Sibos 2017: How to profit from the data goldrush

Sibos 2017: How to profit from the data goldrush

The billion dollar question at today's Sibos Future of Money session: Who is going to be able to successfully extract the gold from the data mine and become the Amazon of the financial services world?

Starling Bank's Megan Caywood claims that her firm is perfectly placed to take advantage of the incoming Open Banking and PSD2 regulations. As a startup, Starling will focus on its core offering, around its current account, and use its marketplace model to partner providers of different services while remaining at the centre of their customers' financial lives.

Meanwhile, the old battle over branches resurfaced, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Ather Williams firmly rejecting Caywood’s claims that everything can now be done through a phone. Even Amazon, born on the web 20 years ago is moving into the physical world, most notably through its recent acquisition of Whole Foods.

Unsurprisingly, Williams was the most conservative panel member. Asked about cheques, he quipped that the "people who write cheques are going to die off before cheques do" before later making the more serious point that cheque imaging means that the instrument is no longer expensive enough to warrant killing off.

Looking at who is best placed to exploit the data, Richard Koh from M-DAQ Group reached back to the gold rush. Who, he asked, got rich from the migration west? The equipment makers? The miners? No, the jean makers, Levis.

Sometimes the success comes in from a tangent. That is what happened in China. Jack Ma was not looking to financial services when building Alibaba but he found that the firm’s data, technology and customer base enabled the move. Now FS is the jewel in Alibaba’s crown.

He thinks that Silicon Valley giants could follow suite, with Google, Facebook or Amazon becoming the Amazon of financial services, despite the fact that these firms have so far shown little interest in making the move.

Ultimately, Williams backed the collaborative approach, arguing that we are seeing a trend away from competition and towards collaboration in a bid to "grow the pie" through a host of new data-led services and products.

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