Fin & Tech Talk with Netherlands, Germany, and Japan Demonstrates Evolutionary and Revolutionary DisruptionJune 21, 2021
Fin & Tech Talk with Netherlands, Germany, and Japan Demonstrates Evolutionary and Revolutionary Disruption
The Taiwan Academy of Banking and Finance (TABF) held the latest in a series of Fin & Tech Talks introducing innovative and up-and-coming fintechs on June 17 in online format. TABF organized this talk to support the efforts of local bankers to understand the full range of possibilities for digital banking. The virtual event featured fintech startups from the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan. Diplomats from the Netherlands and Germany also participated in the event and gave some opening background information on their respective countries.
The firms’ business models featured data-driven incremental improvement to traditional banking models. Dr. Edith Su, Professor at the College of Law and Politics at National Chung Hsing University, an expert in corporate law, moderated the virtual event.
The first company presentation was Optiopay, a German platform allowing banks, customers, and advertisers to unlock new value through data. With this information, a customer can get cash-back from their shopping, which can be invested automatically in an ETF or pension funds, which helps banks improve their branding. "The bank data tells everything about the customer," said Oliver Oster, COO of Optiopay.
Next, Matthew Hodgson, Founder & CEO of Mosaic Smart Data (Germany), introduced his software, which allows data from throughout the bank to be collected in one place for real-time analysis. This application helps a bank to anticipate when a customer is likely to make a trade, and how likely it is to be successful. User friendliness is just as important for enterprise software as consumer software, Hodgson said.
From the Netherlands, Fyndoo is a third-party lending platform used by ING Bank in Taiwan for its corporate clients, among many other global customers. Jamie Burink, Head of Business Lending, and Dimitry Oosthoek, Head of Global Clients, both at Topicus Finance, introduced the company. Topicus is a software company that eventually branched off into finance.
Importance of human resources and innovation ecosystems
In contrast to the more incremental models in Europe, largely made possible by the open banking required under the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), the Japanese companies participating in the seminar promoted more exotic innovations. For instance, justInCase is an insurtech startup with a strong human resource focus on engineering, rather than sales, like traditional insurers. Its P2P insurance product, in which pools of participants are mutually responsible for one another, is particularly unique and required special regulatory arrangements, according to its CEO and co-founder Kazy Hata.
Finally, Ken Masuda, Chief Marketing Officer of BlockchainHub Inc., introduced his work to promote blockchain adaption in Japan, particularly security tokens, which he calls “the next killer app in the field.” He explained how the broader ecosystem can help accelerate innovation – for instance, a secondary market in security tokens can allow the primary providers to exit the market at any time. Security tokens are an intermediate model between an IPO and the ICOs which many countries have frowned upon.
Rene Beerepoot, Head of Economic Development Netherlands Office Taipei, placed fintech development in the context of the centuries-long history of the Netherlands in finance. Meanwhile, Axel Limberg, Chief Representative of the German Trade Office Taipei, meanwhile, looked ahead to further growth in payments and embedded finance in 2021, with new IPOs and M&A activity on the horizon. The trade representatives of all three countries also helped invite the participating companies.
The talk ended with an analysis by Cheng-Yun Tsang, Professor of Law at National Chengchi University. He noted that Japanese regulators are more “avant-garde” than Taiwanese ones, and more willing to accept innovations like P2P insurance and STOs. Some of the innovations discussed during the talk would require greater regulatory openness to work in Taiwan.
It is important that Taiwan stay abreast of global developments in this space. Some of the participants also operate in Taiwan, so this talk allowed them to forge broader connections. The next Fin & Tech event will take place on July 15, featuring fintechs from the United States. It will provide an opportunity to compare and contrast experiences from around the globe.