FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY

HSBC, 11 other banks sharpen focus on fintech innovation

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 4:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 6:19am

Eight financial technology start-ups, including companies from Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Germany, are looking to introduce innovation that could help revitalise the Asia-Pacific banking market through a programme backed by a dozen major institutions.

A fraud prevention system using algorithms based on Chinese characters, a customer identity system based on the online ledger platform known as blockchain, a predictive investment solution, and electronic wallet are among technologies under review at this year’s staging of Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong.

In a statement to the South China Morning Post, HSBC Asia-Pacific chief operating officer Raymond Cheng Siu-hong said it was important that financial institutions in Hong Kong are taking the lead in sponsoring innovation.

“The lab created a platform for us to work with start-ups that have innovative technologies and people with great ideas,” Cheng said. “We have identified a number of opportunities and tested out some of these initiatives, with the aim to make banking simpler, better and faster for our customers.”

Launched in 2014, the lab is a fintech accelerator founded by global consulting firm Accenture. From Monday, Accenture and partner financial institutions will mentor start-ups over 12 weeks at Cyberport.

Partners include HSBC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, Generali, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Maybank, Morgan Stanley, Sun Life Financial and UBS.

The lab created a platform for us to work with start-ups that have innovative technologies and people with great ideas
Raymond Cheng Siu-hong, HSBC

They are joined by China Citic Bank International, China Construction Bank (Asia), Macquarie, Nomura, Standard Chartered, Siam Commercial Bank, Societe Generale and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

“Most financial institutions are grappling with how to become more efficient, cut costs, comply with regulators and simultaneously increase their interaction with customers,” said Jon Allaway, the senior managing director for financial services at global management consulting firm Accenture. “The start-ups in this year’s lab offer innovative answers to these problems.”

The start-ups selected this year include Lattice, Privé Managers and TNG Wallet from Hong Kong, US-based ChartIQ, HedgeSPA and KYC-Chain from Singapore, Japan-based Siork, and Seerene from Germany.

Alex Kong, the founder and chief executive at TNG Wallet, pointed out the “positive sign that so many banks are interested in working with fintech start-ups”.

Privé chief executive Charles Wong said “the sweet spot for start-ups is to offer solutions which can immediately improve service and generate more revenue for banks”.

Five Lab participants will be selected to pitch to potential investors at the end of the programme.

Accenture forecast Asia-Pacific fintech investments to grow twofold this year, from US$4.26 billion last year, due to massive deals in mainland China.

Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial Services had a record US$4.5 billion round of private equity funding in April. New York-listed Alibaba owns the Post.