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    The Financial Technologist - TUFWA 2020 Edition!

    ​It's here!The Financial Technologist returns for one of the most anticipated editions in its history as we unveil The Ultimate Fintech Workplace Award 2020! It goes without saying that the entrants this year had their work cut out and kudos to everyone that applied for some outstanding entries. Click the link to find out who won, as well as articles from entrants, interviews with some of the leading minds in the industry, D&I updates from across the sector, and The Harrington Starr Group Market Commentary, among other incredible features.​In what has been a tumultuous year, the green shoots of recovery are starting to bloom and this magazine showcases some of the outstanding work going on to help not only the economy recover, but humanity as well. A huge thank you to all involved and to you, for doing your part. To find out how you can feature in future editions, contact one of our consultants today by calling the number at the bottom of the page, according to where you are in the world.​​

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    The Financial Technologist - Phoenix Edition

    ​It's here! The Financial Technologist: Phoenix Edition.​The Phoenix Edition is your guide to the new normality following the global pandemic. Featuring articles from some of the leading names in Financial Technology, this is your handbook for the road to recovery as the industry looks to lead the way out of lockdown.​Download your copy for free by clicking the link below:​​​​​​​

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    Fintech Influencers Special Interest Group: Applications of AI in Investment Banking Operations

    Panel discussion hosted by Fintech Influencers - comprised of leaders from across FS invited to come together by The Realization Group and The Harrington Starr Group - virtually, on Wednesday 22nd April, 2020. Led by Clive Posselt of The Realization Group, and featuring Matthew Squire (Founder of Fuzzy Labs), Josh Rix (Director of Woodhurst), and Angelique Dwyer (Principal Consultant at The Realization Group). This was our first Fintech Influencer’s Online SIG, and we have been very pleased to have received such overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic feedback! As a result, we will be organising a longer follow-up event – watch this space for dates and more information. If you missed the panel discussion, you can watch the video at the bottom of this article. In the meanwhile, here’s a summary of our discussion, to whet your appetites… We began by framing the key questions for the panel to address: 1.   How advanced is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI / ML) in financial markets? 2.   Is the real use of AI actually less than firms would like us to believe – is much of it just down to smoke and mirrors and clever marketing? 3.   What is AI actually being used for within financial markets operations? 4.   What do organisations need to do in order to prepare for more widespread adoption of AI, and to set themselves up for success? When we consider the potential for AI, it’s important to recognise the myriad forms that it can take, as well as their applications. We can start with optical character recognition – taking paper documents, scanning them and translating them to a digital format. Natural language processing (NLP) techniques can then be applied to these digitalised documents. This leads on to sentiment analysis, scanning documents for positive vs. negative messages and sentiments which can be applied as inputs to automated recommendations for investment decision-making. Within financial services, these AI capabilities can then be applied to specific use cases. NLP is being actively used to implement chatbots in retail and investment bank operations, and generating pre-emptive responses to augment sales and customer support chats. AI technology has also been used to automate reconciliations and trade processing, leading to a reduction in exception management and remediation costs and overheads. UBS is using AI to detect payments fraud by automating traditionally manual AML and KYC processes (with their associated high FTE requirements). BNP Paribas led the pack by a few years with its SmartChaser trade matching tool, built using AI and predictive analysis. The tool predicts the likelihood of a trade not matching and requiring intervention, and even generates a suggested email to counterparty. Other work in banks such as HSBC has focussed on client email routing and generation of automated responses. Sadly, for those holding the purse-strings on AI projects, cost savings and efficiency take priority, in many organisations, over the client experience (with regulatory drivers always coming out on top). This reflects the wider challenges in articulating ROI as it pertains to client service and satisfaction, despite this being an area that can benefit enormously from use of AI / ML to augment sales and operations interactions with clients. There’s an interesting distinction to be made between trading technology and more customer-facing solutions, with the former more likely to be bespoke and built in-house, highly customised to a business model. The latter is more likely to lend itself to the creation of generic commercial solutions that can be sold off the shelf and applied broadly to a wide range of scenarios. Selection of these is determined by a firm’s appetite to spend, appetite for technology and innovation, and appetite to invest without immediate ROI. Over the past few years, we’ve also seen that the big cloud providers are all starting to offer their B2B clients off-the-shelf AI capabilities (such as chatbots, NLP functionality, image processing software etc). These provide a relatively low cost route to adoption in the form of proof of concepts and pilots, with firms then moving on to more complex and expensive projects once the business benefits have been proven. We also covered the five key pillars that underpin a firm’s ability to set themselves up for success with AI. The first is data – it’s the lifeblood of AI / ML, and must be complete, accurate and available in order to be successfully consumed and utilised by AI solutions. The second is technology capability – firms must have the necessary computing power, whether cloud-based on on-premises, accessible across their organisation so that engineers can quickly spin up sandbox environments for testing. Thirdly, firms need capable individuals such as data scientists, machine learning engineers, developers and production support, as well as the culture and mindset that’s needed in order to successfully develop and launch innovative AI solutions. Fourthly, firms also need strong supporting processes: procurement functions must enable tech teams to access and work with a range of smaller organisations, data governance must allow for data to be moved where it needs to be used. There must be processes for executing AI projects consistently, that allow them to be driven forwards and productionised successfully. It is abundantly clear that AI solutions are heading towards a critical level of adoption, even where they are developed internally for a specific organisation and purpose. The key is developing a clear story and narrative about the longer term, more impactful return that can be secured through leveraging AI in the right way. Using readily available, low cost tools to build and run quick proof of concepts is a great, accessible, low-commitment start to that story for any organisation.   The full video of the discussion can be viewed here and to see the original article, click here.

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    The main reason people leave...and what you can do about it

    People leave a business for various reason, but a lot of times, there are ways to ensure you are not faced with that dilemma. Here Nadia lays out the main reasons why people leave a business, and the steps you can take to make sure your business is not one of them. TFT Q2 2019 nadia why people leave.pdf Size: 13 MB  

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    London is Open for FinTech Business - A summary of the first FinTech Influencers meeting on 2018

    The recent meeting of the FinTech Influencers (powered by Harrington Starr and the Realization Group) took place at the spectacular offices of Zopa by London Bridge. With over 125 of the most influential names in UK FinTech present, the topic of FinTech 2018 was discussed by an excellent panel consisting of:   Cathryn Lyall, Co-Founder Seismic Foundry Ranzie Anthony, CCO, Athlon Kathryn Harris, FinTech Mentoring Lead, Lloyds Banking Group Amrit Kang, Business Growth Programme, London & Partners Compered by Mike O’Hara (partner at The Realization Group), the panel boomed out a comprehensive message: London is Open for FinTech Business! In this blog we’ll summarise some of the key points from the night. 2017 saw £1.3bn investment into London FinTech. Despite the looming threat of Brexit, the Capital remains the centre of the world for the sector with, as Cathy Lyall put it, “money and technology knowing no borders.” It is a hugely supportive eco system with the location making London a genuine hub for FS. Investors are looking at the UK as a thriving hub with a government in place who are prepared to back businesses looking to grow in the space. It was contentiously suggested on the night that the real threat to FinTech growth was not Brexit but a change of government! Both on the panel and later as discussions continued in networking, the overwhelming feel was that 2018 looks set to be an exceptional opportunity for growth and innovation in UK FinTech. Support from incubators and accelerators and companies such as Seismic Foundry, recently co-founded by Lyall, have created a perfect storm for collaboration and growth. With both Lloyds Banking Group’s mentoring lead and London & Partners also on the panel, there was clear indications that the support is there to help so many of the FinTechs who have struggled for guidance in the past. Patience was urged with a warning that it will still take time, even with the support and guidance of a community, but an upbeat picture of collaboration to drive through proof of concepts was painted. The panel continued to discuss the growing culture of innovation with UK FinTech. This had to, as Ranzie Anthony put it, start from the top of the organisation. The focus was on ensuring the right talent was freed to innovate and that thinking on the subject had benefitted from greater diversity and different thinking in the sector. Ethical thinking and leadership that had a focus on innovation would allow this to flourish. More to follow on this subject in our May event that will focus on Innovation in FinTech. Perhaps inevitably, the conversation turned to Blockchain and the World of Crypto. With sentiment and valuations changing on a near continuous basis, it was interesting to hear an overwhelmingly cautious tone with Kathryn Harris diplomatically terming the sector “interesting.” Ranzie Anthony cited the race for trust with the importance of establishing trust quickly paramount to success. The panel did, however, universally agree that Blockchain as a technology was brilliant, urging the audience to “invest in the technology rather than the coin.” We shall wait and see how the market plays out. ​ The final words centred around advice from the panel. What to avoid and where to focus. Wisely the guidance was to focus on the customer and build the business first rather than to join the footrace for investment. Get the right team in early and really focus on getting things right before rushing for investment and losing sight of the here and now.  Amrit Kang spoke of the need for the right team and talent, the right marketing and branding, a solid sales plan and the appropriate funding, all things she and the team at London & Partners advise regularly on. The final words fell to Cathy Lyall who urged patience and told people to “get real with the unrealistic expectations of how long things will take.” She gave the example of Mark Hemsley’s journey with BATS Chi-X and the ten-year road to get in the black. Now a staggering success, this was a case study for the fact that there is no overnight success in FS. Finally, the evening saw the launch of the Financial Technologist Q1 edition. The magazine included the inaugural listing of The 100 Most Influential FinTech Companies of 2018. This list was judged by Harrington Starr alongside a panel of FinTech experts including; The Realization Group, EY, Baringa, The London Stock Exchange, Lloyds Banking Group, Seismic Foundry, Innovate Finance, London & Partners and CBPE Capital. You can see the judge’s top 20 picks alongside insight and articles from many of the winners here. Our thanks go out to the excellent panel who set the tone for a bright year ahead for UK FinTech. The FinTech Influencers is an invitation only, members club aimed at driving Growth and Innovation in UK FinTech. There are three annual meetings with the aim to create a network who can collaborate and work together to find solutions and opportunities in the market. For more information or to apply for complimentary membership, please either contact Toby Babb at Harrington Starr (toby.babb@harringtonstarr.com) or Colin Slight from the Realization Group (colin.slight@therealizationgroup.com). A playlist of the evening can be found on the Harrington Starr TV YouTube channel here.   By Toby Babb

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