The Digital Future in Finance: Battle of the Ecosystems



The Digital Future in Finance: Battle of the Ecosystems

The Digital Future in Finance: Battle of the Ecosystems

Key conclusions

The creation of digital ecosystems is essential to support competition for consumers in the financial sphere

“How did ecosystems emerge? People did not want to deal with financial matters. Yet, doing very different things in our life we keep running into finances. And an ecosystem is an attempt for the end user to provide a convenient, good, simple, and safe user experience.” – Ekaterina Petelina, General Director of Visa Payment System LLC.

“People are only interested in resolving their specific problems; everything else is absolutely irrelevant. What is an ecosystem? An ecosystem is something that gives the user more reliance in using some related services that they had not used before and simplifies the process of using them. It is companies that will resolve the problems of users, who will gain from this.” – Greg Abovsky, Chief Financial Officer at Yandex.

“To win in the future on the market, the most important thing is always how much you know about your consumer, what values you take to the consumer and what problems you can resolve for the consumer. This knowledge is the key to success.” – Li Wang, Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Ant Financial.

“We began as some sort of digital bank but we are expanding our sphere of service. We have already penetrated into other areas: travel, investment products and content creation (all kinds of lifestyle tips, assistance that improves the lives of our clients). Accordingly, these are financial services and other services, also bearing in mind mobile communication, which are all represented on one and the same interface, with compatible user experience in one place. This is what an ecosystem is all about. It is the only way to compete in the future with Big Tech.” – Oliver Hughes, Chairman of the Management Board at Tinkoff Bank.

The demand for financial services is growing with players from other industries

“There are many examples of non-financial companies venturing into payments. We can see mobile operators, and not just these. Airline operators, food retailers. Why? Because payments allow them to get to know their consumers very well indeed. <…> Today, many companies are switching to struggling for payments and transactions, as this allows them to gain information and provide that very relevance for consumers, that very user experience, offer here and now and exactly what the user needs.” – Ekaterina Petelina.

Russian financial market open to digital innovations

“In 2016, Visa also made a huge step forward to transform itself from a processing service into an ecosystem. We have created the Visa Developer Platform, we have developed a set of APIs that are being used extensively both in Russia and all over the world. In terms of these new services, Russia is No. 1 in the world today. We are a very advanced and innovative market and many of the opportunities opening up now in the world are being used very actively in Russia, on the whole. Russia and China are the two countries most sensitive to innovations.” – Ekaterina Petelina.

“In Russia, there are and have always been advantages, such as a very strong development platform, the world’s best IT specialists and analysts, a huge online population – indeed, the biggest in Europe, with almost 80 million people and 40 million smartphones.” – Oliver Hughes.

Problems


Banks find it hard competing with tech companies

“Consumers are not interested in technologies, they are interested in convenience, they are interested in solutions. Yet, for a bank, it is a disadvantage when it has to compete with players who create their own ecosystems, though this is not impossible. Banks do not invest in innovation as much as tech companies do. It is hard to compete with players who grew up thanks to artificial intelligence, thanks to big data analytics, and for large banks this is actually a big problem.” – Spiros Margaris, Venture Capitalist and Founder of Margaris Advisory.

Solutions


Cooperation among financial ecosystems

“Ecosystems are built from financial platforms. It is at the intersection of these two players that something interesting emerges. And here we will compete in the sphere of various services, including financial ones, but there will also be competition among us because, if you are a client, you participate in not just a single ecosystem but in many. Accordingly, this is an opportunity to cooperate and do services together. This is unfortunate for banks that failed to understand this two years ago and that also failed to use the advantages that Russia has today and has always had: you are already done with, you no longer exist.” – Oliver Hughes.

Improving services for private clients

“There is excellent work yet to be done. This concerns what we call the B2C market, or each of us taken separately. This is a huge opportunity to enhance the market for private clients, filling it with new services and new interfaces. The B2B sector is another type of market, it is not the same banking. Yet we are not particularly concerned about it now. We believe that this is in the future and somewhat beside the profile we are interested in now. But as regards the pocket money of each of us, this is where we hope to turn the world upside down.” – Vasyl Latsanych, Chief Executive Officer at PJSC VimpelCom.

For more details go to the Roscongress Foundation Information and Analytical System’s website.

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