Article written by Dexter Cousins

Sibos 2018 - The Rise of FinTech


FinTech comes of age in Australia at Sibos 2018.

As Sibos 2018 comes to a close and the worlds biggest players in banking head home the event can be considered a huge success, especially for FinTech.

Sibos is the worlds premiere financial services event and what an event it is. 7000 banking and financial services professionals from across the globe gathered. With Money 20:20 taking place in Vegas at the same time the turn out was incredible.

Tier One People covered the four day event.

A dedicated Fintech exhibition, The Discovery Zone drew huge crowds. Innotribe, presented the worlds foremost experts on Blockchain, AI, Quantum Computing and Open Banking. The Oceania Lounge, hosted by FinTech Australia showcased some of the brightest emerging FinTech startups to the 7000 attendees.

FinTech thought leaders such as Ghela Boskovich, Leda Glyptis (exclusive TOP interview coming soon) and Brett King could all be seen engaging with some of the most visionary FinTech founders from the US, Asia, Israel, Europe and the UK.

The calibre of Fintech businesses and talent on show was outstanding.

My fondest memories of the week are the friendships that have developed with some of the very best people in FinTech. Straight shooting visionaries like Leda Glyptis and Ghela Boskovich think Australia has potential to become world pioneers in areas like Open Banking. They are genuinely excited by the talent and tech on show.

VC firms are actively pursuing Australian FinTech's who are considered advanced in RegTech and Compliance technology. I expect to see more overseas investors look to Australia in 2019.

Sibos presented an opportunity to put Australian FinTech on the map and everyone involved has delivered. Congratulations to FinTech Australia and a special mention to Rebecca Schot-Guppy who is doing an incredible job as interim CEO. You really have done the FinTech community proud, Rebecca, muchos respect!

FinTech Ashes?

A UK FinTech delegation led by Alastair Lukies (Theresa May's Ambassador for FinTech) and the UK Department of Trade added a little bit of spice and rivalry. The UK is almost 12 months into Open Banking and there is so much we can learn from our UK cousins.

In many areas Australian FinTech is catching up to the UK. There is a golden opportunity to make Australia the FinTech gateway to Asia if we approach the next 12 months in teh right way.

I spent the week getting to know many of the UK delegation and there is a real desire to collaborate and leverage opportunities. A breakfast forum on open banking covered many areas of the consumer data right, which creates even more complexity to the debate (which is becoming very heated here in Australia.)

Andrew Stephens of the Data Standards Council was astute enough to point out, while banks and FinTech's jostle over open banking, the consumer (who's data they are fighting over) seems to have been forgotten about.

The work of Tess Thomas and Odette Hampton and the rest of the team from UK Department of Trade is highly commendable. It is fantastic to see so much energy and enthusiasm to build the FinTech Bridge, attracting investment and capital for both nations.

Own the relationship or partner with a big bank!

The Discovery stage was standing room only as the hottest topics were covered. Van Le (Xinja), Steve Weston (Volt Bank) and Robert Bell (:86400) debated challenger banks, open banking and how to win customers from the big banks. Personally I can't wait for 2019 when challenger banks will finally launch.

Simon Lee, Co-Founder of Assembly Payments gave a straightforward account of partnering successfully with an incumbent bank. Exciting times for Assembly as they go through a period of rapid growth and the partnership with Westpac pays off. Simon is a top guy and is spending a lot of his time in the US talking to potential partners and VC.

For many FinTech businesses, partnering with a bank is the fastest and often times the only path to success. There has been some friction in previous years with banks being accused of 'innovation theatre'. At Sibos 2018 banks were ready to do business and a number of FinTech's we talked to were in advanced talks with documents signed and commercial terms being drawn up.

The energy at Sibos was so exhilarating that even an overnight 10% tanking of the markets didn't seem to dampen spirits!

KPMG FinTech 100.

KPMG and H2 Ventures announced the FinTech 100. Coincidentally three of Australia's recognised FinTech startups were lined up next to each other at Sibos - Trade Ledger, Look Who's Charging and Airwallex. Tier One People have been waxing lyrical about Trade Ledger and Look Who's Charging for several months.

The rise of Airwallex has been phenomenal. I caught up with GM for Australia, Steven Deglas who was delighted.

"It is a big milestone. We are three years old now, there are lots of entrants in our space and not many make it past 18 months. So it is a big testament to the team, the founders and our investors that we continue to grow. There are lots of opportunities for us and we are really excited about the next 12 months."

Nicole Grover Co Founder of Look Who's Charging said she was pleasantly surprised when the award was announced.

"I thought we had been invited along as guests, when they called out Look Who's Charging I was pleasantly surprised. David and Stu (David Washbrook and Stu Grover co CEO's) are in Vegas for Money 20;20 as we look to expand. The partnership with NAB has really given momentum and we are very excited about the global opportunities ahead. We have lots of interest from banks and FinTechs at Sibos and Money 20;20. And everyone seems prepared to talk business."

Martin McCann, CEO of Trade ledger was his usual modest self and humbled by last nights award.

"It is fantastic recognition. The business is only two years old and we now have offices in London and Sydney. I have moved to London to focus on partnering with international banks. The KPMG FinTech 100 recognition is paying off with several banks exhibiting at Sibos approaching me today. The only downside to being in London is I miss my Sunday morning surf!"

The potential game changers.

I was really fortunate to shadow a group of hand-picked FinTech companies as they hustled for new partners and potential investors. Here is my pick of the best of an already elite group of FinTech startups.

Priviti Group is a startup from Ireland with a Consent Management Standard for Open Banking. It is a visionary technology that allows the Consumer to grant, review and revoke consent for the use of their personal data. I spent the whole week with CEO Dave Cunningham and Head of Asia Dermot McCann, these guys are phenomenal entrepreneurs and have a visionary solution. Absolute game changers!

Bud Financial is an API platform connecting banks to 90 FinTech applications. Leading the way for open banking in the UK, Bud enables big banks to partner with multiple FinTech applications, giving the user one simple interface. Bud is the perfect solution for FinTechs and large banks to collaborate, with HSBC their biggest client. There are no plans to head out to the Australia at this stage.

Arctic Intelligence is a regtech software business going through huge growth. Offering a risk management and compliance solution suitable for businesses from startup to global enterprise. I caught up with CEO, Anthony Quinn and there is significant interest from global players in banking.

R3 Blockchain platform, Corda, that enables any business of any size to build and operate on the blockchain.  Corda records, manages, executes institutions’ financial agreements in perfect synchrony with their peers, creating a world of frictionless commerce.

Scanovate is an Israeli startup with a mobile first, dynamic, identity management platform using facial recognition for KYC compliance. I spent a day with the CEO

Revolut I hear the wait will soon be over. Can't say anything else at this stage sorry.


Founder of Tier One People and host of the Fintech Chatter Podcast.

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