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CCAF annual conference

Since 2016, the CCAF has held an annual conference in Cambridge, UK. An international and invitation-only conference gathers together industry leaders, academics, policymakers and regulators from around the world.

Taking place over two days, the conference opens with an international academic boutique conference led by CCAF Co-founder and Director of Research, Professor Raghavendra Rau. On the second day, the conference is extended to industry global leaders in alternative finance, creating a hybrid programme designed to capitalises on industry and academic knowledge. Thus, providing a dynamic environment to present and to enable engaged interaction, learning, exchanges and networking to deepen the understanding of alternative finance.

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance’s fourth annual Conference Transforming Alternative Finance: Innovation, Trust and Impact, took place on 1 and 2 July 2019 at Cambridge Judge Business School.

Following the successes of our annual conferences in 2016, 2017, and 2018 – the 2019 conference theme reflected the Centre's global research activities in alternative finance/FinTech and the need to critically examine the evolution of this rapidly maturing industry.

The first part of our Annual Conference was a boutique academic conference that took place on 1 July at Cambridge Judge Business School. Following an open call for  submission, eight high-quality academic papers were selected for presentation, covering a wide range of research topics including crowdfunding, marketplace lending, cryotoassets, blockchain and social issues in alternative finance. On the 2 July, the CCAF Annual Conference brought together academics, industry practitioners, policymakers, regulators and business leaders to discuss global market trends, the latest technology-enabled business models, the application of financial innovation in developing and developed economies and the related regulatory challenges and opportunities. It provided the opportunity to share learning, transfer knowledge and leverage our collective network to tackle emerging challenges and find practical solutions.

Download the 2019 conference programme

This 2019 conference was structured around four keynote addresses and five panel discussion sessions. After the welcome introduction by Bryan Zhang, the Executive Director of CCAF, Robert Wardrop, the Director of the Centre will gave an opening address expanding on the themes of innovation, trust, and impact in alternative finance and the roles that they have played and will play in the continued development of the sector. The four keynote addresses explored the following themes:

FinTech and Financial Inclusion: Perspectives from the World Bank 

  • Alfonso Garcia Mora, Global Director, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice, the World Bank

View the keynote speech

Creating Value Through Collaboration: FIntech and Traditional Financial Services

  • Bob Wigley, Chair, UK Finance

View the keynote speech

Banking Regulation in Fostering Financial Inclusion: the Angolan Case

  • José de Lima Massano, Governor, Banco Nacional de Angola

View the keynote speech

Regulating Financial Innovation – Going Behind the Scenes

  • Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition, Financial Conduct Authority

View the keynote speech

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance’s third annual Conference Reimagining Alternative Finance: Global Perspectives and Local Insights, took place on 29 and 30 June 2018 at Cambridge Judge Business School.

It was attended by 150 speakers and delegates from the global alternative finance industry, academics, policymakers, regulators and corporate leaders.

Following the success of the Centre's previous conferences in 2016 and 2017 - the 2018 conference theme reflected the Centre's global research activities and the need to critically examine the state, purpose, framework and impact of a rapidly maturing and constantly evolving alternative finance industry. 

The conference programme consisted of four panel sessions and five keynote speeches exploring the four keys themes of 'Researching Alternative Finance: Global Perspectives and Local Insights', 'Inclusive Financial Innovation in Developing Countries & Emerging Markets', 'Financial Innovations and Regulatory Challenges: Frameworks, Tools and Data' and ''Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Finance: Progression or Disruption?'. Keynote speakers included: Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands (The UN Secretary General's Special Advocate in Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA)), Greg Medcraft (Director of OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs), Professor Njuguna Ndung'u (The immediate former Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya), Miriam Koreen (Deputy Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities OECD) and Ann Cairns, the Vice Chairman of Mastercard.

Download the 2018 conference programme


Download Greg Medcraft's keynote speech "The Global Forces Shaping Finance"

Download Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands's keynote speech "Seizing Fintech's Potential for Financial Inclusion"

Download Naoyuki Yoshino's panel presentation "Hometown Investment Trust Funds: Finance for Start-up Businesses"

Download Njuguna Ndung'u's keynote speech "Regulation and Innovation: The Experience of Regulating Kenya's M-Pesa"

Download Miriam Koreen's keynote speech "SME Financing: The Role of Alternative Instruments"

Download Ann Cairns's keynote speech "Financial Inclusion Making the Most of Public Private Partnerships"

2018 highlights

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.

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The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance second annual Conference Navigating the Contours of Alternative Finance, took place on 28 and 29 June 2017 at Cambridge Judge Business School.

It was attended by 150 speakers and delegates from the global alternative finance industry, academia, corporate sectors, multilateral institutions, national and supranational policymaking and regulating bodies. 

Following the success of the inaugural conference in September 2016, the 2017 conference focused on the continuously evolving global alternative finance landscape in the broader context of FinTech and highlighted the latest market trends, regulatory and policy developments and research advancements in this exciting space. 

The conference programme consisted of five peer-led panel sessions and three keynote speeches exploring the four keys themes of ‘Regulatory and Supervisory Issues Raised by Fintech,’ ‘Corporate Adaption of Alternative Finance,’ ‘Making Crowdfunding Work in the Interest of Consumers’ and ‘Opportunities and Challenges in Regulating Alternative Finance’. Notable keynote speakers included: Svein Andresen (Secretary General, Financial Stability Board), Sarah Rapson (Director of Authorisation, Financial Conduct Authority), and Mario Marcel (Governor, Central Bank of Chile).

Download the academic conference programme (28 June 2017)

Download the conference programme (29 June 2017)

Download Svein Andresen's Keynote Speech "Regulatory and Supervisory Issues Raised by Fintech"

2017 highlights

The conference provided a thermometer for FinTech industries, corporates, investors, policymakers and regulators on the current temperature of alternative finance, while elucidating new areas for study and refined methodologies. 

In the first keynote address, Svein Andresen highlighted the regulatory implications of new financial technology or ‘FinTech’ innovations—how it should be regulated and what societal implications of new technologies in the alternative finance space might exist? 

Mario Marcel, the Governor of the Central Bank of Chile, in his keynote noted that he does not see ‘FinTech’ to be in conflict with central banking, its regulatory architecture, or its current financial stability mandates. 

"Yet, the pace of 'FinTech' innovation has left many recent developments comparatively unregulated, such as initial coin offerings (ICOs). And with a lack of data, experience, and market penetration, assessing risks for regulatory purposes is particularly complicated as governing bodies seek to ensure fair-play without stifling innovation.  As a result, most regulatory efforts have focused on crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, as it is amongst the most visible application of technology for alternative capital funding. Even here, however, regulatory authorities have to cope with a fast-evolving set of industry players and investors."

Sarah Rapson, Director of Authorisation at the Financial Conduct Authority, noted that firms under regulation have increased and diversified their activities due to swelling consumer demand and continual financial innovation. This, coupled with the global nature of alternative finance, has brought a need to better understand the associated regulatory risks and challenges.

To help contextualize this new industry for regulators and industry players, Raghavendra Rau (CCAF), Stijn Claessens (Bank for International Settlements), and Luigi Zingales (University of Chicago) highlighted the current state of affairs globally in alternative finance, and shed light on the importance of trust in alternative finance markets. The largest markets can be found in the US, the UK and China. And while the success of China and the US can be explained by their relative size, that of the UK cannot be. 

The second panel discussion turned its attention towards the corporate perspective of alternative finance. Representatives from the CME Group, Microsoft, IBM, the World Economic Forum, and BBVA were on-hand to discuss various topics including blockchain’s effect on existing financial infrastructure, cryptocurrency, its implications for investment management,  and the continued development of online channels 

The global character of alternative finance was the theme of the third panel session on emerging markets and developing countries. Representatives from the World Bank, the Inter-American Development bank, FSD Africa, Lend Academy and YingCanGroup discussed how to leverage financial innovation to promote financial inclusion via online alternative finance channels, the eradication of chronic poverty through digital leapfrogging, and the empowerment of women entrepreneurs and investors.  

The last panel discussion on regulation was conducted under Chatham House Rules and chaired by a member of the Financial Stability Board’s Secretariat. Regulators from the SEC, the Abu Dhabi Financial Services Regulatory Authority, the Malaysian Securities Commission and the European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) discussed varied approaches in regulating alternative finance and how best to forge an evidence-based, appropriate and proportionate regulatory regime. 

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The Inaugural Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Conference: Mapping the Landscape of Alternative Finance Conference took place at Downing College, Cambridge on 29 September 2016. 

Download the conference programme