Lima Fintech Forum 2019

It was great to be able to attend the Lima Fintech Forum 2019 on the 8th and 9th of May, which has been organised by the Start-up Centre of Universidad del Pacifico, EmprendeUp, since 2017. 
The event brings together representatives from fintech, banking, insurance, compliance, cybersecurity and digital transformation and innovation from all over the world but especially from Latam. 

The topics discussed included: Financial system regulation for fintechs and comparisons between different countries; presentations by Latam fintech associations; blockchain and digital transformation; microfinance; crowdfunding; the drive towards cashless societies; and relationships between incumbent banks and fintechs.

This year there was quite a representation from the UK, with presentations by:
  • Rory O'Kane, Fintech Trade and Investment Associate, UK Department for International Trade.
  • Anna Cave-Bigley, Investment Manager for North LatAm (Colombia, Peru & Ecuador), Department for International Trade (DIT)
  • Carlos Figueredo, CEO, Open Vector
  • Nadia Costanzo, Banking Lead Latam, TransferWise
  • In addition, Francine Torbett, Director of Trade and Investment - British Embassy, Lima, closed the first day of the event and also presented the UK Fintech State of the Nation Report, together with Rory O'Kane and Anna Cave-Bigley, during a side event.
Judging from the presentations, Latam is a market in development where there are good opportunities for fintechs. A recent report by the IDB and Finnovista, Fintech Latin America 2018, identified 1,166 Fintech start-ups in Latam at the end of 2018, up from 703 at the end of 2017. These companies span 11 business segments with the most representative being: payments and remittances (24%); accounting (18%); and enterprise financial management (15%).

The ubiquitousness of mobile phones, together with financial exclusion, provide opportunities for Fintechs in Latam. Add to this, the high cost of credit, if it is available, to both consumers and SMEs, and one can see a bright future for those Fintechs that can design and offer the right product. Fintechs involved in personal financial management should also get a fillip from the introduction of Open Banking in the region.

And talking about banking, or rather incumbent banks, and their relationship with fintechs, looks like a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them…or buy them” or as Rick said to Captain Renault in Casablanca:

"... I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

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