Four FinTech Observations from the Intersekt Festival

The Intersekt Festival is consistently one of Australia’s most vital FinTech events, year after year. Regional advocacy body, FinTech Australia put on this can’t miss conference which sets the agenda for thought-leadership and upcoming FinTech trends. This year, they worked with public health officials in Victoria to ensure that their in-person event was safe and adhered to local protocols.

On the heels of one of the most consequential years for financial wellness and innovation, I joined my Envestnet | Yodlee colleagues to both observe and contribute to some of the most important conversations of the event.

The 2021 agenda was jampacked, not just with fireside chats and networking events, but also with the energy from a bustling Fintech community keen to reconnect, discuss and inspire. The sold-out event did not disappoint! Well done, Fintech Australia!

Common topics for the two-day conference included Automation, Open Banking, Trust, and Collaboration. 

1. Automation:

Wayne Baskin, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Superhero pointed out when reminiscing on his past experiences at Booktopia, back when shipping books in 10-14 days was acceptable. Now if people aren’t getting that instant gratification, it’s not good enough. Whether it be e-commerce, or business services, consumers expect items immediately. The way to achieve this level of service is through automation. Business such as BeemIt, Groupee and Deferit discussed how their collaboration with BPay enables their users gain confidence and instant fulfillment with the ease of payment automation. 

2. Open Banking:

Judging by the number of speakers on the topic, as well as discussions I had during the conference, open banking is a hot topic for discussion. FinTechs are optimistic and hopeful that the Consumer Data Right (CDR) will bring more trust from consumers in sharing their data and a regulatory framework in which access to consumer-permissioned financial data will provide powerful and innovative customer solutions. This was applicable to several use cases, including lending, Personal Finance Management and payments when read/write access is confirmed in the CDR roadmap.

3. Trust

I quite liked how Sarah Bowles, Chief Payment Officer from EML broke trust down into three components: 

  • Relationship trust – do you have a consumer’s best interests at heart?
  • Credential trust – are you following the regulatory requirements to keep a consumer’s money safe
  • Information trust – are you keeping a consumer’s personal information safe? 

Each of these components of trust can erode over time. Arun Maharaj, CEO from Hashchhing pointed out brand loyalty is a challenge within the neobank loan market.  It may be easy to gain customers, but the challenge is in keeping them.  Both Sarah, along with Michael Cerbara, the Chief Operating Officer from Beforepay agreed those who are using consumer-permissioned financial data in a meaningful way to build on the trust rather than take customers for granted are the business that succeed. 

4. Collaboration:

Partnerships and collaboration were other great topics for discussion.  It was great to see a number of fireside chats where new partnerships (86 400 and Ubank) and old (Bendigo and Tic Toc) discussed engaging a suitable partner and the need for transparency to address challenges and disagreements. It’s becoming quite clear that bank and fintech partnerships are the way forward to building functional, unique and personalised services for customers..


The Intersekt Festival and the FinTech Australia team proved that opportunities in today’s FinTech ecosystem are vast and the potential for innovation is nearly limitless. I already can’t wait for next year’s event!