FinTech is a buzzword that incorporates a vast array of financial sectors, functions and new ideas that are disrupting the traditional ways in financial services.
Some start-ups are operating in a crowded space, some are genuinely game-changing, while others are tackling a niche. In a series of five minute pitches at Finovate Europe this week, top FinTech firms were touting their wears. Here’s our pick of the strange, interesting and innovative.
1. A robo-adviser for your car
When you’re driving your sportscar around the streets of Monaco, who really wants to only concentrate on the road? Why not interact with your own AI personal assistant and make some important investment decisions while you’re in the go?
Poland-based financial software firm Comarch has created Myra, an in-car investment assistant targeted at wealthy bank customers. Think a female, slightly stroppy HAL telling you if your portfolio is out of whack. Just don’t ask her about the weather…she doesn't appear keen on smalltalk.
2. Eye-scanning technology for your bank account
Remember that scene in The Night Manager when Tom Hiddleston scans his retina to complete a multi-million dollar arms deal and then BOOM! it all kicks off? Well, that could be you.
OK, maybe not, but EyeVerify has the likes of Wells Fargo and other smaller retail banks using biometric data to verify access to bank accounts. It scans the veins in the whites of your eye to identify customers.
3. The Fitbit of personal finance management
Managing your finances is a complete snooze-fest, right? Meniga has just released an app called Challenges, which adds a gamification and social aspect to keeping on top of spending and saving. Think financial fitness, motivational saving goals and amusing warnings on spending too much. Millennials. Santander, ING, Commerzbank and Intesa all clients.
4. Twitter access for traders and analysts
This might seem like a small thing, but getting on social media when you work in banking is a problem. Not only do most banks block access to the sites, but the recent insider trading and rate fixing scandals mean that surfing on social media presents a litany of compliance problems. EarlyBird is a Fintech start-up that offers access to Twitter in a ‘read-only’ capacity, meaning that traders can access all the vast amount of information there, but the Twitter itself remains blocked. It’s also all recorded for compliance.
5. AML software to alleviate the burden on overworked compliance teams
Deutsche Bank’s latest fine - $630m to settle alleged mirror trades used to launder $10bn out of Russia – suggested that its compliance team were overworked. One Deutsche Banker complained they had “too many jobs” and “had to deal with many things and had to prioritise”, according to regulator documents. Investigating suspicious behaviour wasn’t one of these priorities, it seems.
Aqubix has created a KYC portal that allows banks to look at customer transactions across jurisdictions, highlights any suspicious activity immediately and automates a lot of the manual processes that keep banks’ compliance teams so busy. It also records any interactions with customers during the due diligence process.