Experts debate the future of fintech at Business School conference


Professor Nelson Phillips addresses delegates at the Business School

Professor Nelson Phillips addresses delegates at the Business School

London's position as a global hub for financial technology was among the hot topics under discussion at an Imperial event, held this month.

Industry leaders, entrepreneurs and academics gathered to discuss the latest trends in financial technology at Business School for the Imperial Fintech Conference 2016.

The event was held in celebration of Imperial’s new Centre for Global Finance and Technology, which was launched with initial support from Citi. Researchers at the Centre aim to improve our understanding of the impact of technology on finance, business and society.

Dr Andrei Kirilenko, Director of the Centre for Global Finance and Technology at the Business School, said: “It was great to see so many influential academic thinkers and industry practitioners come together to discuss broad developments in the industry. This was the first truly academic fintech conference in the world and I am really pleased with how well our centre pulled the event together.”

See what delegates attending the conference had to say about financial technology in the video below.

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You can also listen to a podcast interview with Dr Kirilenko, where he talks about how fintech is changing society.

At the conference, opinions varied when delegates were asked to define what fintech was.

Devie Mohan, a fintech market strategist and blogger, said: “The term applies to companies that started after the global financial crisis. These companies have expansion plans and offer a digital experience to consumers.”

Professor Nelson Phillips, Dean of Imperial College Business School, emphasised the importance of the conference in highlighting London as a major player in the fintech field.

Professor Phillips said: “I believe that post-Brexit, London will continue to be a magnet for the global fintech industry. Quite simply, this is still the best place to have the industry hub. We at Imperial College Business School will do our part in making this happen by doing more on fintech research, public outreach and education.”

Throughout the day, business leaders and academics debated the challenges and opportunities in the field, discussing the evolution of areas such as digital currency, crowdfunding, mobile payments and industry regulation.


Conference delegates at the Business School

In a series of keynote speeches and panel discussions, participants examined what fintech means for both start-ups and big businesses and how the technology is benefitting consumers.

In an afternoon panel discussion, Paul Grout, an advisor to the Bank of England spoke of the challenges of trying to regulate fintech.

Mr Grout said: “Fintech represents enormous change with huge regulatory issues. However, consumers need to have confidence in regulators for fintech to be widely successful, which means that regulators need to focus more on their brand and image rather than just on regulatory laws.”

Talking about how the industry has evolved in recent years, Huy Nguyen Trieu, a fintech commentator who writes a blog called Disruptive Finance, said: “Four to five years ago no-one had even thought of fintech, but suddenly the technology took off. We’re now seeing a second wave of (innovation) in fintech where more companies are entering the space because the risks are much lower as more companies recognise the benefits of the technology to their businesses.”



Laura Singleton

Laura Singleton
Communications Division


Entrepreneurship, Strategy-core-disciplines, Strategy-decision-makers
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