hotbed for Neo-banks with Starling and Monzo showing the art of the possible and highlighting the gap in traditional high street offerings.

Fujitsu has a unique blend of East-West thinking and through the likes of Finplex is looking to bring the innovation from Japan in the EMEIA market. Insurance is ripe for digital transformation and is a key focus for Fujitsu in the near term.

S.L. London remains very competitive when it comes to fintech innovation. The combination of a strong financial centre, top technology talent and a supportive regulatory environment all make London and the UK a strong force in the global fintech scene.

Could you foresee a (mobile?) device of the future, replacing the smartphone, and which could integrate most of the needs and requirements of the citizens in their daily lives, such as payments, entertainment, information etc? If yes, what would it look like?

G.F. I believe that wearables will replace many of the simple functions and voice control will become a more standard interface. But it has been seen, first with the text message and now with chat, that people given the choice would rather interact through asynchronous messages. So I think some kind of mobile device will be around for a long time to come.

I do think the UI of the future though will need to be contextually aware to show the predicted next action rather than a user needing to work their way through a standard navigation menu. So if a person walks into a store, it’s likely a user will want to know not only their balance but their disposable income for the remainder of the month to enable them to make an informed decision on whether or not to make a purchase.

S.L. Certainly. The current smartphone as we know it is just a form factor that will constantly evolve over time. Technology is no longer a business segment in its own right. As technology becomes ever more pervasive, consumers expect things like payments and identity management to be digitally integrated in the fabric of their lives so the next generation of smartphone will be even more embedded in our daily activities.

Speaking for the future, do you think that technology, ultimately, has the power to cause complete “uploading” of the traditional financial system online? If yes, could you depict the transactional context of such a future, in a few lines?

G.F. I think with AI we’re only scratching the surface of possibilities. Just now there’s a trust issue, would you allow a “bot” to pick your next mortgage or credit card? But in the future when 10 times out of 10 you go with the recommendation people will miss out that confirmation step and AI will manage your finances and decide which payment method etc is most appropriate for that transaction. I think it’s inevitable that banks will become a utility service where for most of the population there’s no need to even know with whom you bank with. It’s still a way off but it will come round quicker than imagined and like the standard utility companies there will be a largescale consolidation of FS providers.

S.L. There is consumer appetite to make life ‘simpler’ through digital solutions. The crucial part of the journey towards a more digital financial system is customer trust. Particularly in our field of personal data, firms must ensure they have robust, auditable workflows that secure the highest levels of customer consent to manage, store and use customer data.

About Gary Feagan

Gary is Chief Technology Officer, EMEIA Financial Services at Fujitsu. Gary is seasoned technologist with a career spanning Enterprise Architect and Consultant roles including over 15 years of business change, commercial software development and COTS integration.

Gary is responsible for shaping the financial services sector market offerings across EMEIA and has pioneered Fujitsu’s adaptive sourcing model to enable banks to overcome integration challenges when combining Fintech technologies with core banking platforms. He is the lead solution architect and CTO for Fujitsu Digital within the financial services vertical and is the design authority for all major Financial Services deals.

About Stuart Lacey

Stuart is an investor and entrepreneur with a successful history of founding innovative companies and building remarkable shareholder value. He has over 20 years of leadership experience in the C-Suite of global financial and technology markets,with a keen eye for growing successful teams and developing highly innovative solutions and technology platforms.

Stuart was named by Bank Innovation as a 2015 Innovator to Watch – one of 44 Executives ‘Shaping the Future of Banking’ and is a TEDx Speaker on The Future of Your Personal Data – Privacy vs Monetization.

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is a global information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. 159,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries.

About Trunomi

Trunomi securely connects financial institutions to their customers with a consent based data sharing platform. Trunomi’s mobile and web technology cuts costs, removes friction and delivers amazing customer experiences. It’s consent-based platform revolutionises the way financial institutions interact with customer data, in full compliance with data privacy regulations.