KPMG Finance Forum on Fintech

Conference notes from the traditional KPMG´s meetup.

12th edition of the traditional conference for financial sector got the new name this year and focused on modern technologies in banking and insurance. We have prepared for you brief notes summarizing all inspirational sessions.

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Dorel Blitz

Radek Halíček, KPMG Czech Republic, Managing Partner

Facebook is currently the biggest media house in the world. If current finance leaders do not want to end up like their colleagues from the media sector, they must learn how to make effective use of technologies. FinTech is the future.

René Kubů, Microsoft Czech Republic, Business Strategy Lead

The only certain constant is change. We must accept that and prepare ourselves, among other things, for the democratisation of artificial intelligence. Over the last years we have been making every effort to teach people to understand computers. Now comes the time to teach computers to understand us. 

Michal Pobuda, KPMG Czech Republic, Director

Will FinTech rule the world? Why couldn’t the world of finance have a player similar to Uber in transport, Spotify in music or Airbnb in travel and tourism? The reasons for this not to happen are few. It is therefore worthwhile to acquaint ourselves with the world’s most promising and largest FinTech companies. 

Where do these companies come from? What do they know? How come they are able to change the world? Find out answers to these questions in the Fintech top 100.

The new generation of FinTech start-ups will change the rules of the game. Whereas the first generation brought more money to traditional companies, the second generation currently evolving will start generating its own profit and acquire its own customers. 

Mojmír Hampl, Czech National Bank, Vice-Governor

Bitcoin’s huge instability makes it unacceptable for the majority of people.

In principle, Bitcoin remains extremely unstable. 

I have nothing personal against virtual currencies. But, at the same time, I am not advocating their promotion. They may exist in their time and space. The more people use virtual currencies, the bigger the pressure on their regulation. 

We must also consider the virtual currencies’ proportion. Bitcoin’s global
market accounts for one tenth of the Czech money supply.

David Vávra, OGResearch, Managing Partner

Money is not only a means of exchange; the key is its value.

Will digital currencies change the concept of money we know today? What is certain is that tens of central banks in the world are trying to figure out how to use blockchain technology within the existing currency concept. This may create new and interesting monetary policy opportunities, leading to enhanced transparency and safety.

Bitcoin is a pseudo anonymous currency. Owing to blockchain, everybody knows who is sending how much money and where to. Ultimate identities may in reality remain hidden, however. 

Dorel Blitz, KPMG Israel, Head of Fintech

In 2035, the number of robots will exceed the number of people worldwide.

Nobody is interested in banks. People just want to have everything they need as quickly as possible. Banks must open their doors for them and some have already begun to do so. FinTech is not about disruption but collaboration. 

People just hate entering PINs and authentication. The future lies with other means of identity confirmation such as fingerprints, voice verification or eye prints. 

Daryl Pereira, KPMG Singapore, Partner & Head of Cybersecurity

Cybernetic risks are among the three most significant security risks in the world. 

The danger does not lie in software or hardware but in people. A high level of risk comes from inside companies; 40-60% of successful hacker attacks are carried out with the help of someone working for the company under assault.

FinTech is developing very fast and so are the opportunities for cybernetic attacks. Cyber security is essential for the development of small banks and financial start-ups. 

For USD 500, anyone can download instructions on how to become a hacker. 

Michaela Erbenová, IMF, Executive Director

The financial crisis resulted in the decline of trust in established financial institutions. Customers are therefore much more inclined to choose alternative solutions.

In her presentation, Michaela Erbenová recalled Gándhí’s famous quote: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. “I think we are now in the fighting phase”, said Erbenová, commenting on FinTech and traditional market players.

The structure of the market and its players is changing but finances will remain. We will see more competition and concentration in the market, which will be good for customers. 

Jack Stack, Erste Group, Supervisory Board Member

Banks are like dinosaurs but unlike them, they are changing. FinTech is putting pressure on banks, advising them to be more innovative, which is a good thing.

Bank branches will probably be here forever. Their number as well as their size is likely to get smaller, but their physical presence is still important for people.

We may call it a transformation or something like that. It is clear that banks are changing and that they are hurting in the process, but it is nevertheless something bank managers both in the Czech Republic and abroad must keep doing. And we will be successful, as over the last 300 years, banks have always managed to adapt to changes.

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