FinTech Leaders Drinks Reception and discussion, September 2020

On the evening of Thursday 3rd September, Spectrum, the technology executive search firm, co-hosted with Fox Williams, the City of London law firm, an online event for a small group of ten leaders of FinTech organisations.

Over a hamper of wine and salmon – sent in advance – we compared views on the current challenges and opportunities for FinTechs today.

We were delighted to listen to, and exchange views, with: Arif Babayev; Dale Murray CBE; Donald Gillies; Jean de Crane; Joanne Dewar; John Humpish; Mark Joseph; Mike Ellwood; Stuart Jeffrey and Stefano Vaccino.

The event was co-hosted by Daniel Osmer and Mike O’Dell of Spectrum, and Jonathan Segal and Andrew Woolf of Fox Williams.

The key themes which emerged from the broader guest discussion were:

B2B customer interaction during lockdown. In many cases there has been more interaction with customers due to the ease and convenience of using technologies such as Zoom, and there has been a focus on communicating with existing customers with whom a relationship is already in place. However, travel restrictions have made in-person business meetings impossible and engaging new prospects successfully – particularly for higher value or larger projects – is more difficult. Online meetings are therefore more transactional than face-to-face meetings, and physical meetings therefore cannot be totally replaced.

Internal business operations. Administrative functions have become very efficient as it is a business function largely unaffected by lockdown. There has been a realisation that some businesses were not as efficient and effective as they thought they were pre-lockdown, and this has been addressed. In many cases, team efficiency has improved. Digitisation has been faster, and there have been ‘no limits’ on business expectations in this regard.

Coming out of lockdown. Despite the widely accepted advantages of virtual working, WFH has its limits – particularly when onboarding new hires into a company and engaging new staff in the culture of the organisation. Whilst many staff appear happy working from home, experimentation has begun on how to bring people back to the office effectively – depending on the type of activity they perform.

Consumer behaviour. Changes to consumer behaviour in response to the pandemic are expected to be long term. Reluctance to use cash; the rise in eCommerce; the timing of daily peak demand; and the use of virtual payment terminals; near total lack of tourism; and the impact on the ‘high street’ were cited examples of such modifications in mass consumer behaviour internationally.

Fundraising. Debt raising was seen to be very challenging, whilst equity finance was considered to be achievable for businesses with a track record of performance.

The post lockdown winners are expected to be the organisations with the best customer propositions and the greatest sustainability.

Managing Partners

To further discuss these findings, to join future FinTech leadership events, or to discuss legal and regulatory FinTech issues (Fox Williams) and technology sector board, executive and interim search (Spectrum), please contact:

Daniel Osmer                     Spectrum                  

Jonathan Segal                  Fox Williams