16 October 2017
The Finopolis Forum of innovative financial technologies was held in Sochi for the first time this year. From October 4 to 6, 2017, around 1,400 participants visited the Forum venue. The event featured four plenary sessions, six open lectures, thirteen break-out sessions, and eight roundtables.
A new event at this year’s Forum was Youth Day Fintech, which took place the day before the event was officially opened, while the exhibition of cutting-edge financial technologies by market leaders and the fintech startup contest are already becoming Forum traditions.
The first day of Finopolis 2017 opened with a lecture delivered by well-known futurist and author Brett King, entitled ‘Banks 4.0 – Banking everywhere, but not at a bank’. According to King, banks will soon become obsolete: “Bank workers will be replaced by big data specialists capable of modelling consumer behaviour and understanding people’s reactions and needs”, he noted.
Continuing on this theme, participants in the first plenary session discussed which financial services involving the use of new technologies will experience the highest consumer demand. The moderator of the discussion, Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina, noted that Russian banks are in need of new business models based on digital technologies. She believes that it is important for the government to take on the responsibility of creating the infrastructure for new digital financial technologies, thus reducing costs for new participants in the financial services market. “At the same time, we are aware that many companies with significant resources, primarily within the financial sector, are prepared to build infrastructure of this kind themselves. And I believe that they will accomplish this more rapidly on a market basis than can be done under the auspices of a regulator”, the Governor clarified.
In their discussion of key technological trends during the second plenary session, Russian and foreign experts touched upon the potential cost of a digital transformation within the financial sector, also noting which fintech predictions for 2016–2017 had failed to come to pass and why.
The Forum continued its work at a lively pace during break-out sessions and roundtables. Specialists discussed how the Internet of Commerce Things could change the world, and in particular how mobile commerce is influencing consumer behaviour and how total connectivity can be made safe. Another topic discussed was statistical reporting in the digital era and new business opportunities in this area. Break-out session moderator and First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova invited participants to share views on the infrastructure of the digital financial ecosystem, and specifically issues relating to remote identification and the prospects of developing a unified biometric system. “We really believe that our voices and faces are the starting point, and we are making this part of a common biometric platform. As this develops, we may see the addition of iris scanning and other parameters, because reliable identification is based on comparing at least two or three parameters”, Olga Skorobogatova explained.
A plenary session on October 6 dedicated to ecosystems and transforming the financial market’s business model under the influence of technology was led by First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia Sergey Shvetsov. Opening the discussion, he spoke about an initiative to establish a national system for registering financial transactions. “This system will be linked to a remote identification system, government services, and the Federal Tax Service, and will work in conjunction with payment systems. The essence of the initiative is that all transactions on the financial market undertaken by our people will be listed within a single repository. The record of the financial service in the repository will provide a legal basis for the consumer and his counterparty to defend their interests in court, before the financial ombudsman, and where complaints are made to the Bank of Russia”, he said, noting that such a system would help to increase public confidence with regard to distance selling of financial products and services.
Forum participants also discussed potential applications of artificial intelligence and its influence on the labour market, and a roundtable entitled ‘Star Wars, or an alternative view on payments’ considered the question of which payment services and technologies might prevail in the future battle for clients within an intensely competitive environment. Discussed separately were points of growth in Russian fintech and the development of supporting ecosystems for fintech startups.
One break-out session was dedicated to various scenarios for the development and regulation of digital currencies in Russia over the coming five years. Summarizing the conclusions, session moderator Olga Skorobogatova noted that it was necessary for the regulator, together with relevant ministries and agencies, to first of all establish a legal framework for digital currencies and to introduce essential concepts of a legal nature, together with the consequences of applying these or other norms in this area. “We really need to pilot new technologies – we can’t avoid the changes that are taking place in the world. Different countries are adopting different approaches to the application and use of these technologies, and today’s discussion has demonstrated the full spectrum, including both the positives and the negatives. Various alternatives and approaches exist for making use of both the technology itself and the individual currencies, and on the issue of whether or not there is any point in having a national digital currency. Nonetheless it seems to me that, as long as our decisions as to how to make use of these technologies are in the best interests of mankind, the consumer, and the state, they are sure to bring us a new quality of life, increased convenience, and new opportunities”, she concluded.
Among the topics discussed during parallel discussions and roundtables were the digital revolution in insurance, the problems and prospects of big data and smart data, the social aspects of access to finance and the accessibility of financial services for people with disabilities and reduced mobility in the light of new technologies, fintech at universities, and distributed registries for businesses and the state.
The Finopolis Forum was organized by the Bank of Russia together with organizational partner the Roscongress Foundation.
Finopolis 2017 was made possible thanks to the joint efforts of the following Forum partners:
Partner: FinTech Association
Strategic Partner and General Partner of Youth Day Fintech: Tinkoff Bank
National Tech Partner: Rostelecom
National Partner: Mir National Payment Card
Official Partners: Visa, AK BARS BANK, Mastercard, Center of Financial Technologies (CFT), MTS, Moscow Exchange Group, Huawei, SAP, Sberbank, VTB Bank
Special Partners: LANIT, SAS, Deloitte, IBS, Sovcombank, Promsvyazbank, Qiwi
Partner for the Development of the FinTech Ecosystem: Skolkovo Foundation
Strategic Partner of Youth Day FinTech: Center-Invest Bank
Partner of Youth Day FinTech: Kuban Kredit
General Media Partner: Business FM
Official Media Agency: TASS
Special Media Partners: Banki.ru, PRIME
Official Media Partner of the Fintech Startup Competition: Bankir.ru
Media Partners of Youth Day FinTech: SecurityLab, Kuban 24
Media Partners: Rusbase, Financial One, PLUS, Bank Reviewer, Banking Technologies, BIS Journal