Wow! What an event. What a team.
Complimenting the team at Fintech Australia was our favourite MC and great friend Ghela Bhoskovich, Intersekt19 felt more like a celebration than a conference and there was a lot to celebrate.
Fintech in Australia has become a significant industry, with its own Minister it is a multi-billion dollar sector. While previous Intersekt events were great fun, some of us were secretly wondering whether we were drinking the Koolade. Exactly one year ago at Sibos 2018 I talked about the rise of Australian Fintech. The growth and progress we’ve seen in the last 12 months is phenomenal.
A year ago Fintech Australia were facing significant challenges and from the outside, things did not look promising. So, I’m in awe at how quickly the entire team at Fintech Australia has not only got the organisation back on track, but taken it to new heights.
So, it was fitting that the VIP Speakers Dinner was the pinnacle of Intersekt for me. To finally meet so many people in the global Tier One People network and celebrate together was an unforgettable experience. There is an elevated feeling of community and kinship in Fintech I have not experienced in any other industry and it was heaps of fun. Fintech brings together a really special group of people.
And on that note I have to say a special well done to Rebecca Schot-Guppy for her dedication, commitment and relentless passion in making Intersekt and Fintech Australia what it is today.
A record number of international businesses were at this years Intersekt. Revolut, Klarna, Tink, True Layer were just a few whom we connected with.
So, what is making Australia so attractive to international Fintech?
Hats off to the Government for such an ambitious Consumer Data Right initiative. While the UK is ahead on Open Banking, Australia’s strategy is much broader with greater potential for innovation.
A similar demographic, geographic proximity to Asia and highly profitable banks with a burning platform for change are just some of the reasons for the foreign influx.
A lot of credit has to go to Vic Gov and the UK DIT who work so well together on the UK/Aus Fintech Bridge. Tess Thomas and the team have achieved a huge amount in the past 12 months. Vic Gov are doing everything in their power to make Melbourne the home of Australian Fintech. And they are attracting Fintech giants like Revolut, Stripe, Square and promising startups like True Layer.
FinTech Australia and EY launched the FinTech Australia Census 2019 at Intersekt. It is a study designed to profile and define the industry, identify inherent challenges and provide insights. Meredith Agnew, Partner Fintech for EY presented the latest findings - Download The Report
The previous day I recorded a Podcast with Duncan Currie, host of the Fintech Growth Podcast and Founder of Stage 3.
Coincidentally (or maybe not) many of the challenges founders have highlighted in the Census we cover in great detail in this podcast on hiring. Including the No1 challenge to come out of the research, Product/Market Fit.
It's worth a listen as I share some useful tips and insights on attracting talent. If you are Fintech leader or even if you are remotely interested in Fintech you need to subscribe to Duncan's podcast. He's a TOP man.
It was an excellent line up with AirWallex, AfterPay, Revolut, Klarna, Tink, Xinja, Up, Volt Bank, Prospa all sharing their views on growth and opportunities.
I have to confess, I had so many meetings I missed many of the panel sessions. Here are the sessions I couldn’t miss.
For a Big 4 bank CEO, Shayne Elliot is so candid when he chats which is refreshing. I am still not filled with confidence that the Big 4 banks are changing fast enough. The wash out from the Royal Commission has done little other than force investment in compliance which is hampering the ability to innovate.
When asked what he would focus on if he were to launch a Fintech, Shayne Elliott came straight out with SME banking (not just lending). He took a side swipe at the success of SME lenders who are supporting the very customers the big banks continue to ignore. As CEO of one of the worlds most profitable banks surely you're in a much stronger position to support small businesses than a couple of young guys in Surry Hills!?
Open Banking seems to be an unwanted distraction and while the right things are being said, the actions (or lack of) coming from the Big 4 suggests there’s a reluctance to progress.
I call Dom “The Steve Jobs of Australian Banking” so it was great to see him on stage twice!
Dom has a knack of cutting-through the noise and honing in on the real problems in banking. His style may not be to everyone’s liking, I think the man is a genius and the approach of Up Bank “Tech led Banking” is delivering an amazing product that customers love. Dom has built possibly the best tech team in Fintech outside of eastern europe.
My favourite quote from the whole event:
"I don't think we should go slowly. I think it's pretty simple. It's said in the acronym 'CDR': consumer data right. It's pretty obvious what it is,"
"The mind shift that needs to happen here...is that the consumers own that data. They have the right to do what they want with it, and they're the ones that control it, not the organisations that are currently the custodians of that data."
Anthony is one of the most promising CEO’s in Australia. His presentation was that good he literally had people queuing up asking for a job! Anthony presented on one of our key observations, the evolution to Fintech 2.0 and how Wisr are working to help Australians get out of debt and manage their wealth.
Thanks to everyone who came up and said 'Hi' at the event. I am blown away by the compliments, well wishes and support of you all. When I launched Tier One back in 2016, it was with a vision to become the leading brand for recruitment in Fintech.
It feels like the vision is becoming a reality based on your feedback, introductions and support we received over the three days. I can't thank you all enough.
We’ll be making some major announcements soon on new clients and exciting opportunities.
If you are in Fintech, Banking or Financial Services and want to make some serious business connections Intersekt is the must attend event for Australia. Like Sibos 2018, there is real intent at the event for business to be done and key decision makers, investors and government are available and willing to talk.