FINTECH ASIA 2014 – An event by VISA

The digitization of finance, just one of the fastest growing industry in the world…

On 13 Nov, more than 250 techies, bankers and innovators gathered at FINTECH ASIA 2014. This conference was an eye opener and revealed a glimpse of the future of FinTech. It was the perfect opportunity for potential collaborations between financiers and tech innovators.

The inaugural FINTECH ASIA 2014 was organized by VISA @Red Dot Museum. Organizing partners include Gemalto, Heritage bank, MyRepublic and other participating organizations include Easy Taxi, Citibank, OCBC and innovative startups. Lawrence from MoolahSense was part of the panel discussion. More than just sales pitches, deep insights were gained on finance and technologies.

The event kicked off with a keynote presentation by Paul Bennett, Chief Creative Officer of IDEO (an international design consultancy firm). He shared that finance and tech should be about people today. “Empathy, instead of efficiency, is key in creating a world class experience.” Instead of coming up with a solution that lowers costs and increases efficiency, he challenged companies to come up with one that is “intuitive, feedbacky and scrappy and iterative..” Meaning to say, solutions should be easily understood, tested and centred on relationships to create unique value for each player in the ecosystem. Paul also mentioned that the way to move towards this is for corporations to change their way of measuring KPI. Instead of just measuring input, impact on people should be part of the equation as well.

Speaking about customer centric services, it was interesting to note a point by Maria Cristina, SVP and Head of Payments and Unsecured Lending Group for the Bank of Philippines Islands. She mentioned that there are innate gaps in credit services of banks that lower its efficiency in lending. People today are primarily concern with: 1)how much they can loan, 2)how fast they can receive their loans and 3)their cost of borrowing. And banks may not be the best in addressing these issues individually. While actions have been taken to narrow this gap, it has been noted that startups such as Lending Club in the U.S. provides a solution to this.  It has been recognised by the panel that injecting small capitals into such startups in order to collaborate with them is a good solution. Not only will this solve the financing issue, but banks can tap on the agility of its nimble size to create a quick change. Well, businesses today are recognising the need to be “user benefit centric” to stay competitive. Are there other service designs that have largely overlooked the needs of customers?

This is well tied in to the panel discussion on the sharing economy, a disruptive business model today that creates value by the collective effort of the masses (Find out more abt the Sharing Economy here). Lawrence shared that MoolahSense addresses a lack of financing support for our local SMEs, in terms of high borrowing costs, inefficient credit processes leading to challenges for businesses to get adequate financing for expansion. Also, on the side of investors, there is a dearth of options for everyday investors desiring decent fixed income. The MoolahSense platform connects SMEs with potential lenders for a fixed return, creating a Win-Win outcome. (Find out how MoolahSense works). P2P business lending is a grassroots-driven innovation that connects and empowers businesses to the community, allowing trust to be built through collaboration.

The event was closed with a keynote by Stacy Pinkerd, Head of Products, Asia Pacific, Visa. He made a point by stating that “Customers won’t settle for us pushing products; we’ve got to solve their problems”.

This event has been a huge success for VISA with many exchange of insights and ideas. It seems inevitable that with the advancement of FinTech today, people are looking for solutions that is able to better their lives. And it’s of growing importance that company’s processes and solutions are centered on it.