I am travelling back from Sydney where I spent – very intense – 48h, speaking at a customer event for a very large card company. And then in a panel at Nextbank where I met many known faces once again.
The theme of my panel was “Fintech in Australia in 2020” and the first thing I told the audience is that 48h on site is a bit short to grasp the future of Fintech there. Having said that, Sydney want to become the Fintech hub for Asia Pacific. I bet Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul – at least – have the same ambition over there.
What looks clear to me are the ingredients of the recipe for a healthy and productive Fintech Eco-system :
– government policies,
– start-ups community catalysed,
Clearly, in Australia and Sydney in particular, the impressive London take up in the Fintech world is the example that inspires this community and I was trying to understand why.
We all would like to think we live in a major disruptive time. That we are the generation that is changing and will change the world considerably. This is probably true, if nothing else for Moore’s Law.
But I don’t think this is true for financial services.
It will take longer.
So if I were an illuminati person in charge of the economic development of a geography, whatever that is, I would do the same : I would set the ground, knowing it will take anyway few years and in any case I am still on time to see this “fatal” disruption coming.
In Sydney, I caught up with Marc Pesce, Innotribe fellow for years already, Fintech futurist, eclectic and very fast brain. We talked about his trip in Africa and how M-Pesa platform is now evolving into lending, capital markets, micro-finance, and slowly opening up to local (alternative) currencies.
But it’s an exceptional setting of circumstances that made it happen. It cannot Scale the way it is.
Sydney is not an isolated case of Fintech cities with the ambition to lead the change in the industry.
The good news is that now is a COUNTRY effort, not a single Bank play anymore, making the startup ground much more fertile and the capital more willing to take a look.
I have been recently involved as well with discussions with Luxembourg, where the four pillars we were talking about earlier are taking up… With the advantage of being in a super high concentration of banking players and a world-class excellence in the asset management and capital markets space.
The excellent parallelism with Game of Thrones is that in the TV show as well you see different armies – generals with special powers, queens of dragons – all fighting to lead sometimes in a not very structured story…
Which is the reason why we are at the 5th season and the battles only increased in numbers. Because someone new has the clever idea to assemble a different army every now and then.
Fintech Thrones are luckily less bloody, probably less expensive than a war and most importantly whatever the end result is, they achieve economic empowerment and knowledge in their making. And that’s what matters.