Finovate Europe, London’s largest annual fintech event, displayed the best and boldest examples of disruptive technology in the financial sector, from cloud technology to cryptocurrencies. Anna Milne and Patrick Brusnahan report from the event and look closer at some of the stars of the two-day conference

Over 1,250 people flocked to the Finovate event, held at the world-famous Old Billingsgate Market, in the City of London on 11-12 February, to witness 72 demos with each company given only seven minutes to present their product. This resulted in firms getting straight to the point in their presentations, while trying to stand out among the myriad selection of disruptive technologies on show. If anything, the event was an apt metaphor for how quick technology moves in the modern age. Here is a selection of the some of the more noticable products and services on display:

Trunomi launches KYC app for banks to put customers in control of personal data

It is, says Stuart Lacey, CEO and founder of Bermuda-headquartered start-up Trunomi, an industry first – the only mobile app that empowers financial institutions’ customers to control their personal identification data.

For the first time, financial institutions can integrate their existing KYC and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data-reliant processes into an easy-to-use mobile app. Customers using the TruMobile app can manage, provide and update identification
documents in real-time directly from their mobile device. The solution will also help financial institutions to meet the demands of incoming EU data protection regulation.

Amid a series of strong sound bites, Lacy said: "Trunomi can help financial institutions to on-board customers up to five times faster at less than 20% of the cost of today’s manual process.

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"A huge convergence is on the horizon. Regulatory change, political will, customer choice, data security risks and technological
development will push financial institutions to adopt an ‘informed consent’ approach to privacy and PII data usage.

"European financial institutions in particular face unprecedented challenges to comply with regulations and satisfy consumer
scrutiny around data privacy. Our solution will alleviate the burden of KYC and customer on-boarding and turn a compliance nightmare into a relationship building opportunity for financial institutions and their customers."

Just prior to presenting at Finovate, Trunomi was named as one of the Fin-Tech50 2015 — described by organisers as "the 50 game-changers transforming the future of finance". Trunomi raised an angel round of financing in 2014 of $2m from an investor groupincluding a private equity fund, and audit, tax and advisory services firm KPMG Bermuda, as well as other investors. This first round of investing was oversubscribed within 13 days.

Temenos Connect Mobile Banking

Temenos Connect Mobile Banking combines native and web technologies in a hybrid technology solution, enabling a mobile app to tailor fit the device it is on, due to a native skin which recognises the device and adapts accordingly. Temenos says it’s the firstmobile banking solution to be underpinned by a user experience platform that drives multi-device banking solutions.

finovate 1"This mobile banking app showcases the benefits of SmartHybrid developed apps. SmartHybrid is a technology solution that develops mobile applications that look, feel and behave like native apps and is the only mobile application development technology currently available that optimises the performance of hybrid mobile applications," Temenos stated in its presentation.

A widget is downloaded from Temenos’s Marketplace App Store, to add additional functionality to the Mobile Banking App, which will then become available to users of the app, across multiple device platforms (iOS, Windows, Android) without users having to re-download or update the app on their device. Sadly, the internet failed Temenos throughout its demo, but it must be said its delegates handled this hiccup like seasoned professionals, and generated enough interest to attract a queue of interested parties at their stand for a personal demo afterwards. Speaking with Dharmesh Mistry, Temenos’s product director, prior to demo day, was interesting. Effusive and genuinely enthusiastic about this product with the kind of spark you’d expect from a start-up, he’s rightly proud of this development. "It will save hours of time and millions of pounds for those who invest," Mistry says. "It can take up to three weeks just to change a typo on an app, but due to the minimising of extra coding with this product, this time-frame can be reduced to two-to-three days."What sets this apart?

  • An intelligent cache mechanism in browser-based apps as opposed to native apps.
  • A skin, which recognises the device on which it is downloaded so that it behaves like a native app. Being, as they say, the first banking provider to embed UXP into the edge platform in 2012, the developed software now means the elimination ofweeks’ worth of coding to modify the apps per device. In this day and age, there are too many devices on the market to accommodate that kind of workload. This applies to branch screens also, as branches become more open plan and staff more mobile.


Akamai’s Client Reputation

Cloud service provider Akamai demonstrated a system that helps to forecast malicious intent, not only based on what the malevolent are currently doing to your website, but also based on their past affinities and malicious dealings elsewhere. The product is called Client Reputation and it protects applications against distributed denial of service (often hailed as the most vicious of online attacks) and application layer attacks. It does this by identifying and sharing with customers the likelihood that IP addresses fall into one of four so-called malicious categories:

  • Web attackers,
  • Denial of service,
  • Web scrapers,
  • Scanning tools.

Akamai delivers 15-30% of all web traffic globally – two trillion web hits a day. Akamai stated in its presentation: "We generate about 270 terabytes of compressed data logs. A couple of years ago we built a system which stores and analyses 4 TB of security data going round the internet from all customers and tries to figure out who’s doing really bad on the internet. In order to find and flag up these people we allocate a score between one and ten and the score’s based on the distribution of the attacks, how many outgoing customers are attacked, the magnitude of the attack, how many hackers are actually trying to perform and the persistence of the attacker.

"Using this data our customers can build security and education policies which allows them to receive alerts, or even block these malicious users before they attack their sites."

Avoka lauches its Three-Minute Loan

One of the winners of ‘Best in Show’ at Finovate, Avoka, the digital transaction enablement company, made a presentation about its Three-Minute Loan.

Utilising a mobile device to verify identities, check credit ratings and implement anti-money laundering processes, Avoka
demonstrated how it could reduce friction in financial services. One of its clients saw its personal loan application rates rise from 36% to 51% in just four weeks.

The process combined social and cloud services to streamline account opening and credit origination, resulting in minimal customer effort and maximum customer acquisition.

When speaking to EPI, chief marketing officer Reid Hislop said: "The key is around usability. It really helps people understand
where you find value and that’s what we focused on.

"We are omnichannel and multichannel. You can start the application on your smartphone and you might finish it at night on a tablet. Speed is important for us in terms of the customer experience and making it as frictionless as possible."

Avoka found the event good practice in increasing its brand awareness – a struggle it is still coping with. Hislop posed the question: "What would you search for on Google and come up with Avoka? It’s a problem for us."

He continued: "We spend a fair bit of time with the analyst community – letting them know what we do. The media is important for us; just having them understand what we do and getting them to write about us. Outside that, social media is helpful, but again, we’re still dealing with that problem."

The media is a particular issue and companies providing loans of all kinds receive particularly negative attention. Hislop recognises this and said: "We’re trying to make it as much of a reality as we can. We’re trying to focus in on that; it’s not so much about the loan experience, but what that loan enables you to do. We think consumers looking at this environment is looking more to enhance their lives, rather than sourcing an excessive or irresponsible amount of money."

What is Avoka planning next? The company is developing a ‘customer effort score’, a benchmarking platform to decipher how much work a customer needs to put in to use certain services. This, in turn, helps financial institutions to locate friction in their processes and remove it.

Telenor banka, the first fully mobile bank in Serbia

Telenor banka, the first direct bank in Serbia and the South-East Europe region, which has banking that is is fully mobile,demonstrated a fully automated and personalised online offer of purchase loans for smartphones. The service is also customised to the customers’ needs in real-time.

This IT solution was a follow-up to Telenor banka’s existing offer of interest-free loans for purchasing devices, which the bank introduced in December.

Despite having launched only five months ago, the bank has enjoyed a large amount of support, both at the conference and on its own home turf. Martin Navratil, chairman of the executive board at Telenor banka, said to EPI: "We’ve already seen good customer feedback. We’ve seen a move towards mobile banking services in Serbia. Between launch and now, the usage of mobile banking
services has more than doubled. It’s a pretty significant achievement. Other players are joining us. We are happy as we are seeing customers get a better service.

"In terms of ratings, on the Google and Apple app stores, our reputation is the highest rated in the region. For example, we are
rated 4.54 out of 5 on Google and above 4 on Apple."

A completely mobile alternative seems to be a terrific idea. However, looking at its penetration rate, the outlook doesn’t seem bright. Eighty per cent of all transactions in Serbia are in cash.

Navratil said: "You’re seeing exactly what we saw. The majority of transactions were in cash and Facebook penetration
was only 50%. However, the growth rate of online shopping tripled in the last three years. People are more or less ready, but
banks are still an offline set-up and they did not make the move forward. We simply filled this gap. The differentiator for us was
that we started from scratch to be suitable for those channels. Other banks have legacy systems and cannot release these systems as quickly as us.

"The overall change won’t be tomorrow, but it’s coming pretty fast. People are becoming happy with using their mobile phone for banking. People like it."

In terms of its future plans, Telenor banka want to ‘dominate’ the mobile market. Navratil concluded: "We’ve been in the market for five months. We are already dominating and we want to make that gap bigger. We’re not stopping and we are constantly in development. We have made an unofficial promise to our customers that we will always be the first ones to launch innovation."

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