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Fintech comes to Davos

13 January 2016  |  12361 views  |  0 Go!

Fintech will be high on the agenda at this year's World Economic Forum jamboree in Davos, as senior bankers take to the stage to discuss the digital convulsion hitting their industry, and smaller startups stalk the halls.

The great and the good from the business and political worlds will descend on the tiny Swiss town later this month for their annual get-together, which this year will focus on the theme of the fourth industrial revolution.

One area that will be profoundly altered by the rapidly changing technological landscape is financial services. In a session on the fintech revolution, Lloyds of London CEO Inga Beale, ING chief Ralph Hamers, Swift boss Gottfried Leibbrandt and Visa president Ryan McInerney will talk about how new technologies and evolving customer expectations are reshaping the ecosystem.

Noticeably absent from the panel are any of the new breed of fintech entrants that pose both a threat and opportunity to the speakers' businesses. PayPal's Dan Schulman does make it - alongside John Cryan, co-CEO of Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley's James Gorman - onto a panel discussing how digitisation, data privacy and systemic connectedness are transforming finance.

Meanwhile, Taavet Hinrikus, the CEO of TransferWise, which has loudly set itself against the establishment banks, makes it onto the stage as part of a discussion on the "unicorn effect". TransferWise was one of three fintech firms, along with Ripple and iZettle, to be named a WEF "technology pioneer" in 2015.

Ripple's co-founder Chris Larsen will be in Davos too, with the distributed ledger, bitcoin and its rivals likely a topic for discussion thanks to a talk from Brian Forde, director, digital currency at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory.

Other fintech players, such as TransferGo, may not yet have made it onto the official programme with the giants they hope to disrupt, but will be doing the rounds during the evenings attending parties, including the inaugural Global Fintech Nightcap.

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