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Shaping the future of finance

To kill or not to kill, that is the question

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a few cups of tea in the harbour ... or I threw mine in there as
American tea is never quite English breakfast ... I wandered back to
the BECC (Becks: there he is again, ah no he isn't, it's the Boston
Conference and Exhibition Centre, the BCEC) for more on new thinking
for the future.

I picked on the session "Changes in the global
payments industry: A pragmatic vision of the future" to attend and
dawdled up to the second floor only to find about 10,000 people in the
conference room and the mature ladies who guard the doors struggling
with masses.

"Get away, get away", they squealed and begged us to go into the overflow room, which was also overflowing.

I got a good seat near the front soon enough, which could have been
down to the beans I'd had for breakfast earlier in the day, and waited
in anticipation for what promised to be a good session.

Here's the description:

business of payments is changing. The business of processing payments
is also bound to change. Is there a global trend in the major US,
European and Asian markets? What are the strategic choices for banks to
make payments a profitable business? What concrete actions have already
been taken? What are the consequences for banks, their clients and
their market infrastructures? Can payments be processed tomorrow the
same way as yesterday? Something must give - what, who, when?

Again, a solubrious panel gathered to debate the topic including:

as the debate was getting interesting, with Andrew saying something to
the effect of "it took us a long time to convince HSBC to outsource to
HSBC, which is when I realised that the process of outsourcing to an
offshore centre is a process in itself", which I rather liked, that my
mobile went off.

Now my mobile ringtone is the theme from Doctor
Who.  I like it 'cos it shoots off with this amazing
"ooooooooooooooo-eeeeeeeeeeeeee-ooooooooooooo" at the start that makes
me jump out of my seat and answer the phone.  And by golly, a few
thousand people jumped out of their seats at this point.

So I
quietly dumped my phone in the bag of the Sungard salesman sitting next
to me (boy, was he unpopular) and hobbled off for my official stand
duties on the Exhibition floor. 

This year I'm signing books on
the Sun stand (signing books - who does he think he is?), chairing
debates on the IBM booth and presenting a couple of sessions for
Sterling Commerce.  Hey, c'mon, someone's gotta pay for me to be here
for Chris's sakes.

The day finishes with a good debate around
"Innovation: Constructive or Disruptive?"  Now my view is that every
new thing has to kill some old thing if it is to succeed.  The banking
view appears to be that every new thing has to add to the thing that
there was there before. 

That's why each new channel adds to the old channels.  Each new payments system adds to the last one. 

innovations get rid of what was there before?  To kill or not to kill,
that is the question ... and too often, banks won't kill what they've
got which is why they end up with legacy and stuff sitting around that
they dearly want to get rid of ... but they are stuck with it because
they reluctantly introduced the new things without thinking about how
to get rid of the old stuff.

To kill or not to kill ... that is the question.

After that debate, I did one last tour of the Exhibition.

around the exhibition floor is also like wandering around London's
pubs.  Yes, you guessed it, lots of people with strange accents sharing
a glass of wine or a beer and getting warmed up for a night out.

Ah well, I'm turning in to go change and get ready to party.  Tell all tomorrow ..

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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