Capital Markets Insights

5 key takeaways from Innovation panel at SWIFT Business Forum Canada

SWIFT Business Forum Canada gathered over 340 financial service leaders to discuss the opportunities and threats of rapid technological advancement across the financial ecosystem in Canada.

Katipult CIO, Ben Cadieux, second from the right, on SWIFT Business Forum Canada 2018

Our CIO, Ben Cadieux, was one of the panelists for “Shaping the Future: Innovation in Action” together with Tim Hogarth, VP of Innovation Strategies and Framework at TD Bank Group, and Nicholas Bayley, Managing Director of Accenture Strategy at Accenture Canada. The panel was moderated by Ryan Masters, Executive Director & Strategic Relationship Manager at SWIFT.

The panel was aiming to uncover how leaders are shaping the future of financial services by strategically employing new technologies, successfully utilizing information and Big Data, and reshaping their infrastructures.

Here are the 5 key takeaways from the panel “Shaping the Future: Innovation in Action” on SWIFT Business Forum Canada 2018:

Blockchain is past the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage

Blockchain is not a new concept. It was introduced in the early 90s with the first mention of smart contracts. With billions of dollars invested into cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies, you can argue that it is actually a mature concept that has already proved itself. The blockchain technology moves so quickly, from PoC, to being available on the market, to becoming the norm.

A lot of companies, including Katipult, are working on creating actionable products and services based on blockchain. Some banks, on the other hand, including TD Bank, are still being cautious and state that they are in the PoC stage with blockchain.

Smart Contracts are going to be the Game-Changer

Although the Smart Contract concept is not new, Blockchain technology is making it actionable within sensitive business processes. The main benefit of Smart Contracts is the level of trust and transparency it brings, and ability to balance how that trust is built into application i.e., payment transactions, legal agreements, voting, etc.

Regulation is lagging

Everyone on the panel agreed that regulation needs to keep up with fintech innovation. Regulators must resist the urge to control or contain innovation such as blockchain, cryptocurrency, or fintech, but rather empower industry players to innovate faster.

AI is going to fundamentally change banking

AI (artificial intelligence) is seen as potentially more important to the banks than when the internet first launched. By creating massive changes to everything in the back office of the transaction banking landscape, it has the potential to fundamentally change the way banks operate.  On the other hand, this can create potential issues with corporate culture as digital transformation is affecting the workforce. With AI and machine learning taking up an increasing workload, banks will have to look into transforming the way their operations while focusing on customer experience.

Banks need to keep up with innovation

This event was mainly geared toward the banking industry, however many in attendance represented the broader financial industry. It would be unfair to say that the feeling that banks need to keep up with innovation was shared by everyone on the panel. The banks felt that they are still at the forefront of the innovation as they are the trusted and important institutions in the current financial ecosystem.

And we do not disagree with that.

We argue that as such important figures in the market, banks need to stop only listening and adapting to customers, and start changing and disrupting the industry, in a way Apple did in the consumer tech field. Banks definitely have the power and resources to pressure regulators and politicians, and with them taking the lead through different channels, the speed of innovation in the financial industry will dramatically increase.