On August 30, 2017, the Mobey Forum and Carta Worldwide hosted the two-day Mobey Day conference at TIFF Bell Lightbox to explore disruption in financial services. Over 300 professionals from the banking, insurance, and technology industries filled the main theatre to soak in the latest fintech and financial services trends and innovation processes.

The conference started off with a warm welcome from Maikki Frisk, Mobey Forum’s executive director, who revealed the new identity and direction of the Mobey Forum. Following after were talks and panel discussions from some of the brightest in banking, fintech, and related industries.

Maikki Frisk at Mobey Day Toronto 2017 talking digital disruption

During the hour-long networking lunches each day, attendees jumped on the opportunity to connect with speakers, panelists, and peers.


Here’s what was covered at Mobey Day Toronto 2017, relating to disruption in financial services:

 

Cross-pollination

The cross-pollination topic focused primarily on the opportunity for banks to partner with startups who are able to provide highly-focused and personalized consumer products—something difficult for banks to accomplish on their own. Cross-pollination was identified as way for banks to stave off disruption with a leading role as the core services provider for new best-of-breed consumer solutions. Essentially, Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS).

Izabella Gabowicz speaking at Mobey Day Toronto 2017

“Banks are starting to understand that you need that personalization in selecting particular products that are going to be meaningful to your consumer.”

~Izabella Gabowicz, Sensibill

Amber Foucault from Symbility Intersect says there is much that startups could learn from banks in terms of structure and principle, and vice versa. “Startups have a lot to learn from standardized systems in banks that have a good foundation,” she said. Eva Wong, co-founder of Borrowell testified to this, mentioning Borrowell’s partnership with CIBC’s large product team of 160 members to power a one-click personal loan product and free credit score service that Borrowell supports with their 16-person product team. Eva says the partnership with CIBC was valuable and hugely impactful for Borrowell, and it helps CIBC reach and serve a market they otherwise would not target.


Diversity in fintech

Startup companies and the fintech industry itself are disrupting financial services; these nimble, customer-focused organizations are a catalyst for change. The general hope is that there is opportunity for the players in this space to be catalysts for change beyond technology, services, and improved user experience.

Uber and Google are great examples of organizations bringing the topic of diversity to the forefront. Their stories, however, speak to difficult and challenging outcomes, highlighting how even relatively new organizations fall into the same old patterns of misogynistic, non-inclusive, and dismissive teams. Following discussions around cross-pollination and gaining new insight from other industry practices, Mobey Day explored the organizational benefits of a diverse team.

Katie Greenberg on what disruption means for banks

“As a country, in Canada, we’re a diverse country. If we are looking to service a diverse group of individuals, it’s kind of crazy to think we could do that without a diverse group of individuals creating the product or the business model that we’re trying to sell.”

~Katie Greenberg, Scotiabank

The discussion continued around the correlation between diversity and high performing teams. Tom Pawelkiewicz of Scotiabank offered, “If you don’t get it, I can send you a hundred papers on why diverse teams perform better.”

We understand the complexity of shaping a more diverse digital community. That’s why Say Yeah has worked to establish and support the volunteer organization Together, which runs a series of professional and youth-oriented programs and events that help shape a more inclusive workforce.


Design systems that accelerate digital transformation

Digital transformation requires untamed minds; minds that are open to new discoveries and possibilities, all while fully understanding what customers want and need. The only way to know that you are impacting your customer is by presenting them with a solution—early and often. When you do, you learn, and you discover.

Lee Dale speaking about digital transformation at Mobey Day Toronto 2017

“Digital transformation seems on its surface to be about data, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, responsiveness and access across multiple channels, …but it goes much deeper. That is, how do we leverage digital to actually enable the organization to create a stronger connection with their customer and improve their service model.”

~Lee Dale, Say Yeah

The triangle between fintech, healthtech, and insurtech

The desire to enhance customer experiences has transformed financial, health, and insurance services. These industries are leaving their stoic systems and grabbing hold of new innovative alternatives, be it AI, mobile and digital payments, invisible payments, and more, all in order to serve their customers.

Mark Dowds from Trov explained why Trov’s effort to allow users to protect the things they love for as long (or as little) as they want through on-demand, mobile alternatives speaks to the needs of a shifting next generation market, where consumers put less value on things and ownership, and more value on travel and mobility.

Michael Serbinis from League also shared how health organizations are intensely preparing for innovation and transformation, with the rise of mobile digital services for instant health care information and on-demand, localized healthcare services.


Open Banking

When it comes to digital banking, “data is the new oil.” Suresh Ramamurthi from CBW Bank enforced the importance of getting enough data about customer behaviour. Unfortunately, banks do not currently have the capacity to hold an exponential amount of data for all of their customers.

Open Banking helps banks overcome their lack of data through the use of shared systems that can enable personalized financial services for users. Open Banking also helps banks better understand user needs so they can continue to build toward a value-driven relationship with their customers.

While European Union (EU) banking regulations are kickstarting an Open Banking movement, for other jurisdictions, this becomes an opportunity to embrace a future of collaboration and cross-pollination now.


Big data & AI

A major point raised throughout Mobey Day was that big data and artificial intelligence is not something to fear, rather, something to embrace and appreciate.

During his presentation on conversational AI, Pavel Abdur-Rahman from IBM showed how interacting with an intelligent system gets users all the detail they need on a particular topic, making masterminds of people within seconds. Rather than trying to draw out information from select coworkers, past work, or hunting for research, you can be fully equipped and informed with all the latest internal and external information and practices with the support of your intelligent assistant. IBM’s goal for this innovation is to take general AI and create industry-specific solutions for high-end knowledge. Ultimately, AI is making humans appear smarter than they really are. Thanks AI.

Pavel also had a response for the controversial question that dominates all discussions on the future of work, will AI replace humans?

Pavel Abdur-Rahman at Mobey Day Toronto 2017

“I think people who are afraid of AI are missing the point. Human resources will be more precious than ever because without human beings we won’t be able to figure any of these things out.”

~Pavel Abdur-Rahman

Mobey Day Toronto brought industry professionals new insight regarding the ongoing shifts in the banking and financial industries, particularly driven by fear of disruption and more engaged consumers.

“It’s always great to meet a number of financial services leaders, changemakers, and innovators who are thinking about the future at a time of disruption. And I think it’s a great thing to connect those people and make sure that, as a community, they are advancing that work,” said Mark Kuznicki, co-founder of The Moment.


If you’re looking for support navigating these kinds of emerging methodologies and technologies to stave off disruption and improve customer experience, we’re here to help.

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