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Apac banks suspicious about fintech consortiums

13 April 2017  |  17099 views  |  4 Collaborate

A research paper has revealed a level of scepticism among Asia Pacific banks when it comes to joining forces with fintechs.

The paper, produced by law firm Simmons & Simmons, shows that the overwhelming majority of financial institutions in Hong Kong and Singapore (92%) expect to collaborate with fintech firms in the next 18 months in order to close the gap in innovation between new and old.
 
However there is much more divergence on what form this collaboration should take and the various concerns that banks have around working with rivals and participating in industry consortiums. 
 
Just under three-quarters of respondents said that consortia are vital to advancing certain digital technologies, such as distributed ledger technology (DLT). However, 65% said that they would prefer to focus on their own initiatives rather than take part in any industry cooperative.
 
The survey participants listed a number of concerns around the growing number of industry groups that have emerged in recent years and months, not least in the DLT field where groups like R3 have become prominent.
 
These concerns include the high number of participants and their lack of alignment and the consequent lack of effectiveness and control for individual banks in the group's direction. An additional concern among banks was that joining consortia would harm their competitive advantage.
 
"Care is needed to ensure consortia arrangements do not give rise to technical or practical competition law issues,” said Charles Bankes, Competition Partner at Simmons & Simmons. However, there needs to be a balance, adding that for a DLT consortium, there is little point in having systems that work for only a small segment of the industry. "The value is generated by enabling a network effect," he said.
 
The report cites the Utility Settlement Coin (USC) consortium, which currently has five member banks, as an example of starting from a smaller base to build momentum. “We’ve kept the USC consortium to five members at the current stage of development, to maintain focus and momentum, better achieved in a smaller group,” said Gary Chu of UBS, one of the participating banks.
 
“We’ll need to get other banks on board as we build out the technology. For now, the fact that we have Swiss, Spanish, German and US banks as members helps us take account of different legal and regulatory perspectives. We recognise that if we want to roll out USC industry-wide on a utility basis, it needs to be workable from the perspective of major financial markets globally.”
 
Read the full report:» Download the document now 2.2 mb (PDF File)

Comments: (4)

Ryan Barnes
Ryan Barnes - FundApps - London | 13 April, 2017, 13:32

What's the name of this report? I can't seem to find it.

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Matt White
Matt White - Finextra - Toronto | 13 April, 2017, 15:06

Link to the report now added.

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Ryan Barnes
Ryan Barnes - FundApps - London | 13 April, 2017, 15:08

Thanks Matt!

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Hugh Whitehill
Hugh Whitehill - Link. Client Onboarding KYC - Hong Kong | 25 May, 2017, 03:19

"...Hong Kong and Singapore (92%) expect to collaborate with fintech firms in the next 18 months". Interesting to see how that will actually play out. Seems it's now the norm for big banks to work 'with' Fintech companies and not fear them. Issue being, these banks work slow and there is a lot of moving parts(and people). If they could have been innovative themselves, they would have by now becuase they want the edge on their competitors. The technogloy is there, it's executing on it that's the challenge. 

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