For the second consecutive year, SEB Tech Days was arranged in Stockholm. The initiative attracted leading companies and entrepreneurs, challengers to the traditional banks and interested investors. The fast-growing Swedish fintech-company Northmill, was the keynote together with its partner Instantor, a company that simplifies financial decision-making using AI-driven technology.
The event centered around what is happening beyond PSD2, the necessity of digital ethics and how the customer is driving the development. In addition, one of the key themes of the day were the consequences of the fact that technology is the trusted partner of our time.
“Our average customer has probably never been inside a traditional bank office”, said Ninos Gawrieh, Security and Compliance Officer at Northmill. “Technology is a trusted partner of our time and we count on it to handle our everyday finances in a safe and secure way. However, it requires the companies to have a plan for digital ethics and drives them to be transparent about how they handle the customer data.”
The discussion at SEB Tech Days was characterized by the fact that the financial industry is in the midst of constant and strong change, filled with challenges – but that there are also opportunities for the attentive players. None of the participants doubted that this would increase the pressure for people, processes and products to quickly adapt to new prerequisites, fierce competition and new directives, such as PSD2.
“This development will carry on and most likely become more intense. Therefore, companies have to adapt their business models to be more open and flexible. The traditional financial institutions and the new players have to be prepared for a constant change”, Ninos Gawrieh explained. Accordinging to him, the actors on the financial field have to have a holistic approach and dare to look beyond PSD2. “Rather than leading the existing development, PSD2 is fueling it. Therefore, I claim that we are already living in the age of PSDX by design. Nonetheless, it is turning up the heat on the traditional players”, said Ninos Gawrieh.
The participants had a consensus about the advantage that the traditional players hold in terms of trust and loyalty from the customers. This advantage will diminish as digital natives who are born and raised with devices and new technology starts to represent an increasing part of the customer base. This is a customer group that expects to use secure and safe solutions and have a top of the line customer experience.
"We should not underestimate the importance of having the know-how and technical prerequisites when we are developing simple and value-adding solutions for the customers and aiming to make them proud users of our products. In a modern economy, that is how you build trust and create long-term customer relations. This development is benefiting tech-driven actors and gives them a competitive edge thanks to their position in the absolute forefront of technology,” said Ninos Gawrieh.
Despite the opportunities, there are naturally challenges to address, even in the field of fintech.
“Balancing between having a strong focus on innovation and handling the new legislation is a challenge. At Northmill, we have managed to find a healthy balance which makes it possible for us to accelerate our growth in a safe and secure way. We are in it for the long run, both in terms of our business and how we view the customer relations. We think that this is necessary in order to build trust over time and handle the development and changes in the financial industry”, said Ninos Gawrieh.