Finovate Fall 2021 was back in person and better than ever. Over 1,100 fintech professionals and industry leaders joined the event in New York City for a three-day conference filled with innovative content and cutting-edge demos. With the pandemic still a primary concern among Americans, the conference required proof of vaccination in order to attend – a trend that is likely to continue for industry events in the future. WMA CEO, William Mills, was joined by senior vice president Heather Sugg at this year’s conference for what they described as “The happiest crowd in years.” Here are the key highlights and takeaways from this year’s conference.
Themes and Topics
Two major themes stood out this year. First, there was a significant focus on financial institutions cultivating better digital relationships with customers. We learned from COVID-19 that the digitalization of the industry was a necessity. And in true Finovate fashion, technology providers responded promptly with ideas to take digital banking relationships to the next level. The focus on a more customer-centric approach to digital will continue to grow as we refine personalization and service.
Another central theme that many keynote speakers concentrated on was supporting the platform economy. This goes beyond what has been established for gig workers; it’s an economy that has launched by harnessing the network effects of platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, Turo, or YouTube. The financial industry is exploring how to support these nontraditional and creative income structures.
Like always, Finovate Fall brought together some of the top minds in the fintech industry to discuss new trends and ideas. Some heavily discussed subjects were the rise of neobanks, readily available APIs, and the value of DE&I.
William had the privilege of interviewing experts from different sectors in fintech and gaining a diverse perspective on many topics, including the effects of COVID on the financial industry, creating a more inclusive economy, and effectively pitching investors. Fintech has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, but more focus was on women in fintech and their contributions to the industry. William was able to interview several of these leaders where they explained their journey to the top and gave advice for other female professionals looking to follow in their footsteps. Lastly, William moderated a panel titled: How to Capture the Strategic Advantage of Open Banking – What Are the Key Questions Around Cloud, Data, and APIs. He was joined by specialists to discuss the explosiveness of banking and making consumer access to their data scalable.
This year’s Finovate Fall definitely felt different from previous years. A feeling of hope and connectedness for those at the conference was undeniable. WMA left Finovate excited for the future of fintech and all the creativity materializing in the industry.