Thoughts from our January FSF and Teamspirit Fintech event
By Teamspirit on Wednesday, 30 January 2019
On Tuesday morning we were very pleased to welcome members of the Financial Services Forum to our offices in Holborn to a breakfast discussion on Lessons from Fintechs: Ethics as a key business driver.
Joining us for the discussion was:
- Sarah Williams-Gardener, Head of Public Affairs at Starling Bank
- Buhle Goslar, Chief Customer Officer at Jumo.World
- James Lawson, Co-Founder and Partner at Tribe Impact Capital
- Ciaran McCale, Head of Global Communications at Arabesque
The conversation opened with a question as to why was now the time that the financial services sector has decided to wake up to its ethical and corporate responsibility? The big challenge for most corporations is how to adapt to a new environment that favours smarter, cleaner and healthier products and services, and favours those who step up to address some of our biggest global challenges.
A company’s corporate purpose, its reason for being that goes beyond the balance sheet to contribute broader societal value, is no longer a niche activity. It’s now an expectation for investors, for shareholders and consumers (and not just the millennials).
Good business is now a business necessity and tellingly it’s also very good for business. Many of those present felt that there has always been a demand for such responsibility from consumers and it is only now that supply has begun to catch up with demand. In the wake of the Snowdon revelations and Cambridge Analytica scandals we are at the dawn of an age of transparency, where the public as gaining access to so much data that we can now reframe the question away from “Why now?” towards “Why not?”.
The traditional financial sector has always been slow to react to change and this is holding back true innovation. New fintech propositions are putting the pressure on the “Big Boys” to either get better or fail. We see traditional banks introducing features that have been available on start-up offerings for many years and it becomes clear that the message is getting through. Their rivals are no longer within the Square Mile, but more likely to be found a couple of tube stops away near the Silicon Roundabout.
Other interesting factors that the panel felt had brought about the need for great ethical standards in the sector include education, and an understanding of investors in the wider interests of banks and businesses around the world. Better understanding of the needs and expectations of customers through listening was also raised, particularly in emerging markets. And finally, the consideration that greater ethical standards in business will lead to better, more transparent measurement, allowing enterprise to be humble, accepting things can go wrong and learn from those mistakes.
Interested in reading more about Ethics as a key business driver? Visit the Teamspirit blog for the first of our ten key trends we see facing the Financial Services sector in 2019.
Thank you to all the speakers for giving us their time and sharing their valuable insight. The work their companies do is aligning tech and purpose and represent some of the fintechs at the forefront of responsible financial services development internationally.
We’ll have another Financial Services Forum Breakfast in April, for details on how you can attend contact a member of team at firstname.lastname@example.org