SAP Financial Services Forum Focus: Anne Boden, Starling Bank

SAP Financial Services Forum Focus: Anne Boden, Starling Bank

Boden is CEO and Founder of Starling Bank, which was recently named by the Sunday Times as one of the top 25 FinTech Start-Ups in the world.

Boden has a strong track record in banking, previously Chief Operating Officer of Allied Irish Banks Plc and Head of EMEA, Global Transaction Banking across 34 countries for RBS and ABN AMRO. Boden began her career at Lloyds Bank, moved on to Standard Chartered Bank and then UBS in Zurich. In June 2010, Treasury and Risk Magazine named her as one of the ten most influential figures in Global Finance.

Boden will speak at the upcoming SAP Financial Services Forum, June 23-24, London where she will look at the challenger bank landscape and how an absence of legacy technology infrastructure has enabled these institutions to more effectively establish digital customer strategies.

Q: What does digital innovation mean to you?

A: Digital Innovation doesn't mean appointing someone to your executive team with the title head of Digital or Innovation, it does mean opening your eyes to what is going on around you. Digital is not something that comes as an extra but is about totally embracing what is currently happening in the consumer internet world.

Q: What are the main challenges and opportunities that the financial services world faces as adoption of digital technologies becomes greater?

A: It is fair to say the war of cash has not yet been won but with contactless cards and e-wallets, we should make huge strides in the next few years. Of course, the number and age of legacy systems of incumbent banks is another one of the frequently cited challenges. The opportunities on the other hand could fill a book and often do. For me the biggest opportunity is to integrate really useful technology into people's daily lives. Banking should be beautifully and seamlessly integrated in everything you do. Each time you make a decision about a purchase, make a payment or plan for the future, there is an opportunity to make the experience efficient and added value.

Q: How can customer-led innovation be better ingrained within financial institutions?

A: Paul Graham the well-known technology start-up investor talks about "making something that people really want". This is easier in smaller startups where the founders are likely to be the end consumers and are making product for their peers. It is much more difficult in large regulated institutions where prototyping with real customers is fraught with regulatory problems. Despite the constraints, financial institutions should at least try to get early stage pre- release product in the hands of real customers at the earliest opportunity.

Q: How can banks, financial institutions and insurance companies respond to competition from major consumer tech firms and new players who offer innovative digital and mobile financial services products?

A: Remember that new entrants are more often that not populated by passionate people with a vision and on a mission to make radical change. Creating that passion for change in an organisation wounded by the financial crisis and increasing regulation is difficult but not impossible. Find the passionate people and their enthusiasm will be far more powerful that a new process for innovation.

Comments: (2)

Ramani Balakrishnan
Ramani Balakrishnan - TCS - Chennai 22 June, 2015, 10:13Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I had the honour of interacting with Anne during April 2014 on this initiative! glad to see this as one of the top start-ups!

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 23 June, 2015, 04:03Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes Ramani, I am sure that the focus of SAP and the bank in Fintech is on target. Met the team last week at the forum in Hong Kong and was quite impressed. Unfortunately cant get to London this week. Best Mark