Connect with us

Interviews

COULD ARTIFICIAL FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE REVOLUTIONISE THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR?

An interview with Fahd Rachidy, Founder and CEO of ABAKA.

 

Engaging customers in financial planning for the future: what challenges does the sector face?

The UK population is ageing – by 2066, over 65s will make up over a quarter of the population. But many could be sleepwalking into retirement without the pension savings or financial plans in place to enjoy their later years. That’s why it’s more important than ever before for financial services providers to engage customers on planning for the future.

Financial services (FS) providers face various challenges when it comes to engaging customers on issues relating to their retirement. The constraints of legacy technologies and paper-based processes make it harder for the industry to get customers excited about planning for later life.

 

What fintech tools have emerged recently that can help the sector meet those challenges?

Artificial Financial Intelligence has the potential to have a transformative impact on the retirement market – particularly in the form of both conversational chatbots and intelligent nudges.

AI-powered conversational chatbots can help financial services companies to communicate with customers in more dynamic, self-service environments rather than sending customers 20-page statements that nobody reads. They enable financial organisations to offer hybrid advice solutions, where chatbots source preliminary information needed for validation and can categorise customers relative to their needs. In a world of hyper-personalisation, intelligent nudges are a powerful way to engage with customers when and if they need it.

All of this means that advisers can spend more time actually offering advice and building trust with their customers. Similarly, providers will be able to draw on more unstructured or behavioural data acquired by the bot, augmenting the interaction with a relevant pool of rich data and insight about the customer.

 

Fahd Rachidy

 

Can chatbots be truly ‘intelligent’?

Chatbots powered by natural language understanding – such as Abaka’s chatbot Ava – are adding real value to customers.  Alongside delivering human-like conversations and comprehensive product information, natural language processing allows chatbots to build an extensive range of appropriate, relevant responses. They can answer an expanding variety of questions in an engaging, genuinely conversational way. To add to this, interactions can be fully audited. This means that the solution can work in conjunction with third party services, further personalising and integrating the services being provided.  Used well, chatbots save time, money and improve the customer experience.

 

What immediate impacts could AI-powered conversational platforms have for FS organisations?

Providers have a responsibility and a commercial imperative to educate and guide our ageing population towards suitable retirement options. Intelligent chatbots can play their part by enabling providers to begin new conversations with a wider pool of customers.

Abaka has found that these services significantly improve customer engagement, opening up channels of communication and providing ease of access to information. Older customers are used to the technology – Facebook Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa, for example, are popular with older people.

Some older customers like being able to ask a machine questions without having to worry about whether they look silly or feel they should know the answer. Bots also empower customers to ask a question several times without fear of embarrassment.

Artificial Financial Intelligence is relatively simple to adopt, quick to scale and the ROI will be apparent in a reasonable timeframe. Chatbots and intelligent nudges are part of all of our retirement futures – we need to ensure that we use this technology in the best and most appropriate way to drive better outcomes for customers.

 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Interviews

HOW NEW TECH START-UP IS SHAKING UP THE IT CONTRACT MARKET

Neil How, CEO and Co-founder, ten80

 

1. What is ten80?

ten80 enables cost savings on SAP/software projects by an average of 43%. We do this by switching companies to an on-demand workforce – think Uber and how that has disrupted the taxi industry.

The ten80 marketplace connects companies with around 47,000 verified contractors, using algorithms to match companies with the very best experts that then deliver on projects remotely. This enables SAP customers to utilise a global workforce and break free from geographical borders, as well as take advantage of international market rates. In other words, it gives them the exact resources, when they want them, for however long they need them for and at a cost-effective price.

 

2. How did the idea of ten80 come about?

I’ve been lucky enough to work with SAP my entire career. My journey first started at the end-user side. I ran my first SAP implementation project in my early twenties and went on to form an SAP Centre of Excellence to allow for long term improvement.

Over the next six years, I ran three other major change programmes before joining the consulting world, and for the next 10 years I worked with various consultancies running numerous projects in a wide variety of sectors, including retail, utilities, banking public sector and government.

But having spent time working both end-user side and consulting side, it became clear that SAP clients were struggling to access the best in class consultants and contractors. Wanting to get this knowledge into the wider world, ten80 was formed to digitally link the global contracting workforce to a global customer base, while allowing clients to digitally access the ‘best in world’ not the ‘best in organisation’.

 

3. ten80 is solving business problems, but how is it helping contractors?

Consistency of regular work is becoming a challenge for many contractors, and the impact of ‘dead time’ becoming more severe and likely. This is made worse through an ever increasing pool of expert contractors.

In addition, selling time for money is not a sustainable model for financial freedom, and contractors are tired of being capped at an ever decreasing day rate. Contracting also puts a huge pressure on family life, especially if you have to be on-site away from home — missing out on time with family and loved ones is a huge drawback, and there is little work life balance.

With ten80, contractors can benefit from the following:

  • An ‘always on’ demand for work
  • The ability to sell their knowledge and capabilities rather than a day of their time
  • Being able to carry out their role wherever in the world at any time, with total bulletproof security

 

4. What are the main challenges for your business?

ten80 is operating in a completely new area — outcomes-based delivery, so not being able to be ‘put’ us in a specific vendor box type is a challenge. Often corporate organisation’s procurement processes want to categorise us as a systems integrator or recruiter, but we are neither.

Being the first to market is always hard. We are offering some really powerful benefits to businesses and contractors, but we have no one to follow and are learning at every step of the way. There is a great saying that I have always believed in – “Success leaves footprints.” The big difference with ten80 is that we are making them! We are running agile processes on each stage of our journey. Everything is tested, iterated, refined, repeated. It’s the curse of being the first, but actually embedding continual improvement into our business has been one of our rocks of success.

Another challenge has also been controlling deal size. Big corporates have latched onto the benefits of what we are offering and are immediately referring us globally. It’s great but can quickly escalate and then take longer to close.

 

5. What’s next for ten80?

Our focus/goal is to secure a major investment over the next six months. That’s the first ticket to the major league and will give us the potential to grow to 150 people and some pretty big numbers revenue wise. We are entertaining some pretty important investment houses and are looking forward to one of them closing.

Running alongside that we have some really amazing companies in our pipeline, and I am looking forward to welcoming them onto our platform.

 

Continue Reading

Interviews

GOING FOR INVESTMENT IN CENTRAL EUROPE: START-UP LIFE OUTSIDE A TRADITIONAL TECH HUB

A Q&A with Bence Jendruszak, Co-founder and COO at SEON

 

  1. At what stage did you realise you were going to need an investor onboard?

During the early stages of the development (when completing our minimum viable product), we managed secure a Central European payment gateway in order to start using our system (free of charge). From this point on our product development was user feedback driven. It was at this stage, that we realised that our product has gained enough proof of concept, that we were ready to pitch the idea to investors.

 

  1. How important was the investment to getting your business to the current point?

Our pre-seed investment (50k EUR in January of 2017) was the initial kick-start to arriving to the current point. That micro-investment allowed myself and Tamas (Co-founder and CEO or SEON) to start working on the project full time and also to scale up the development team (from freelancers to full time programmers).

 

  1. How did you start the process of looking for an investor? 

We started by setting up our very first pitch deck. Of course, a lot of market analysis and USP shaping went into this. Once we had our first deck, we started contacting investors and started pitching the project to them. That specific pitch deck was very different to what the current version looks like.

 

  1. Were you aware of the challenges you could potentially face as a tech start-up in CE?

We were very well aware of the challenges. The European investment mentality is different than that of the US investment mentality, for example. Investors tend to be more conservative in the EU. Now imagine what the investment mentality may be like in the CE region. Nevertheless, we were also aware of the advantages of setting up a tech start-up in the CE region. The talent pool of

engineers and the cost of labour is by far the best in our home-turf – so the challenge was worthwhile.

 

  1. What was your journey to finding an investor like? Challenges / milestones?

Initially, we were faced with multiple unacceptable deals. The terms and conditions weren’t right for us in the long term. We were always aware that in order to build an international start-up (that would later develop into a scale-up), we had to on-board investors that we were fully comfortable to cooperate with – and vice versa. We needed to be on the same page and have a shared vision for SEON’s future.

 

  1. How did you find your lead investor, Portfolion? What else do they offer in addition to financial investment? (international network etc.)

We met them by introduction from an acquaintance. Portfolion is a well renowned VC in the CE region. They seemed like a partner that we could on-board into our boat and we could steer the ship together with them. They are the subsidiary of OTP Bank, one of the largest banks in the CE region. A potential gateway to partnering with a major bank seemed like a mutually beneficial setup. Aside from receiving a financial investment from the fintech fund of Portfolion, we can happily say that we are providing our fraud prevention services to OTP Bank as of today.

 

  1. What have you learned about the investor landscape in CE?

We found out that European investors are even more sceptical when it comes to CEE countries. They tend to avoid start-ups that aren’t located in hubs like Berlin or London. For them, Hungary is still seen as a former Eastern bloc country playing catch up with the rest of Europe in terms of living standards and infrastructure.

That said, there are a lot of investors in the region, but you really have to focus on getting in touch with the right organization. Onboarding an investor is a long-term partnership, there has to be a fundamental alignment in terms of the vision and mission of the two teams. We believe that we’ve managed to partner with investors who share the same vision and mission as us (up to date).

 

  1. What role will investment play in the next growth stage of the SEON?

 The next growth stage is focused on international expansion. We will be seeking an investor that can provide not only funds, but also somebody that has a solid portfolio of fintech companies and a partner network of financial institutions.

 

  1. Do you have any advice for other businesses in your position that are looking for funding in the CE region?

Do not rush into any deal that is in front of you, time is on your side. If you are in an early stage, make sure to approach as many investors as possible, in order to be able benchmark each opportunity.

 

Continue Reading

Magazine

Partner Events

Trending

Banking1 day ago

MORE THAN REGULATION – HOW PSD2 WILL BE A KEY DRIVING FORCE FOR AN OPEN BANKING FUTURE

Ralf Ohlhausen, Executive Advisor, at PPRO   Whilst initially seen as simply a regulation exercise, the second Payment Service Directive,...

Top 101 day ago

TIME TO THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BLACK BOX

Mike Brockman, CEO, ThingCo   If you have the unbridled joy of parenting a teenager you’ll probably know what telematics...

Banking1 day ago

BANKING’S SECOND WAVE OF TRANSFORMATION: INTEGRATING THE CLOUD-ENABLED FUTURE BANK

Keith Pearson, Head of Financial Services EMEA, ServiceNow   The last six months have seen significant changes to the financial services landscape, with operational resilience, economic recovery, cost reduction and an...

News1 day ago

RISK AND INVESTMENT SPECIALIST, CARDANO, TAKES TO DOCUMENT AND EMAIL MANAGEMENT IN THE CLOUD WITH ASCERTUS AS IMPLEMENTATION PARTNER

Ascertus also providing document comparison tool, compareDocs    Cardano, a privately-owned, purpose-built risk and investment specialist, has chosen Ascertus Limited as its implementation...

Wealth Management4 days ago

HOW SALARY SLIPS HELP YOU UNDERSTAND TAX DEDUCTIONS ON YOUR SALARY

A salary slip is defined as a document that is provided by your employer which contains the breakdown of your...

Banking4 days ago

BRANCHES ARE THE HUMAN FACE OF YOUR BANK?

Sudeepto Mukherjee, Senior Vice President, Financial Services Lead EMEA & APAC Publicis Sapient   Branches have always played a pivotal...

News4 days ago

RISE IN E-COMMERCE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IS A BIGGER RISK THAN JUST STOCK CONTROL

With consumer confidence in the high street at an all-time low, many SME shops and businesses have moved to online...

Finance4 days ago

TIME TO FOCUS ON YOUR ‘WEALTHBEING’

Tony Mudd, Divisional Director, Development & Technical Consultancy. St James’s Place   FIVE WAYS TO SAFEGUARD YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE The...

COVID-19 COVID-19
Finance4 days ago

PAYROLL AGILITY IN THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – HOW FINANCE FIRMS CAN ACHIEVE IT

by Hannah Grimshaw, BPO Payroll Lead, Symatrix   The government has published guidance with regards to the next steps for...

Business4 days ago

WHY IT’S TIME TO ADAPT TO THE VIRTUAL WORLD: HOW TO MASTER ONLINE NEGOTIATIONS

By Tony Hughes, CEO at Huthwaite International, a leading global provider of sales, negotiation and communication skills development   Virtual...

News5 days ago

BNP PARIBAS PERSONAL FINANCE COLLABORATES WITH EXPERIAN AND ARYZA TO HELP CUSTOMERS THROUGH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The consumer finance specialist will be using the Open Banking tool to help customers create an affordable payment plan based...

News7 days ago

NUAPAY BRINGS OPEN BANKING TO 190M FRENCH ACCOUNTS

Nuapay brings Open Banking payments into Europe following its success in the UK Nuapay is connected with 55 banks, enabling...

Finance7 days ago

REDUCING AGENT CHURN IS CENTRAL TO IMPROVING THE CUSTOMER CARE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS

By Jonathan Mobbs, Head of Finance Vertical at Maintel   In recent months contact centres have been forced to turn...

News1 week ago

FOUR MEDIA EVENTS THAT ROCKED THE FINANCIAL MARKETS

The media has incredible influence over many facets of life and the financial markets are no exception. A famous study...

Wealth Management1 week ago

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BITCOIN AND LITEBITCOIN

When you get closer to the world of cryptocurrencies, it is not uncommon to confuse reference assets due to the...

Top 101 week ago

BITCOIN TRADING – DETERMINING THE TREND

The trend is your friend – this rule is fundamental in technical analysis. This is why, before you start trading...

Top 101 week ago

BITCOIN TRADING – LEVERAGE

In the case of cryptocurrencies, there is volatility. Even for some more conservative traders, this may be overkill. Therefore, before...

News1 week ago

TRADECORE LAUNCHES NEW PLATFORM IN THE UK TO HELP FINTECH START-UPS INNOVATE AND GET TO MARKET FASTER

The platform provides a one-stop shop for the technology and ecosystem needed to build and launch new fintech businesses, reducing...

SOFTWARE SOFTWARE
Banking1 week ago

STRANGE NEW WORLD: WHAT NEXT FOR BANKS?

Simon Wilson, Director, Payment Solutions, Icon Solutions   What’s next for banks in this strange new world we find ourselves...

News1 week ago

RESPONSIBLE AND HUMAN BUSINESS PRACTICES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER;

78% of directors believe customers are paying more attention to responsible business practices since pandemic   New research from Gobeyond Partners,...

Trending