The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance third annual conference, Reimagining Alternative Finance: Global Perspectives and Local Insights, was opened by Bryan Zhang, Executive Director and Co-founder, CCAF, who emphasized the needs to reflect and reimagine financial innovation and regulatory innovation.
The opening address “Operationalising Financial Innovation” was given by Robert Wardrop, Director and Co-Founder, CCAF, who discussed the role of regulation in financial innovation and diverse regional patterns of innovation, and asked, “does the system kill innovation, or does it change following such innovation?”
Greg Medcraft, Director of OECD for Financial and Enterprise Affairs delivered the first keynote address, highlighting the global forces shaping finance with an emphasis on the OECD and the Development of Blockchain.
The first-panel discussion “Researching Alternative Finance: Global Perspectives and Local Insights”, led by Raghavendra Rau, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Professor of Finance & Director of Research, CCAF, analysed the new forms of innovation – whether they pose a threat to existing institutions, and whether regulators should worry about financial innovation. Ross Levine, Willis H. Booth Chair in Banking and Finance, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley; Naoyuki Yoshino, Dean of the Asia Development Bank Institute and Rotem Shneor, Professor of Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Agder joined the panel.
Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate in Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), addressed the conference via a live video link. She discussed the importance of financial inclusion and how we should seize FinTech’s potential to provide vital access to finance for millions of unbanked and underbanked populations.
The second-panel discussion focused on “Inclusive Financial Innovation in Developing Countries & Emerging Markets”. Chaired by by Robert Wardrop, panelists included Juan Ketterer, Director, Connectivity Markets and Finance, the Inter-American Development Bank; Matthew Saal, Head of Digital Finance, International Finance Corporation (IFC); Lotte Schou-Zibell, Financial Sector Group, Asian Development Bank; Kabir Kumar, Director of Policy and Ecosystem Building, Omidyar Network and Paul Musoke, Director for Competitive Strategies, FSD Africa.
The third, and penultimate panel session “Financial Innovations and Regulatory Challenges: Frameworks, Tools and Data”, was moderated by Jon Frost, FinTech Lead, Financial Stability Board, saw the panellists discuss both FinTech regulations and regulatory innovation in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Europe. Panelists include Nick Cook, Head of RegTech and Advanced Analytics, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Dirk Schrade, Deputy Head of the Payments and Settlement Systems, Deutsche Bundesbank; Patrick Armstrong, Senior Advisor, the European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) and Mirtel ter Braak, Senior Policy Advisor, Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM).
Mark Napier, Director, FSD Africa, introduced third keynote Professor Ndung’u, the immediate former Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, who explored how Kenya regulated M-Pesa, the mobile phone accessible bank with “Regulation and Innovation: The Experience of Regulating Kenya’s M-Pesa”. The fourth keynote speaker, Miriam Koreen, Deputy Director and Head of SME & Entrepreneurship Division, OECD discussed the role of alternative instruments for the financing of SME with a presentation entitled “SME Financing, Entrepreneurship and Alternative Finance”.
The final panel, chaired by Jesse McWaters, Financial Innovation Lead, the World Economic Forum, discussed the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in Finance. Panelists included Michael Janiszewski, Managing Director, Global Head of Investment Services, Invesco; Lesly Goh, Chief Technology Officer and Director, Enterprise Architecture & Technology, the World Bank; Keith Bear, Global Leader for Financial Markets, IBM; Claire Calmejane, Transformation Director, Lloyds Banking Group and Robert Reoch, Global Head of Digital Lending Innovation at HSBC.
The closing keynote was delivered by Ann Cairns, Vice Chairman, Mastercard. She discussed the importance of making the most of public and private partnerships to further the cause of financial inclusion globally.