We caught up with Liesl Bebb-McKay, of the FOUNDeRY, RMB’s disruption & innovation unit about fintech developments happening across Africa and her views on a diverse workforce of the future
1. Can you tell us a bit about the FOUNDeRY and how it operates?
You can read all about the FOUNDeRY here https://www.foundery.co.za/. FOUNDeRY is an R&D team within a corporate and investment bank. Our mandate is to research and develop innovative tech experiments that could change the way wholesale banking works in the future with an obsessive focus on client needs and experience.
Our role is to identify present and anticipated gaps in what and/or how RMB delivers solutionist thinking, and to deliver innovative niche experiments to fill these gaps.
2. Do you think that experimentation and the failure that sometimes come with that, can work in a large financial institution?
It can work…but it’s certainly not easy. We all have a profit motive so there is big pressure for delivery – that is in complete contrast to research and experimentation!
3. There are a lot of exciting fintech developments happening across Africa. Can you give us some examples of some that have had a real impact on consumers or businesses across Sub Saharan Africa.
In the wholesale banking space its really difficult to find examples. There are multiple examples in the retail space, but for us, we see fintechs more as providing the enabling technologies that we can use to power our solutions. We in CIB look more at AI & blockchain & robotics than specific fintech solutions – this is a function of our ecosystem.
4. Do you have some thoughts as to how we can help ensure that tomorrow’s financial services is more inclusive and diverse – both in terms of institutions and the customers they serve?
Diversity is essential for innovation. Financial services is one of the world’s oldest industries and has been around this long because it has managed to remain innovative and quick to change. Much of what makes Financial institutions successful was built in a time when the workforce looked completely different. It will take those of us who are in organisations today that are different and diverse to change the way we work to ensure that inclusivity and diversity.
5. At FinTECHTalents, we very much view talent and innovation as moving in tandem. Do you think the economies within which RMB operates are adequately ensuring the future talent pipeline?
The future talent pipeline really scares me. Financial services has been portrayed negatively in the media over a long period of time and this has resulted in a perception, that is not always true. The result is that young people and women are less inclined to look to this industry for their future…that is a risk we face as an industry and one we are working to resolve.
6. And finally, do you prefer your fintech with music or craft beer? Grin – both!