Are we at a tipping point for the creation of long-term trust in Financial Services & Fintech?

Take outs from our fintech and Financial Services webinar, part of  Brands2Life’s Brands Transforming Our World summer series.  

Earlier this month we hosted a virtual webinar, with a panel of industry experts drawn from across fintech, venture capital and traditional financial services. They were convened to offer different views and opinion, centred around one notion: whether we are at a tipping point for the creation of long-term trust in Financial Services & fintech, particularly within the context of Covid 19.

Will Campbell, Practice Director at Brands2Life was joined by:

  • Pinar Ozcan, Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Oxford University / Said Business School
  • Vicki Harris, Chief Commercial Officer, Kensington Mortgages
  • Dan Cobley, Managing Partner Fintech, Blenheim Chalcot and founding investor in Salary Finance, Koodoo Mortgages, OpenWrks and ClearScore

You can watch the webinar in full by clicking the play button below or clicking here.

The impact of COVID-19 on fintech

Trust requires constant, careful cultivation, and as Dan Cobley pointed out early in the discussion, COVID-19 has in many ways “Brought together the innovation of the fintech services with the trust incumbent traditional FS brands have. It has accelerated trust in emerging providers whilst giving incumbents the agility they need.”

Vicki Harris echoed this, commenting that “traditional FS firms that had already partnered with various fintechs have been able to move much quicker in response to the situation than those that haven’t.” She said we will see now will see “an acceleration of partnerships being developed.” Vicki continues, on Kensington Mortgages’ own approach: “We had been very open to working with fintechs before this [pandemic] happened, and are even more so now.”

While the bringing together of fintech innovation and technology, alongside FS firms’ customer bases, should be a match made in heaven, the panellists were quick to point out a key challenge: data.

Data driven innovation and services

Demand for data is creating new approaches that will exist beyond the current economic environment, and, as Pinar Ozcan pointed out: “Open finance and open data in general have been the platforms to enable fintechs in the UK to flourish – but there is a growing need to cross reference and combine different data sets to drive real value and address the larger problems we are faced with across different sectors, including energy, healthcare and beyond.”

Echoing those thoughts about data creating new opportunities, Vicki Harris, commented: “We’ve seen a massive acceleration of the use of digital services – but with that will come the need to share more data. The pandemic will accelerate what data we share, and how, and the types of services that can be offered as a result, but it won’t happen overnight.”

Technology, customer experience & regulation – the path to trust for fintech?

As Dan noted, “when it comes to building long-term trust, the best of the fintechs have a slick user journey, badges of industry associations and user reviews as well as partnerships with big incumbents – all of which demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding the user experience.”  Pinar also noted that “trust has a technology component to it, and while fintechs have been great at the technology part, they haven’t always had the easiest ride when it comes to working with traditional financial services – they are often seen as the ones that still have to earn it.”

Talking about recent events, and the impact of Wirecard, the panel agreed that the measures taken by the FCA helped reduce the scale of the problem that could have existed, but warned this might not be the last we hear of it. Vicki suggested that “we’ll see diminished trust and increased regulation [of those with e-money licenses] post Wirecard…” Pinar supported that, commenting that “recent events will affect trust because when one part of the ecosystem has a failure, for whatever reason, there’s a trickle-down effect.”

The future of fintech in the UK

After record amounts of funds flooding into the UK fintech sector last year, what does the future hold? Dan believes the industry should “see more fintechs forged in the fire of crisis with the ‘armour’ needed to withstand anything – as money still flowing into solid Fintech businesses in the UK and beyond.” And, of course, all of them will have to find their own path to building trust and gaining customer acceptance.

As the City AM coverage of the panel event summarised – when it comes to building trust in fintech, twists and turns await. But the direction of travel remains in fintech’s favour.

If you are interested in hearing more from Brands2Life on fintech or any of the other topics covered in our Summer Series, including Comms in the time of Covid, Cybersecurity and the coronavirus, Digital Disruptors or Tech Trends, please do get in touch.