Your weekly resource for noteworthy news, fascinating features, and fintech titbits that caught our eye. Whether you live by your Twitter lists, save your Google Alerts or simply scroll through LinkedIn for insights and commentary – there is a wealth of content that weaves a global story around fintech.
Our job at Fintech Talents is to work within that global story – finding the news items, conventional wisdoms and hard data that aids us in bringing the industry the best content, community and experiences in the business. This week’s FTT Bookmark of timely resources and real time conversations that are shaping fintech is brought to you by VC Innovations Director, Liz Lumley.
This week we offer successful Fintech founders, EU iban drama, banks leading the way for remote work and Goldman Sachs bearing gifts.
35-year-old PensionBee founder to make £135m windfall in float – Yahoo! Finance
The founder of fintech firm PensionBee is eyeing a windfall said to be in the region of £135m as the start-up confirms its intention to float.
Romi Savova’s start-up is hoping to raise at a valuation of at least £300m on the London Stock Market. She was previously featured in the Telegraph’s Tech Hot 100 rankings. According to PensionBee’s latest filings, she owns a 45pc stake.
PensionBee, which offers an online to manage multiple pensions, is planning to raise £55m.
Liz’s take: I am 100% in favour of Fintech founders like Romi who take risks, exude leadership and build such a strong Fintech brand for the UK.
EU Fintechs form iban enforcement coalition – Finextra
Wise, in tandem with Starling Bank and other leading Fintechs, have launched an initiative to tackle iban discrimination in Europe.
Iban discrimination occurs when a bank or company doesn’t accept a payment instruction because it’s not from the same country in which the bank or company is based.
A common problem across Europe for some time, the issue was brought to the fore by Starling Bank in February, when it reported that some companies across the EU are refusing to accept payments from UK euro account holders because the iban contains the country code ‘GB’.
Even though the UK is no longer part of the European Union (EU), it’s still part of the Single Euro Payments Area. Refusing to accept a payment from the iban code of a Sepa member is a violation of EU rules.
Liz’s take: Woe betide any Fintech company that ignores regulatory compliance, small rule changes and tiny pockets of data. It comes as no surprise to me, that Starling (a Fintech bank started by an experienced banker) was the firm to bring this issue to the forefront. Always check the data fields, codes and permissions. Sweat the little things, because in financial services it is always ‘the little things’.
Santander to close 111 UK branches and shake up office sites – The Guardian
Santander is to close 111 branches across the UK – a fifth of its network – which it says is in response to the shift to digital banking, accelerated by the pandemic.
The bank also announced a shake-up of its office sites that will lead to four locations being closed and its UK headquarters being moved from London to Milton Keynes. About 5,000 staff are affected by the offices announcement, and Santander said they would be offered new arrangements combining working from home with “access to local spaces designed to enable team collaboration”.
Liz’s take: No one truly believes that once this bastard COVID business is behind us that we all go back to a five day a week commute into major metropolitan areas. The world of work has changed forever. I would like to see more of these update focus on the positive. What changes will this make to our suburbs and rural areas? Will broadband poverty become less of an issue? Will work life balance become more…balanced?
Will a decent restaurant arrive within walking distance of my zone 6 London pad? These are real issues people!
HSBC launches digital business bank Kinetic – FStech
HSBC has launched Kinetic, a business banking app for SMEs.
The launch comes as leading Fintech challengers including Monzo, Starling and Revolut scale up their business account offerings as a route to profitability.
HSBC said Kinetic has been developed using insights from over 3,000 small business owners, with the app available for download on iOS and Android.
Business owners can apply for an account on the app with the process taking a minute, and once approved, customers can order a debit card and use the app to manage business payments such as Direct Debits, standing orders and future payments.
Liz’s take: One look at LinkedIn will alert you to several posts from former HSBC employees saying versions of the following: ‘Great experience building Kinetic at HSBC, now I am off to….’ A large bank launching a digital offering to meet the needs of the SME community is a no brainer. However, (admittedly, anecdotal evidence) of a leadership team exodus gives me pause. RBS/NatWest has recently said goodbye to Bo’ and Esme Loans. For me, my Fintech Spidey senses are buzzing. I am putting HSBC Kinetic on a ‘one to keep an eye on’.
Off the beaten Fintech Track post of the week:
Goldman snacks: bank sends hampers to staff amid ‘inhumane’ working hours – Yahoo! Finance
Bosses at Goldman Sachs have been sending sympathy snack boxes to overworked junior London bankers in response to complaints over “inhumane” 100-hour weeks that have affected their physical and mental health.
The one-off hampers, full of fruit and snacks, are understood to have been paid for by managing directors out of their own pockets, since Goldman has not offered any company-wide gifts or additional bonuses after a leaked report revealed concerns about poor working conditions earlier this month.
While some junior bankers said they appreciated the small gift, it pales in comparison with perks announced by rival lenders in the weeks following the Goldman leak.
Liz’s take: Ya’ll should know by now, two things catch my news hound eye – crypto and Goldman Sachs. (I shelved a crypto story this week in favour of Goldmans. As you know: Kill your darlings) Anyway, ages ago when God was a boy and I fitted into size eight jeans, I had a meeting at the New York headquarters of Bloomberg. We were greeted by a bright young man who directed us to the snack section. ‘Would you like a cookie? Grab yourself a Coke, it’s all complimentary’. I was charmed (it was the 90s).
Years later, sitting in a London pub with a friend, who worked as an account manager for Bloomberg, she said to me. ‘You know why the snacks are always there – it’s because you’re not supposed to leave. Every time we try and go outside for lunch; we get directed to the ‘free food’ on offer.’
Beware of large financial companies bearing gifts.
What I RT’d this week:
One of your best yet! (I would say, in reality, Post Trade Working Groups really only have a shovel. I sure they would love to have a motorised digger! 😉 ) https://t.co/CQF8Kvj8fr
— Liz Lumley (@LizLum) March 25, 2021
Stay tuned for next week when our VC Innovations news hounds takes the reins of the news cart and to fill the basket with insights, interviews and interesting stuff!