Chris Skinner on FinTech, cryptocurrency and corporate change – MAF155

On the show this week, I talk to leading commentator and strategist on financial markets, Chris Skinner.

We chat about FinTech, blockchain, cryptocurrency and why corporate change is difficult in established financial businesses.

Welcome to episode 155 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Chris Skinner on FinTech, cryptocurrency and corporate change - MAF155

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • What Chris believes is holding financial organisations back
  • How some companies are embracing change
  • Why financial services companies need a technologist on the leadership team
  • How consumers respond to new technologies
  • How small businesses can apply new technologies
  • What blockchain and cryptocurrencies mean for the future

Who is Chris Skinner?

A worldwide, leading commentator and strategist on financial markets, Chris is the Chief Executive of “The Finanser” and the Chairman of The Financial Services Club, with a focus on commentating on FinTech.

He has a background in insurance and a career working with technology companies, starting out selling office automation systems to insurance companies.

Made redundant in 2002 after running strategy for big organisations, Chris went searching for a job. He socialised with loads people in financial services and wrote articles about his conversations. This led him to where he is today. Attending international conferences and producing a daily blog about FinTech.

Summary of our chat

We see issues in leadership in financial services because the leaders are swamped with regulation compliance and risk. They resist change. Digital technology is transforming every aspect of insurance and banking. But boardrooms are full of similar people. There’s not enough diversity and this hinders change.

AXA Insurance has partnered with a start-up called Trov in the “InsureTech” space. You can insure items for a few hours when you take them out of the house. You don’t need an annual insurance policy anymore. Just take it when you need cover.

With a focus on digital banking,  digital insurance and FinTech,  if financial services companies don’t have a technologist on the leadership team, they’ll find change difficult. But the real issue is about culture, which can also change. The leadership needs to embrace change and allow the culture to adapt accordingly.

Most consumers don’t know what the possibilities of these new technologies are. But they quickly embrace things that they recognise can improve their lives. For example, the iPhone is only 10 years old, yet smartphones are pervasive. Consumers will adopt anything they can use simply to make life easier.

For small businesses to adopt new technologies, they need to imagine they’re starting up today.  Focus on how customers do things, and how to help them live better through technology. They need to compare the current company with an idea of the future of the business and work towards that.

Blockchain technology is transformational and will change the way we look at business and finance. Look at Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, which the financial firms are investing in,  or Hyperledger, the technology IBM is embracing. Don’t put money you can’t afford to lose into cryptocurrencies.


Campaign or product

The iPhone X is something everyone is looking at with interest, because of the facial recognition aspect. Any new product that can change authentication or make it easier for people to come onboard is something Chris is automatically excited about.

Recommended Books

Chris’s next book, out in March, is The Digital Human and looks at the fourth revolution in humanity. The first revolution was becoming human, or homo sapiens.

Chris says his favourite book is Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, which is the history of humanity and how we got to where we are today. There were six other forms of humans on earth and we’re the only ones to survive, and the book explains how this happened.

His other favourite book is Trekonomics by Manu Saadia, about the economics of Star Trek. He says, “I’m looking forward to the future and the potential for space travel, and Star Trek is about optimism and a utopian vision for our future”.

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