Last week we were fortunate enough to join many of our colleagues and industry enthusiasts at Australia’s largest fintech event, Intersekt 2022.
Despite having attended the event in previous years, I’m still amazed at how Fintech Australia (the event hosts) are able to bring together such a collection of fintechs, hubs, accelerators, policymakers, regulators and investors all under one roof for two-days of thought-provoking discussions and of course, a chance to network over a few drinks.
This year our Envestnet | Yodlee team was there in full force and both Lauren Applegate, our Director of Customer Success and Marketing in ANZ, and myself were fortunate enough to speak on a couple of panel sessions that are embedded in what we’re all about here at Envestnet | Yodlee – Open Finance and Responsible Lending.
Day 1 – Wednesday 7th September
On Wednesday, I joined Justin Joffe from Flux Finance and one of our close customers, Richard Shanahan from Tic:Toc as we discussed Responsible lending and the industry’s future – How fintech’s are leading the way, hosted by the wonderful Jacquie Duncan from Stone & Chalk.
My biggest takeaway from that conversation was how we need to provide more transparency from a consumer and business perspective when it comes to lending. Justin made a great point that it’s not just about ‘responsible lending’ but instead ‘lending responsibly’ which is something I couldn’t agree more with. As data aggregators we hold the key to empowering businesses to really understand a consumer’s financial position so that we’re setting them up for success with their loan, whether that be a mortgage, car loan or even a BNPL offering. Having full transparency across CDR and non-CDR datasets is what will allow us to make lending decisions based on the consumers best interests.
Such a great session and I look forward to catching up with Justin, Richard and Jacquie soon.
Day 2 – Thursday 8th September
Like any good conference, Day 2 was a chance for us to drown our last night’s drinks with some of Melbourne’s world-famous coffee and explore further some of the trends from Day 1.
At midday, I was fortunate enough to attend the Open Finance: unlocking new opportunities panel session, hosted by our very own Lauren Applegate. Joining Lauren were some of our close customers and friends, Simon Docherty from Frollo, Dan Jovevski at WeMoney and Emily Martin from The Treasury.
The conversation focused heavily on where we currently are with CDR in Australia and the opportunities it presents both consumers and businesses. It was really interesting when Emily from The Treasury provided us with insights into what the future may look like for CDR, including the upcoming opportunity to welcome submissions regarding payment initiation.
While the above pays tribute to some of the great conversations we were involved in, here’s also some other takeaways from the event that I hope fintech’s can take value from.
It was hard to find a panel session or even a conversation where someone wasn’t talking about the global opportunities that fintechs have. This was made more apparent when eleven fintech companies from the UK landed on shore to hear from senior figures about the Australian fintech landscape, policy developments and the opportunity to build some connections.
Fintech’s having a global mindset is nothing new. However, the big takeaway here was that with more potential barriers to funding, alternative access to finance should always be considered in overseas markets as well as your own.
Interestingly, we saw a lot this year on DeFi and Web3 and the continued fascination into virtual worlds set to revolutionise the way fintech’s may operate. CBDCs, blockchain and payments have merged in Australia; something that apparently isn’t a global trend. While Web3 and Fintech were often viewed in silo, given most fintech offerings are closely aligned to CeFi, what we actually heard was how the two could coexist – especially as conversations around token mapping and/or stablecoins continue to evolve.
However, the RBA may not see it that way as Ellis Connolly who spoke at the event said the central bank had a “very open mind” about potential use cases for a digital currency but was not yet convinced about extending to retail users.
3. Open Banking & CDR
Like conferences before, CDR continued to be a hot topic at Intersekt 2022. While some have scrutinised the rollout speed of the Consumer Data Right, there was optimism about what the future holds for the program as it looks to expand beyond banking, energy and telecommunications into the non-bank lending sector. It’s here where you could see people’s ears perk up as they start to consider the potential benefits for individuals and businesses, not just through service but actually encouraging further innovation.
Overall, it’s fair to say that Intersekt was another shining example of Australia and New Zealand remaining home to some of the most exciting and disruptive players in the fintech space and we’re excited to see what the next 12 months brings. Nice work Intersekt 2022, we’ll see you next year!