London, Monday June 25 at the Warwick Business School, The Shard. The skies were blue and the venue amazing. Lots of women, authors who flew in from as far as China and Japan, diversity in all fronts. None of us can grasp the amount of effort that the two editors, Susanne Chishti and Thomas Puschmann, put to bring this to fruition.
This crowdsourced book of WealthTech, a space that continues to evolve as we speak in different ways depending on all sorts of factors that are pulling and pushing towards one direction or another; is not an easy one to review or summarize. Congratulations to the editors for putting a book together that is relevant a year after the actual writings!
Today is my first installment, inspired from the WealthTech book. Not a review or summary by any means.
Three picks of innovations coming out of solid frustrations, deep-rooted problems, core inefficiencies.
“A house without a strong foundation is like a digital proposition without a digital backbone”
excerpt from How Digital Architecture Can Lead to Tangible Business Results.
Ohpen is a Dutch cloud-based core banking Fintech that is nearly 10yrs old and has been built by ex-retail bankers to administer retail investment and savings accounts. In February this year they raised their Series C funding – 25million euros – to expand beyond Holland, UK, and Spain where they are already operating. Ohpen founder/CEO Chris Zadeh said. “Ohpen is changing the core banking software industry, advocating a totally digital solution that is based on one version of the platform for all clients and countries.” Ohpen clients include Robeco (large asset manager) and Aegon (a multinational life insurance, pensions and asset management company).
“Most assets flow to active managers who have performed well in the past and outflow from those that have underperformed….One might compare this to lottery players who decide to select last week’s winning numbers”
excerpt from The 100 Trillion Dollar Market Failure
SharingAlpha is an Isreali-based platform that jinxes the past performance and size of AUM rating system of funds which is full of conflicts of interest. The platform aims to bring the actual users of the funds – i.e. the advisors – to rate them. In return for offering their ratings of funds, the advisors get a rating themselves and developing a transparent track record as fund selectors and allocators. In early 2018, SharingAlpha reported the highest rated funds from 2017, see details here.
Currently, there are close to 1500 investment professionals using the platform from over 50 countries. The key to scaling the platform is to grow this pool of asset selectors and allocators and strike partnerships with other Fintech platforms that empower DIY investors.
“Some say the most used “tech” for the issuance of financial instruments, is Microsoft Excel….Time and money are wasted due to barriers.”
excerpt from Investment and Issuance Distributed in Blockchain
Zeng argues in his chapter that all marketplaces for the issuance of financial instruments – stock exchanges – keep ratings on their trading participants. This procedure has led to the growth of OTC markets and another market fragmentation. Blockchain on the other hand, when used for fundraising and issuance of securities and for distributing these instruments, should not contain any rating. It should be a neutral financial infrastructure. That way all assets are listed and broadcasted to the whole network and truly become global rather than local.
All these topics uncover what is behind a complex infrastructure that is the backbone of financial services and stress that flashy facelifts aren’t going to make. From retail banking, asset management, to the issuance and distribution of any financial instrument. Continuous innovation by looking at the core, foundational problems, in the eye and finding solutions and then implementing them.
The WealthTech book is a rich source for getting up to speed and for looking into the future. It is 300 pages full of surprises. My contribution lays in Section 9 – What is the Future of WealthTech- under the title Empowering Asset Owners and the Buy Side.
Confession: None of us, can beat David Gyori’s – CEO of Banking Reports – literary contribution in the last but not least chapter
Welcoming the 2058 Class of the “Galactic Academy of Wealth Management”
Efi Pylarinou is a Fintech thought-leader, consultant and investor.
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