Each year, Money 20/20 Asia brings together senior representatives from the Financial Services, FinTech and Payments sectors, providing opportunities to learn about and discuss new developments shaping the future of money in the region.

This year’s event took place March 19-21 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore. More than 3,500 delegates representing 70 countries attended — including Fides CEO Andreas Lutz — and over 150 sponsors and exhibitors participated.

Conference sessions were broken down by themes including banking innovation, cross border payments, real time payments and card schemes, next gen retail and commerce, risk security and fraud, and of course, disruptive tech.  Money 20/20 is all about disruption, and how business models are changing to adapt to new technologies, new regulations and evolving priorities. Four primary conference topics — challenger banks, cybersecurity, platform ecology and blockchain — all sparked discussion and debate.

Emerging Technologies/Blockchain

Emerging technologies played a large role in the conference content, mirroring what is going on within the industry. Day One of the conference was “Token Day,” with deep dive content scheduled throughout the day focused on blockchain, cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence.

In both a session and panel discussion, IBM’s Head of Blockchain and Digital Currencies, Jesse Lund, talked about how digital currency and other digital assets will transform the payments value chain and Jed McCaleb, founder of Stellar, Ripple and Mt Gox, talked about blockchain use cases and development trends.  IBM also announced the launch of Blockchain World Wire, a new offering that uses blockchain technology and the Stellar protocol to enable financial institutions to clear and settle cross-border payments in seconds.

Cross-border payments have consistently been a source of pain for corporate treasurers. Having the ability to speed up that process, provided the right security and compliance controls are in place, could lead to new standards for excellence.

Fides believes that the impact of blockchain on financial services will continue to expand as the technology continues to become more mainstream and companies hire more developers and designers. Being able to boost efficiency and unlock new sources of value are compelling benefits for corporates in particular. One potential future option is tokenization for secure payment transfer with stable coins — but only time will tell.

We will continue to work on various initiatives to simplify and speed up cross-border payments and smart contracting for our clients. Our Fides tagline and motto is “Reach Further. Connect Faster.” And as the industry changes, we aim to keep that vow by changing right along with it.

Open Banking/Reaching the Unbanked

Tony Fernandes, Founder and CEO of AirAsia and Chairman of BigPay, talked about BigPay’s mission to reach the unbanked in southeast Asia. With BigPay, Fernandes aims to revolutionize paying, lending and remittance and also ultimately create interoperability throughout the region.

Open banking also continues to be a topic of discussion. Challenger banks like Revolut continue to gain traction (Revolut now has more than 3 million users across Europe) despite negative publicity, and now even Apple is getting into the banking game with the launch of its Apple Card. But regulatory compliance also plays a role, with worries over GDPR compliance breaches and the associated fines, as well as possibilities for PSD2 or similar framework adoption within Asia.

Payments

“As far as Payments go, platforms are key,” says our CEO, Andreas Lutz. Cross-border FinTech startup Airwallex — which just raised $100 million in Series C funding — presented a case study on the three types of platforms that are in use today:

  • Aggregation platforms that centralize data (like the Fides multi-banking platform)
  • Social platforms that connect individuals to communities
  • Mobilization platforms that move people to act together

Rapid growth doesn’t always happen overnight (even Amazon, Apple and Facebook started off small) and if it does, it’s important to be able to scale to meet demand. Success stories like those of AirAsia, Wechat, Grab, and OVO show what is possible when a platform is part of a smart ecosystem.

Innovation + Trust = Success

Having a robust and open partner ecosystem is important, as it provides the ability to offer clients a wider variety of services and options without locking them into choices they may later wish to change. Fides partners with the leading TMS providers, ERPs, banking, network and technology providers, and we are always actively looking for ways to extend our reach through new and creative partnerships.

Recently, we were recently jointly awarded the Global Finance 2019 Treasury and Cash Management Award for Best Use of Artificial Intelligence in Treasury Management along with our partner Cashforce, based on our ability to together deliver an end-to-end solution that leverages AI to provide better outcomes for corporate treasury and finance departments.

“Ultimately, the success of any platform is reliant upon both innovation and building trust. That’s something we know about at Fides, having been in business for more than a century!” Lutz said.

Fides is already the leader in the multi-bank connectivity space, with more than 3,000 clients. And we plan to continue to expand our reach, redefining financial services technology and communications in tandem with the needs of the market and our clients.

Lutz — and Fides — is dedicated to continuous improvement. “We will continue to build out our platform and our ecosystem, to provide our clients access to the things that truly matter to their jobs and their businesses,” he said.