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Geoff Doubleday - The Fintech Legend

January 2018 saw the sad passing of Geoff Doubleday, one of the founding fathers of the financial technology revolution, long before the word Fintech was even invented. He truly was a visionary who recognised the power of technology, and how if applied properly, it would transform the world of banking and finance forever. Geoff had a dream and the opportunity to turn this dream into reality came, when in the middle 90's he was appointed Head of Technology at Nomura in London. Back then, terms like connectivity and integration were only just emerging but are now, because of Geoff, common and essential business-as-usual functions for modern banking. He was determined to drag Nomura into the twentieth century and reap the many benefits that adopting innovative technology could deliver. Geoff certainly ruffled more than a few feathers when he initiated a 'hare-brained' plan to connect the front, middle and back office operations. This ambitious project was aptly code-named Houdini and the team was led by other Nomura stalwarts, Ian Buchanan, Mark Butterfield together with Kevin Gage. Others elsewhere, may at the time have also been thinking along similar lines, but Geoff was different, he made it happen. 

According to his friends and colleagues he was a giant of man, a risk taker whose strength of character, together with a ruthless streak, coupled with kindness and a laser sharp focus on getting the job done, was unique. His unflinching and generous support of fledging firms, run by the likes of Gerry Buggy, Straz and Roddy Manzie at MSB and at the time, the highly disruptive Tibco company, helped them and others, to grow into valuable businesses, providing a springboard for sustained future success. Although deadly serious about business he also enjoyed life and his cars. A very funny story about Geoff, roaring up a hotel drive in a shiny red Ferrari springs to mind. Geoff was proud of his achievements. 

The impact he made on the bank, the people and firms he worked with was immeasurable. Unlike many today, he was not afraid to talk about his success in public. 

He was, and remains one of the few individuals, within banks who really understood the power of publicity. Self-promotion notwithstanding, he recognised that it was important to share his vision and the positive impact the new technology was making. Unusually, for someone in such a senior position he was open and approachable and had a lot to say, generating many column inches in the press. A journalist's and PR company's dream. 

The modern-day Fintech industry has a lot to thank Geoff Doubleday for. His vision and drive opened people's eyes to what was possible. He was a force for change, transforming long established attitudes and approaches across the banking industry. According to Geoff, “At the end of the day, when talking about new technologies - it's all about tank tops and flares" . A fitting epitaph for a true visionary. Geoff was a legend. The likes of which we will not see again.

  

 

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