FinovateFall 2021 wrapped up last week and we’re still talking about it!
From the start of day 1, there was so much excitement in the air with all the attendees meeting and greeting and reuniting. This was one of the first industry tradeshows to return in-person, and all were happy to be back with colleagues at this event that was completely virtual last year.
Finovate took great measures to keep everyone safe and New York City’s vaccine requirements mandated that all attendees be vaccinated so the event had a familiar sense of normalcy that we’ve all been waiting for. Also, having everyone back in New York, the financial capital of the world, just felt right!
Aside from a booth at the exhibitor hall, Ninth Wave hosted a lunch for invited guests to discuss The Road to Open Finance – Digital Transformation in a Financial Institution. Nathaniel Laroche, VP Banking Services at Stifel Financial Corp, joined Ninth Wave’s Head of Sales John Vander Vennet for a Q&A conversation, discussing Stifel’s digital transformation evolution, best practices in open finance, and how scalable data connectivity can enhance the customer experience for business, consumer, and wealth management clients.
For those not familiar, Stifel is a 130+ year old corporation based out of St. Louis, MO that has undertaken a renaissance evolution into digital transformation in the last few years. While acknowledging having been later to the game digitally, the ability to adopt and adapt the latest and greatest technologies rather than rebuilding interfaces that already meet users’ needs, could actually be considered an asset for Stifel’s position. If hundreds of other banks already have the same platform in place, there is no need to be just another out-of-the-box solution. Open finance connectivity enables financial institutions to partner with great fintechs, integrate the best components of existing solutions, and meet clients where they want to be, delivering to market what the marketplace wants and needs.
That is not to say that everything of value is already out there. In speaking about how Stifel launched their own app called Wealth Tracker and the evaluation of whether to buy or build this functionality, the focus became how to differentiate in the marketplace, align with members’ interests, and deepen client relationships.
Building or integrating any functionality is only as useful as it is connected. In speaking about open finance and data sharing, Nathaniel very eloquently shared his perspective that “It’s not our data, it’s your data. We’re just safekeeping it. We want you to have it, we think we’ll do such a great job that you won’t want to go anywhere else but we recognize we won’t be all things to all people. Open finance powers those other things with secure access to your data.”
That take resonated with the room not just professionally, but personally, when an anecdote was shared about literally moving money to institutions where more data was accessible. Getting consumers to their data in the most efficient way possible, securely, with permission to where and when they want and need it was the consensus of the potential and value for open finance.
On day 2, Ninth Wave CEO George Anderson joined a panel “How to Capture the Strategic Advantage of Open Banking” with Don Cardinal, Managing Director, Financial Data Exchange, Eileen M. Holcomb, Head of Strategy & Transformation for Digital Channels, JPMorgan Chase, and Andrew Steele, Investor, Activant Capital, moderated by William Mills, CEO, William Mills Agency. The popular session was full and even had overflow in the halls and a highly interactive panel.
Common themes centered around data ownership, whether the account data belongs to the financial institution or to the account holder, and who is responsible for protecting it in the cloud; the difference between open finance vs. open banking; where should a financial institution partner vs. build on their own when it comes to cloud and APIs; and what does the next generation of open banking look like?
Chatham House Rules state that anyone who comes to a meeting is free to use information from the discussion, but is not allowed to reveal who made any comment, essentially what happens at Finovate, stays at Finovate. That being said, the highlights of the conversation included some of the following points:
- Tremendous business advantage to financial institutions leveraging the cloud and APIs in the context of data sharing; the question isn’t whether to be part of the open finance eco-system, but how to best deliver open banking services to the customers.
- Users need banking services, banks connect to apps and share the users’ data, but where/when/how that data is used is the question that everyone should be asking in open banking initiatives.
- Security, speed, and seamless connectivity are key factors for any cloud/data/API project, and consumers are becoming more aware of how and where their data is being used.
- Financial Institutions need to evaluate whether they want to build their own connections from scratch, or partner to see ROI faster, while they can focus on their other projects.
- When financial institutions meet the customers’ needs by providing data where and when the customer permissions it, it adds value to everyone in the open banking ecosystem.
All in all, it was an invigorating week, being back with our industry peers, sharing and learning and creating together.
Thank you to everyone who joined us at the events, stopped by the booth, chatted in between sessions, and thanks to Finovate for putting together another impressive conference and bringing the financial industry back together. After three days of conversations, speaker sessions, demos, and endless coffee and snacks, our team came away with new insights and reinforced alignment around the future of open finance and our role within the ecosystem, empowering open finance at scale. No one knows what the future holds, but it was widely agreed that it’s definitely data.
If you weren’t able to attend Finovate or didn’t have a chance to talk to our team at the conference, please contact us through our online form and we’ll be happy to connect.
About Ninth Wave
Ninth Wave delivers secure, seamless, and standardized data connectivity to fintechs and financial institutions of all sizes, through a single point of direct integration to a universal suite of open finance APIs. With configurable controls, visibility, and insights into all data sharing and data acquisition connections between aggregators, third-party apps, and internal applications, Ninth Wave empowers financial institutions and their customers with access and oversight to their connected apps, enabling secure data exchange in a holistic and scalable open finance ecosystem. Offering solutions for retail and commercial banks, wealth managers, credit card issuers, tax providers, and more, Ninth Wave provides unparalleled connectivity and universal compatibility to complex information systems, unlocking innovation, potential, and performance for your data. Contact us to earn more about Ninth Wave’s secure data connectivity features. Empowering open finance. At scale, at last.