What To Look For At Finovate Fall 2013

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The title of this should really be “what I’ll be looking for” at Finovate, but I hate putting “I” in blog post titles.

Finovate — or what @leimer calls the “Disneyland of FinTech” — is coming to New York this week. With (no) apologies to all the other conferences out there, Finovate has really developed into the premier conference for innovation in financial technology.

I’ve been critical in the past about what my fellow attendees consider to be best-in-show (see the Snarketing 2.0 post titled SedUIced). But to each his/her own. Here’s what I’ll be looking for from presenters this week:

1) Who can help FIs generate new sources of revenue? Extracting a little more effectiveness out of checking account or mortgage lending is important, of course. But the banking industry needs new sources of revenue. Any presenter that brings some good ideas to the table has a good chance of getting my vote.

2) Who can help FIs significantly cut costs? FinTech geeks don’t get real excited about technologies that deliver productivity improvement. And I generally don’t buy into the productivity and savings claims of many vendors. But the reality of the current financial services industry is this: cost reduction is a top priority among FIs, and any new technology that can really help take out a big chunk of expenses is going to get management’s attention.

3) Who can help FIs create new moments of marketing opportunity? I’m a big (maybe one of the few remaining) fan of merchant-funded incentives and bank-offered daily deals. But the real key in marketing innovation for banks is to create new “moments” of marketing opportunity by changing the way consumers shop for everything from everyday purchases to financial service-related products and services.

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I’m sure that some attendees will be enamored by any so-called “disruptors” that present, because that’s what FinTech geeks (OK, OK, I’ll call them FinTech professionals) like.

I don’t have anything against these upstarts. Other than the fact that many of them aren’t really “disrupting” the industry, and just finding niches of underserved consumers to provide services to, that is.

And I have nothing against the presenters that will demonstrate fraud prevention and security innovations. It’s just not my area of interest or expertise. 

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Maybe what Finovate can create for future shows is different categories of “best-in-show,” like “best user interface design” or “best security innovation.”

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the conference and hope to catch up with a lot of fellow FinTech geeks. 

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