Who to pay attention to in FinTech?

This may seem an odd post, but I have often been asked, except for including myself, “who should I listen too, or follow in the FinTech world?” The truth is, great ideas and insight can come from anywhere, they really can, but here are 5 people who I would say you must follow / listen too.

But before I share my list, here are a few people that just missed out, which means you should also be follow and hear what they have to say… Nigel Verdon, Dr Leda Glyptis, Brett King, Theo Lau and Chris Skinner.

1.      Nick Ogden

So, any of you that know me will know that I have been working with Nick for a great number of years and over that time has become a mentor and great friend to me. But don’t think that means I am biased, no, here is why…

Nick is one of the early pioneers of the internet, infact he was part of actually setting up the internet and had an even greater role in that in the Channel Islands. He also is the founder of eCommerce, bringing the world its first ever eCommerce online store! He missed a trick not getting a patent together for that one, but you cannot deny the vision. But things do not stop there. Nick went on to create WorldPay, which if you don’t know who WorldPay are then you are probably reading this blog post by accident. You may now be thinking, wow, that is a great deal of achievements, after all, how many entrepreneurs are creators / founders of such concepts and companies that impact the entire world we live in. But the list doesn’t stop there. Nick went on to create the Voice Commerce group and Cashflows, the UKs first ever challenger bank, long before people were dreaming of creating Starling and Monzo. In late 2014 Nick shared with me his idea for creating a new clearing bank in the UK. As one of his founding team members, it was a great journey, but in terms of firsts, Nicks vision was to create the UKs first ever cloud based Clearing Bank, the first clearing bank in over 250 years, and as part of that we decided it was time to re-imagine how agency banking should work. We wrote up on our whiteboard in 2014, “Banking-as-a-Service” (BaaS) as well as “Payments-as-a-Service”. Now, not only is ClearBank having an impact on how financial service organisations deliver their solutions to customers, helping promote competition and an ever-increasing number of FinTech solutions, but BaaS is now a global phenomenon and often touted to be the future of banking.

Yet I am not finished here. Nick is also the visionary behind RTGS.global, the worlds first ever liquidity network, delivering Liquidity vs Liquidity transfers (LvL). A revolutionary approach to solving friction associated with transactions, which has massive ramifications for cross border payments for us individuals, but also for SMEs and large corporates. LvL has a positive impact on wholesale payments, cash settlement off the back of say FX swaps / derivatives and brings to the financial services industry “Just-in-Time Liquidity”.

All in all, Nick has proven to be a visionary for a very long time, constantly at the forefront of thought and what is technically achievable.

2.      Tom Bloomfield

This maybe a bit of a shock entry, but like Nick before him in this list, Tom has somewhat shown that he spots opportunities within the financial services sector. Though mainly known for being part of the Founding team of Starling, which famously parted direction to create Monzo, many forget that Tom is also one of the co-founders of GoCardless. Now, GoCardless is a big player in the world of FinTech, add in Monzo, the challenger bank unicorn and you can see why I have Tom at number 2.

3.      Anne Boden

Ann is a seasoned banking, and she is very open with her comments on what she thought of the ethics many of the banks she worked for displayed. These are some of the drivers behind her deciding to start her own retail bank, Starling. As a founder, Anne has been smart in her approach to trying multiple revenue generating streams for the bank, ranging from the Starling marketplace through to attempts to deliver some limited Banking-as-a-Service capabilities. But what Anne has been great at doing is noticing what moves the needle for Starling, and with great focus on customer experience, the retail and now business banking segments, Anne has achieved something that most banks in the UK right now are struggling with. Starling is a profitable bank….

With Starling valuation now putting it as a unicorn, Anne has shown that it really is possible to build a digital only challenger that is not only making a difference for customers but is also profitable. Hence, Anne is in at 3….

4.      David Brear

David is the founder of 11FS, a financial services-based organisation that does things very differently. David is one of the world’s great analysts, he observes what’s happening in multiple industries, and then applies thinking across those industries to identify opportunities for financial institutions. His grasp of technical capabilities and the application of user experiences from other fields, provides great insight for those organisations that leverage his and 11FS capabilities.

David has also transformed how many of us within the financial services sector consume industry related news and discussion, with 11FS creating such shows as “FinTech Insider”. Its now common place within FinTech to have podcasts and streamed shows, but it really seems that David and 11FS really got the ball rolling on that one.

5.      Dave Birch

Now Dave Birch is the odd one out in this list, because I don’t see Dave as a “doer” in the FinTech world, rather as a powerful voice and influencer. Dave has his own consultancy which provides valuable services to several sectors, not being linked solely to financial services. However, as an influencer, Dave is often at the sharp end of discussions regarding banking, banking experiences and the role of identity in these.

I would also add that Dave can be highly amusing to listen too, his knowledge is second to none, but his delivery is quite dry, and he always manages to put in a little content which is rather comical, which for me makes him far more entertaining to listen too – and lets face it, we all hear better when we enjoy listening to the person speaking…

So there you have it, my top 5 people in FinTech to pay attention to….

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