FinTech and banking partnerships critical despite culture clash

Partnerships between FinTech and banks are seen as crucial as banks look to innovate.
By Paul Walsh

Collaboration between FinTechs and banks is crucial despite a potential culture clash between the two, according to industry experts at Sibos 2016.

An audience poll revealed that 86% of audience members believed banks would be able to partner profitably with FinTech, believing such partnerships are vital for future success.

Cindi Murray, head of digital transformation at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) stressed that banks could no longer handle all activities in-house and that collaboration was vital.

“I don’t think that the banking industry has any intent of developing everything in house, we are not as nimble and we are spending huge amounts on compliance and meeting regulators requirements.

“Certainly we are looking for innovation outside of the bank walls so we need to partner because over the last 10 years we worked with a lot of start-ups to provide technology solutions and starting of as a partnership works very well,” said Murray.

Jason Nabi, head of EMEA at financial software company Paxos also stressed the need for collaboration for specific operations.

“It comes down to real collaboration, real partnering not only in special circumstances but in terms of how we as an industry operate and how technology can solve issues in the industry such as post-trade operations,” he said.

The panel was also quick to dismiss the notion that the culture of FinTech companies could prevent such partnerships taking place.

“Where the banking industry is not nimble are things around information security and technology staff,” said Murray.

“Many of the FinTechs want to work with the large banks because of what they can offer, FinTechs will think that these partnerships will give them the volume and name recognition.

Murray also concluded that while working with FinTechs BAML had not “killed” the culture of those FinTechs.

The theme of culture in FinTech companies has been a recurring theme throughout the Sibos conference.

A similar panel yesterday revealed that a distinct cultural shift is required for the securities services industry as firms needs to embrace millennial culture in their pursuit of FinTech developments.

Today’s panellists also suggested that the traditional banks must take example from FinTechs and be “brave, bold and agile” in order to be profitable in the future.