Well as the year draws to a close it’s amazing to look back and see what we have achieved as a collective ecosystem.
The year that was – a good one
With a number of events across FinTechNZ, InsurTechNZ and WealthTechNZ we had nearly 1500 people attend and that’s not including the Regulation Roundtable (which will be back again in 2020) and the Ministerial lunch. We were also part of four delegations to the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore where over 100 companies represented New Zealand and continue to put New Zealand FinTech on the global stage.
I personally spoke, presented, facilitated or attended 23 events during Tech Week across four cities to help share the love across our FinTech ecosystem, we have already started discussing TechWeek 2020 and I would be keen to hear what you have planned and how we can support or collaborate on the project.
Membership continues to do well and the introduction of the “Multiple Membership” category has made it easier for companies to align against their own strategic objectives. I am keen to expand on this in 2020 and really would encourage anyone to get involved and find ways of connecting a varied and diverse ecosystem.
InsurTechNZ is our most well established working group and continues to engage with the community on a number of levels. This year InsurTechNZ has run eight events with approximately 600 registrations, produced a report on the InsurTech scene here in New Zealand and shows just how much the sector has grown, we also took a delegation to the ANZIIF conference which we will replicate in 2020, Jason Roberts the chair really is doing a wonderful job. We are also looking into hosting a CEO lunch for the InsurTech ecosystem to really understand the opportunities and the challenges the industry is facing after things like the conduct and culture review.
We launched WealthTechNZ in April this year which has enjoyed a strong representation from across the wealth and investment management industry. Led by Rachel Strevens the purpose: To promote innovation and support the digitalisation of the wealth and investment services industry for improved customer outcomes.
WealthTechNZ has held four connect events over the year, regularly attended by 50+ people at each event and key initiatives being worked on include: Digital Advice, online AML, Term Deposit Standards, and the Funding Gap, if you want to get involved then just reach out to me or Rachel.
It was also clear to me that working with our membership associations like the Financial Services Council prevented us from diluting the message to the sector and helped us connect different parts of the FinTech scene. This was a great success and something that I and the chairs of the working groups are looking to do more of in 2020.
We have made good progress this year engaging with the regulatory authorities and Government, FinTech is now a high priority within the Digital Pillar the government announced early this year. We hosted Minister Faafoi at a Roundtable Lunch and published a discussion paper as an output of this. We are working with our members and the regulators to find a pathway forward to increase regular engagement and we will host these events every quarter, at the request of the Minister. I presented to the National Party on all things FinTech and they, Jacqui Dean and colleagues asked some great questions. I also presented to the Select Committee and followed up with a number of 1-2-1 meetings with some of the Ministers. I was able to share the Green FinTech proposal which the UK Treasury launched with 5bn GDP, the first Green Bank of its kind, we are on the radar and a topic of conversation.
Heading into 2020
2020 will be an election year so we are considering putting a paper together to engage with both parties to further government support for the fastest-growing part of the Tech sector, yep you guessed it FinTech.
We will also continue to build on our relationships with the Department of International Trade UK, MFAT, NZTE, in Hong Kong and Singapore, FinTech Australia, UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore. We have also signed a number of MOU’s with Findexable, FinTech Galaxy and FinTech Tokyo.
Our strategic focus in 2020 is to build on 2019 and work with government and the regulators to ensure we are all aligned in driving economic growth through FinTech. We are also going to be focusing on supporting our start-up community with a number of workshops in Q1/Q2, as we have identified some key challenges which most new tech start-ups face.
Financially we remain in a strong position and with a strong pipeline I am comfortable we will be able to deliver on all our projects. We have also set up a separate finance committee to keep the financials on track and see what else we could achieve.
One thing I would like you to consider is how would the 4-day week work in your organization? Not only does working fewer hours promote health and wellbeing, it allows you to choose to do something for yourself, perhaps learn a new skill as we are all lifecycle learning, do something for you and your family or do something socially good. We work a five day week because that is what society has shaped for us, now the statistics show working less is good for everyone and the environment in which we live.
2019 Annual Meeting
Our Annual Meeting went well and I had a number of responses saying how surprised people were at how much has been achieved this year. We had a number of executive council seats up for election and its with great pleasure that I introduce our new council members Justine Burn from AA Insurance, Tina Groark from Middleware and Andrew Dentice from Hudson Gavin Martin. Anand Ranchord from Kiwibank was re-elected which is great news. A big shout out to Craig Kirk from Delta Insurance and Lewis Billinghurst from Westpac who are moving on to pastures new, for the effort and hard work they put into making FinTech NZ a success, gone but still active players for certain.
I would like to thank the board for their continued support for me and FinTechNZ, the wider NZTech team, Susan Tremain and Laura Chamberlain who make it happen behind the scenes. I look forward to building on our success here’s to even bigger and better things.
“Nollaig chridheil agus bliadhna mhath ur” and all the best for 2020 and beyond.
SAVE THE DATES FinTechNZ Connect February 26 (Auckland) and 27 (Wellington)
Add a date for the diary Business performance/ productivity from IoT 13 February, Auckland.
Attend Future Government 2020 Serving New Zealand through a digital public service, 25 March, Wellington.
Paris FinTech Forum takes place from 29 January – 1 February 2020, Paris.
Attend one of Asia’s largest Insurance events InsurTech Connect Asia, 2-4 June, Singapore.
News and Updates
New Zealand has been ranked one of Asia Pacific’s fastest emerging fintech hubs and one of the top 10 fintech destinations in the region.
The Council of Financial Regulators priorities for 2020, climate change, financial inclusion and consumer engagement, residential property insurance and conduct and governance.
AI is one of the most revolutionary forces for the insurance trade in New Zealand according to a major landmark national AI report.
ASEAN Financial Innovation Network and Ecosystm have signed an MOU bringing a cloud based global fintech marketplace to New Zealand.
Who were the Winners And Losers In Fintech In 2019 according to the Fintech Snark Tank.
The biggest Australian capital raises of 2019 were dominated by technology start ups.
2019 was A Big Year For Fintech, Real Estate, Insurance, And Automation.
Fintech at 50 ‘the evolution of financial technology has been perhaps the biggest theme in the capital markets business over the past half-century’.
New Zealand owned Fintech company Valocity wins the Global Fintech Start-up of the Year at the India Fintech Awards.