Leda Glyptis

Leda Glyptis – 11:FS
Maybe Australia’s proximity to Asia is the game changer. Do Aussie Fintech’s use all their resources taking on the Big 4 banks, or do they put the same energy into Asia?

As CEO of 11:FS Foundry, Leda is at the forefront of innovation in open banking. She’s also Chief of Staff for 11:FS Group, a specialist digital financial services firm that is reinventing what providing advisory, technology and design services to the banking community looks like.

Leda is a renowned speaker, writer and academic in banking and fintech, and an expert in digital disruption, strategy and financial technology. She was recently named in the top 50 Senior Female Leaders in Global Fintech. Tier One People CEO, Dexter Cousins caught up with Leda to talk all things 11:FS and Will.I.am?!

Leda, most people here in Australia know 11:FS through the Fintech Insider podcast. Can you explain how 11:FS work?

At a high level, 11:FS is essentially a set of capabilities united by a common purpose. What do I mean by that? We have structured the business very deliberately around the way customers engage with and purchase financial services in the digital age.

Our business model consists of Media (content, podcast and events), Research and Benchmarking (market, product and competitor analysis), Consulting Services and the Foundry Platform. We build digitally native propositions for banks and financial institutions. As an example, we launched Mettle, an SME challenger proposition delivered for NatWest.

The Executive Leadership Team at 11:FS are ex bankers. Remembering back to when we worked in large banks, when it came to innovation, there would be regular meetings where everyone got excited by the question ‘Wouldn’t it cool if ….?’

Sadly, few if any of the ideas ever came to realisation. 11:FS exists to help financial services firms bring these ideas to life and build entirely new propositions with a digital first approach. We are a completely different kind of consultancy because our focus is on execution. And we spend our client’s money like it was our own, with every single dollar budgeted for up front.

 

Can you tell me more specifically about 11:FS Foundry?

11:FS Foundry is a game changing banking platform we are building in partnership with DNB bank. Today’s banking systems were built in the past and for the past. They worked in their day, but they’re no longer fit for purpose in the digital age. The Royal Commission in Australia highlighted many of the problems legacy systems create for large financial institutions.

Banks are spending billions keeping their legacy architecture on life support rather than truly transforming their services. Why? Because changing a core banking platform is staggeringly expensive, time-consuming and risky. We built 11:FS Foundry to enable banks to modernise systems without needing to replace everything at once. It is a ledger first core banking platform with a modular stack. Which gives technology teams agility and flexibility, they can add modules as and when they need them.

The platform will launch soon. And the partnership with DNB is working beyond our expectations. We are really excited and see huge potential for 11:FS Foundry as we enter a new era of open banking.

 

“Maybe Australia’s proximity to Asia is the game changer. Do Aussie Fintech’s use all their resources taking on the Big 4 banks, or do they put the same energy into Asia?”

 

Australia plans to launch open banking in July this year. What potential opportunities do you see down under?

That is a tough question. Open Banking should, in theory, create more competition. But I think it would be unwise to look at the UK and expect things to play out the same way in Australia.

Australia has 4 banks sharing 85% of the market. That kind of influence makes it very difficult for challenger banks, Neo Banks and Fintechs to pose a significant threat. International banks with deeper pockets have tried and failed to crack the Australian market. It isn’t easy.

Maybe Australia’s proximity to Asia is the game changer. Do Aussie Fintech’s use all their resources taking on the Big 4 banks, or do they put the same energy into Asia? It is a far bigger market. When I was last in Sydney for Sibos, the level of innovation in areas like RegTech, Data and Identity impressed me.

 


 

Many people in the Fintech industry first got to know 11:FS through the Fintech Insider podcast. Has it been key to the rapid growth of the business?

The podcast recently hit 300 episodes. It definitely builds our profile, but it also builds a vibrant community much beyond our brand. In fact, the greatest benefit of the podcast is the community we’ve built. The 11:FS community is global and the show is a great vehicle to share our message. But, if you listen to the podcasts, it is not about us. It is about the people in the industry, it’s about the community, it’s about giving Fintech’s a platform, a voice.

And for people in the banking industry the show helps by cutting through the noise and demystifying what is a confusing period. There is more noise in the industry than ever. Blockchain, AI, Fintech, Crypto, Cyber Security, Open Banking, API’s; Banking executives rightly feel confused. So, the podcast is a platform to share insights, knowledge and ideas.

As an example, we hosted AfterDark, an evening event at Level 39 in London. Over 200 guests turned up. A guest I invited (a highly influential global banker) came to me afterwards and said “I don’t know what impressed me most. The fact that so many people turned up in the awful weather. Or, the fact there are so many influential and heavy hitting people from Banking and Fintech in the room.”

Banking executives clearly want to embrace change and innovation. But they need the right information, insights and strategies. Do they get the right strategies from traditional consultancies? Or do they turn to 11:FS who know Fintech and have built digital banks like Monzo?

We believe that Digital Banking is only 1% finished. There is so much more we can do and are doing for our clients.

 

What attracted you to 11:FS?

The Co-Founders and I had known each other for a couple of years before me coming on board. We would regularly bump into each other at industry events or when I was a guest on the Fintech Insider podcast. It was clear we shared similar views on how digital banking should be done.

So, when David approached me, it just seemed like a natural next step. He is an inspiring leader and he has created a simple culture and philosophy that resonates. Importantly for me, it’s a high-performance culture, modelled on sports, teamwork and winning. But it is not a ‘win at all costs’ mentality. We have one golden rule ‘don’t be a dick’. It sounds simple, but regularly reminding ourselves of this one sentence nips arguments and politics in the bud.

At 11:FS I get to work with and meet amazing people. Had you told me a year ago I would get to interview Will.I.am, I’d have laughed. The velocity at which we are moving is unlike anything I have experienced.

 

Which people tend to be successful at 11:FS?

People with principles, passion and positivity. This is a high-performance culture where we work on outcomes and results. You have to believe in a particular way of working. We work in small teams, taking the sports team philosophy by bringing together people with complimentary technical skills and ability. We’ve assembled experienced banking, fintech and insurance leaders, alongside outstanding talent from start-ups, consultancies and agencies.

11:FS is unlike anywhere I have ever worked. It has been a wild ride so far. I joined 11:FS in September 2018. On day two I flew to Oslo to meet the DNB team and pick up my part of the negotiations that led to our current partnership. The negotiations were at an advanced stage when I came on board and it was great to have the team’s faith to jump right in.

This past 6 months have been the most exhilarating of my career.

A lot of people could find it daunting. People in Banking tend to think Fintech is sexy, fun, innovative. But the reality can be very different. It’s extremely tough work. We are at the leading edge of innovation, so most times it feels like we are building the plane as we are flying it.

We have an eclectic bunch here. Creatives, marketers, product, tech. Smart and driven people. We are now 150 staff and growing fast. A lot of people approach us direct because they follow the podcast, get excited by the work we do and feel a connection. But we are just like any rapidly scaling business. We need a measured approach to Talent Acquisition and it is hard to find the right people when you are growing at scale. We are always open to people approaching us if they share our philosophy.

 


 

Check out Careers @ 11:FS

 


 

Leda, people consider you an ‘Influencer’ in fintech and you write regularly sharing advice. Who has been the greatest influence on your career?

First of all let me say, I find it an honour people read my work. But it’s my belief that you influence by doing, not by talking. The greatest influence on my career is Adriana Pierelli, my old mentor at BNY Mellon. She was the person who backed me when I launched the innovation division at BNY. At the time it felt like everyone was mocking me as I got excited by APIs and the possibilities they could bring to the business. Adriana believed. And opened the door for me to prove myself. All we need is an opportunity and a little bit of faith. And she gave me both. There are two life lessons I took from Adriana.

1)      Practical Impact. You must make things happen.

2)      Pay things forward.

It is so important to help people along the journey. To give your time, advice, connections. The platform I have been given is a privilege, meaning I can help more people than ever. That is the great thing about the 11:FS tribe. The Fintech Insiders show takes a lot of time, energy, money and resources to produce. But we do it for free because we truly believe in paying things forward and making digital banking better.

 


 

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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.

Australian FinTech partnered with Tier One People to cover 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, Dr. Leda Glyptis (exclusive TOP interview coming soon), Tony Fish 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.

Matt Baxby Revolut CEO

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