Money20/20: Key takeaways from Amsterdam

This year's Money20/20 Europe saw continued growth in both numbers (the event boasted over 5,000 attendees, 1,500 companies, and 400 speakers from 80 countries) and energy as attendees explored the latest technologies and upcoming trends in the future of money.

Our team noticed an increase in Tech suppliers this year, but the conference was also bustling with FinTech and Payments ideas. Key talking points included: 

  • Open Access to accounts going global: Regulation and competition is increasingly driving the industry towards open access to bank/payment accounts, and market players need to consider not only the challenges this brings, but also how they can embrace this change to create new opportunities. Despite open banking being a global concept, there is great variation of approach and implementation across markets and Europe arguably seems to be leading the way. As Gavin Littlejohn highlighted in his presentation, collaboration and sharing of best practice is key if regulators globally are going to look at developing a single global standard for open banking. 

  • Increased use of RegTech: RegTech is more than just a buzzword, it is a powerful shaper of financial regulation that has gained prominence over the last few years. In particular, the industry has seen increased use of RegTech for AML, customer due diligence and reporting. We heard from both RegTech companies (Sphonic, Clausematch and SteelEye, to name a few) and potential investors (UBS, Canaan Partners, Earlybird Venture Capital) for their views on the bourgeoning RegTech sector. Nick Cook, Head of RegTech & Advanced Analytics at the FCA, also provided an overview of some of the key trends the regulator is seeing and an insight into their approach to the adoption of new tech. 

  • Increased use of DLT and cryptoasset infrastructure to power payments and other activities and new payment platforms: With the World Economic Forum predicting that 10 percent of the global GDP will be stored on the blockchain in less than 10 years, payment companies are assessing the transformative potential of blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies. We heard from Adrian Lovney, Chief Executive Officer at New Payments Platform Australia, who discussed the New Payments Platform (NPP), an open access distributed infrastructure for fast payments in Australia which was launched in February 2018. Adrian provided an insight into the outcomes of the initiative to date and how this can be adopted in Europe and across the globe going forward.

  • New business models continuing to make payments faster and cheaper, with some great creative twists: Payment companies are having to constantly evolve in order to keep up with customer needs and expectation. We heard from a number of prominent industry speakers who discussed how they are developing innovative new business and organisational models in order to stay at the forefront of this evolution. Customer-centricity featured highly and there was a general consensus that improving customer experience should be a key driver behind innovation. Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna, highlighted this in his presentation, giving a useful insight into how the company is creating customer experiences that engage, empower, delight and ultimately foster loyalty by remodelling the businesses into 250 teams of 8 people, with each team passionately solving issues for one part of the customer journey. 

  • The limit on interchange fees (and surcharging) and the effect on the industry: The limit on interchange fees for credit and debit cards is prompting consolidation and innovation and the advent of open access to accounts is speeding this up.

The team discussed these and other issues with what seemed like thousands of people from all sectors of the industry – established financial institutions, up-and-coming start-ups, investors, and a host of others – over the three days. 

Whilst in Amsterdam we caught up with contacts old and new, including at our own drinks reception in the city's beautiful Amstelpark.  On our final evening, after dinner overlooking the canal, we joined thousands of other FinTechers and descended on Reguliersdwaarsstraat (luckily we didn't have to ask anyone the way) for Money20/20's buzzing 'Street Party Takeover'.

The award for the hugest screen goes to Paysafe, who were launching a new product for the unbanked and those wary or handing over card details to merchants. Prize for best selfie goes to one of our guests, who showed us a photo of him with The Woz.

Overall, a tiring but very rewarding conference – we are looking forward to next year already!

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