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Open Finance – is this the real life or is this just fantasy?

Welcome back to 2022! I am sure it is going to be another big year for all of us – and probably just as predictably, unpredictable as the last two years! However, there is one thing that is predictable and that is that FinTech is accelerating all around the world – and especially so here in Aotearoa New Zealand. This acceleration is in part driven by the convergence of digital technology, just as much, if not more so by customers’ expectations further amplified by CV-19. More on this shortly. Please, let me digress for a moment.

Open Finance – Real Life or Fantasy? 
Listening recently to Queen’s landmark song Bohemian Rhapsody (itself radical in its day and initially rejected by the music labels and radio stations for not adhering to the 3-minute radio play formula), the first two lines seemed to really resonate with our state of Open Finance in NZ. “Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy”? Well from my point of view, (and certainly reflecting our member interest in Open Finance) there is an urgency, an interest, and need for Open Finance to move quickly from being a fantasy to becoming a part of ‘real-life’.

While there are certainly some shifts, IMO this is slow, poorly articulated and the stars are not especially well-aligned. Fundamentally some of the preconditions to success include Technological alignment (e.g. Open API standards and Interoperability), the better enablement of Digital Identity, addressing Customer Data Right, Privacy and customer control, the critical role of our government regulators and finally the essential partnering required across the sector. These are not small issues and at the moment we are seeing lots of examples and endeavours across the sector. We want to accelerate this, for the betterment of our society.

So, what is FinTechNZ’s role here? What are we doing?
FinTechNZ, alongside some fantastic partners,  is working really hard at the moment to articulate the needs for our country, consumers, business community, social communities and government leaders to help align the stars by sharing our members’ collective insight. To this FinTechNZ is investing heavily in supporting three significant reports that will do a sound job of articulating where we need to focus on Open Finance, the state of the sector as a whole and specific target points of impact, for example Open Banking.

These three projects include the following and will all be available soon:

The Open Finance Project of Aotearoa
“Open Finance and Digital Equity, a path to fair finance and a more inclusive New Zealand” is an analysis of the potential for Open Finance in NZ and its role in enduring digital equity. This very significant report is in the final stages of completion and has just been shared with a very active stakeholder group of 30+ people sharing insights and suggestions. The report will be released at Parliament /online on March 30th. We have had very significant support and leadership from Denton Kensington Swan, the Digital Council of Aotearoa, IDC, PaymentsNZ, and an able FinTechNZ leadership team in particular Jannat Maqbool, Anand Ranchord and Laura Chamberlain. As an ongoing project with a larger focus of enabling Open Finance for Aotearoa, there is a new opportunity for new partners and sponsors for Phase 2. .

The TIN200 FinTech report
I am sure many are familiar with the TIN reports who have for some years now done a fabulous job of articulating the state of play of many sectors – and the impact on the world for New Zealand. For the first time, TIN200 with some of our lead FinTechNZ companies, Hudson Gavin Martin and Xero are delivering an impact report on just the FinTech Sector.

Spoiler alert!! FinTech is a shining star and is one of the most progressive, fastest-growing sectors with FinTech certainly delivering stunning returns. This report is due to be published in early April. Watch this one!

Deloitte and FinTechNZ
“NZ Fintech Pulsecheck – Open Banking and Beyond”. Shortly you will be invited to participate in a survey on the state of Open Banking and the wider related ecosystem in New Zealand. The New Zealand Fintech Pulsecheck will be a targeted snapshot of how New Zealand FinTechs are working – and would like to work – with financial services providers such as – but not restricted to – banks, and the broader ecosystem. Focusing on those FinTech’s who exchange data with Financial Services organisations via API or similar methods, the survey will provide an anonymised channel for FinTechs to have their voices heard, and for Financial Services organisations, regulators and industry groups to gain insight on how they can best support the ecosystem towards mutual success. The snapshot and resulting report will be repeated annually, allowing us to build a longitudinal picture of New Zealand’s evolution in this space. The survey will run across the month of March, with the report launched at an online event in early May.   So, maybe Open Finance is not fantasy but is in fact real life. Let’s see!

FinTechNZ Board updates 
After five years Michell Pham is stepping aside as the Co-Founder and  Chair of FinTechNZ and will  focus on the Sustainability Working Group (not to mention many other interests across the NZ Tech community). He has done a sterling job on so many fronts and we have really appreciated his drive, passion, and leadership. Keep an eye out for Mitchell’s 5-year reflection of the FinTechNZ journey next month. Thank you Mitchell. 
Looking forward, we have recently welcomed Carmen Vicelich and Andrew Dentice as Co-Chairs, with Chris Barton as our new Deputy Chair. We have some of the best people around helping us lead the FinTechNZ Mahi going forward! We also welcome Robbie Taylor – from RBNZ representing the Government seat which had been earlier held by the FMA. Robbie has mentioned the priority of this role to help engage with the community. 

Expanding international trade to UK and Dubai
If you or any colleagues are interested in joining delegations to UK and Dubai events please see the information below and get in touch.

Nga Mihi

Jason Roberts
Executive Director

FinTechNZ Disruptive technologies are revolutionising traditional financial services, creating opportunities for start up entrepreneurs and corporate innovators. FinTechNZ helps connect, promote and advance the trends shaping the FinTech ecosystem.