The wave of fintech disruption that is sweeping through the financial services industry is at a critical phase. The rise of a group of start-ups targeting every corner of financial services, from currency transactions and share settlement to trading and wealth management, has won the attention of the industry’s giant incumbents. These leaders are increasingly discussing the urgent imperative of innovation.
The start-ups claim that their “superior” business models and technology will enable them to crush the incumbent dinosaurs. The incumbents by contrast point to significant advantages that will guarantee their survival, from established brands and customer relationships to greater financial resources and a regulatory system that favours the status quo far more than in most industries undergoing disruption. Yet privately, start-ups and incumbents alike increasingly acknowledge that, in many parts of financial services, the winners from disruption will be those firms, old and new, that best figure out how to collaborate with each other to create win-win partnerships.
The event will examine where collaborative strategies are most likely to succeed and the opportunities for Schumpeterian creative destruction to result in a winner-takes-all outcome. Leading examples of current efforts at collaboration will be highlighted with the lessons learned from other industries that have experienced technological disruption. Regulatory challenges will also be addressed, as already financial centres such as London and New York adopt markedly different approaches to collaborating with the drivers of disruption versus preserving the status quo. As we gather in London, which has been positioning itself as a global centre for fintech innovation, the extent to which that ambition itself may be disrupted by the prospect of Brexit will be a running theme throughout the conference.
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