The Financial Services Club is a unique service designed for Senior Executives and Decision Makers from any firm interested in understanding and planning strategies for the future of banking and finance.
This is my penultimate review of 2013, as we head towards the shutdown season, so here goes
2013 was the year of meditation.
Banks had the chance to think, reflect, plan and look ahead.
After five years of manic panic, hysteria, anger, fear, angst and doubt, 2013 was the first year we could actually have a breather and consider what’s gone before and what is planned ahead.
This was reflected by the feel-good buzz at SIBOS Dubai, along with the fact that we didn’t have any disastrous headlines this year.
No LIBOR (well there was an FX issue); no major money laundering or major fines of a bank (well, apart from JP Morgan), but that was for last year’s issue); no issues of poor bank management or controls (well, apart from the Crystal Methodist); and a much more stable market generally.
The reason for the breather is that we just went through what I would call the year in-between.
Still busy in the Financial Services Club world with meetings in Stockholm, Vienna, Warsaw and London all in the past two weeks.
The interesting theme of all these meetings, and those in our future plans, is the digitisation of banking.
Most notably, the Chi-x BAT effect noted in our Stockholm launch meeting of the Nordic Financial Services Club, and the presentation from Gottfried Leibbrandt, Chief Executive of SWIFT, at our London dinner last week.
Gottfried kindly indulged us with a view of where SWIFT’s vision now lies.
We had a lively meeting at the Financial Services Club the other day, talking about cloud computing in banking.
I say lively because it is still clear to me that cloud is misunderstood in banking.
I guess because cloud is this amorphous mass of stuff that is ill-defined and hard to track down to a real requirement.
You have all these things as a service you see. Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service … you name it as a Service.
Nevertheless, we did spread some light on the subject by a panel discussion that comprised some lawyers (Kemp Little), some providers (Amazon Web Services), some users (Visa Europe) and some innovators (the Currency Cloud).
It’s getting crowded out there in the mobile payments space.
After years of inactivity, everyone’s woken up to the opportunities
out there, not the least PayPal.
PayPal did nothing in mobile through the 2000s, and I
worried they were missing a huge opportunity to grow their business. In fact, being close to the UK PayPal team,
it was a shock when they pretty much closed their mobile focus in 2008.
I was listening to a futurist talking about our planet, its
growth, its overpopulation, the challenge of feeding the planet, sustainability
and more, and in the middle of all of this he said that the future would have
I gave a presentation the other day and, as usual, concluded
that banks should position themselves as data vaults. One person then asked: what data should a bank make secure? which is a good question to
ask, as it led to a healthy debate and improvement of clarity of view.
Today, we produce exabytes of data every hour. How much data? Well, it’s hard to quantify as the data
explosion of the last decade is so immense, but this slide gives you a good
I used to think that we were good at designing systems. We would phase test them, user test them,
stress test them and more, and eventually we would roll out the system and it would
work. And life was good.
Then we started getting into a new world of developments
where systems relied on networks, networks relied on servers, servers relied on
mirroring, mirroring relied on programs and programs relied on programmers.
The interlinkage and interdependcies became more and more complex
and clouded, rather than simpler and easier, and the systems started to
fail. And life was bad.
I was surprised to read this morning that the former leaders
of Barclays (Capital) Bank are launching a new European stock exchange.
Apparently Rich Ricci and Bob Diamond – the former
CEO of Barclays investment bank and Barclays Bank respectively – are the backers
of Aquis, an exchange run by former Chi-X CEO Alasdair Haynes. The other major backer is the Warsaw Stock Exchange,
who own a 30 percent stake.
I’m sure they know what they’re doing, but does Europe need
I wasn’t going to post this on the blog, as it has nothing
to do with banking, but it’s August and no-one’s bothered what I post. It does also have some
relevance as I blogged yesterday about banks being stuck with 20th century
processes. That blog entry received this response from Nick Bush: a more customer-centric approach would help. Your piece
shows that existing players have yet to fully adopt this.
I got a copy of a fascinating survey by ING yesterday on
mobile social banking. The survey asked 12,000 people in 12 countries in Europe about banking in the digital age, and here’s their summary of the main conclusions:
1. More than a third – or 37% – of consumers already use mobile banking. The Netherlands
is the most developed mobile banking spot, based upon the measure that takes
internet penetration into account. Turkey is the mobile banking hotspot, with
the largest share of internet users who use mobile banking.
We hosted Errol Damelin, Chief Executive and Founder of
Wonga as our keynote guest at the London Financial Services Club last week, to
end our season of meetings for the 2012-2013 season (2013-2014 season about to