Fintech will change banking, experts warn.
LONDON: As UK is preparing to leave the EU, it is actively engaged in bi-lateral talks with the Indian Government to forge new partnerships, especially in technology sector, Fintech and funding innovation. To explore opportunities and discuss challenges, the Indian Professionals Forum, a UK-based non-profit think tank for diaspora related policy advocacy, brought together the most audacious innovators, entrepreneurs and implementers from India and UK to participate in Emerging UK-India Focused Funds – New Perspectives event at the Indian High Commission and discuss UK-India focused funds particularly in the area of Fintech and other areas of Technology.
The panelists included, Ambassador Mr. Dinesh K. Patnaik, Deputy High Commissioner, Gareth Bayley, Director, South Asia & Afghanistan, FCO, Suchit Punnose, CEO Red Ribbon Asset Management, Susanne Chishti, CEO Fintech Circle and Pilgrim Beart, CEO DevicePilot.
Opening the discussion and welcoming the guests, Dr Mohan Kaul, Chair, IPF, said, “IPF particularly focuses on the future of UK–India Partnership in the context of Brexit and accelerating pace of Technological innovations and Investment in both counties.
UK has particularly seen unprecedented growth in businesses in the areas of Fintech, Smart Cities and Emerging Technologies. India will be a key market in consuming these innovative technologies from the UK and providing quality and low-cost resource pool to set up operational capabilities. This will enable the scaling of the operations to capture global market into both developed and developing nations across the world. India is also recognised as a technology powerhouse and is now the fastest growing economy in the world. A number of funds are being developed to promote technology transfer between UK and India by leveraging the array of opportunities in bilateral trade between UK and India that will eventually surface in a post-Brexit scenario. ”
Indian Deputy High Commissioner Dinesh Patnaik, agreed that UK, particularly London will remain as the Global Financial Centre with particular reference to India. “A growing Indian economy requires access to foreign capital and London’s status as the financial capital of the world means the UK has a major role to play in providing this. Since the launch of the first ever rupee –denominated bond by an Indian company in August 2016, there are currently 25 masala bonds worth £5 Billion raised from this market”
He said, “We are offering an investment for technology companies to test products in India”. He added, India had a huge demand for fintech and urges British companies to be part of its future.
Suchit Punnose, CEO Red Ribbon Asset Management started on a positive note saying, “Blackstone finished two funds today, it is an auspicious day for us to meet.” Talking about where opportunities lie in doing business with India he said, “India has lots of institutional investors. But very few retail funds have penetrated India. Indian Mutual Fund market has great potential. Currently it is only a fraction of what it could be. The market is very much dominated by providing debt for liquidity and exit. “
Undoubtedly, there are challenges, he added, “Corruption remains an issue. Still I would say, there is never a better time than now. We see green and climate bonds do well. Overall as a fund manager, now is a time to enter. However, you need 5-10 year hold. “
Speaking about his success as an entrepreneur, Pilgrim Beart, CEO DevicePilot explained, “What makes me tick is innovation. What I am interested is in ideas that can change the world and how we can make it happen. Once you have an idea, following them, and persevering is what makes you a success. “
“The point of starting companies is making your ideas work. I believe the biggest challenge we will have is energy challenge. But I also believe that sustainable energy will become cheaper. I am used to learning curve. I have seen it work. When it comes to solar energy - that’s how it works. Just like Moore’s law works in computing.”
“The tipping point is when sustainable energy gets cheaper than using traditional energy.” He concluded
Susanne Chishti, CEO Fintech Circle believes, fintech is the future. “In 2014, I decided to leave banking to start fintech circle. What happened in Silicon Valley 20 years also was happening in London. Fintech works for everyone, for unbanked, not just the wealthy. By using technology at scale we can do that. We can provide micro loans for people without ID or bank accounts. And we can get more people into the middle class. We invest in fintech companies such as those offering regulatory technology, insurance technology and waste technology for portfolio managers. “
She added, “We have launched UK-India fintech tech funds where in we invest in smart tech both in India and U.K.”
Experts agreed that the funding scene has changed a lot in the recent years. Business have a plethora of ways to raise funds from government funding, angel funding, venture funding to crowd funding. They also stressed that Fintech will change banking.
Ambassador Patnaik concluded by saying, “This is the sixth meeting of IPF in 6 months. We discuss everything from business, innovation, technology, discuss challenges and solutions.” He also announced that Access India Program was launched by the Indian High Commission- to help SMES.
In her closing remarks, Aarti Sharma, Finance Director, ICICI Bank UK warned that “Banks in India need fintech. They are the dinosaurs today and could be wiped out “.