Thanks for your involvement in the Fintech 20 Ireland event, what inspired you to get involved?
FEXCO is Ireland’s oldest fintech company: we began offering bank-beating financial services in 1981 and we are really excited to see the growth in this area in the last few years.
What is your role at FEXCO?
I am the CEO of FEXCO Corporate Payments (FCP) which provides international funds transfer services for businesses in Ireland and the UK.
— FEXCO (@FEXCOgroup) November 15, 2016
How significant is / will Fintech innovation be for the companies you work with?
Fintech innovation is at the root of our business: FCP started processing international payments in 1997 and we have won a large share of the corporate payments market in Ireland by providing more competitive rates than the standard banks as well as cutting edge technology.
The fintech revolution is opening up markets for FCP at a rapid pace. In the past we found that businesses were pretty conservative and they were very reluctant to move their payments away from their bank, but the fintech revolution is really changing perceptions. Businesses no longer default to their bank for payment services, which is very exciting for a non-bank provider like FEXCO.
What type of FinTech companies is Fexco interested in?
We are really interested in companies that improve the customer experience in financial services. Fintech companies not only need to be cheaper and faster than the banks; they also need to show that they are reliable and transparent in order to earn and maintain the customer’s trust.
What tips would you give to Fintech companies looking to do well going forward?
Get to know the industry that you’re transforming. Successful fintech businesses typically fix the problems that incumbents have ignored, so it’s really important to get to know the incumbents.
Clarify your revenue model and reality-test your revenue model. There are two major questions that fintech start-ups need to answer: will customers pay for the product, and how much will they pay for it?
Watch out for regulatory change. FEXCO was founded in 1981 when the Central Bank liberalised the rules governing bureau de change services in Ireland. That kind of regulatory change can create fantastic opportunities for nimble start-up businesses.
Have you identified any use cases where blockchain may help what you are working on?
Blockchain can replace the existing network for international payments once that the main providers of liquidity (banks) are confident that it provides a safe and more efficient alternative. The banks are facing an immediate threat from emerging non-bank payment providers, so there is going to be a lot of change in this market in the next few years. In the future banks will either participate in a vastly improved SWIFT network, or they will be using blockchain technology. Or they won’t be doing payments anymore.
What trends are you excited about in Fintech in general?
I am fascinated by the way fintech interacts with the existing financial environment. We are seeing more and more collaboration between fintech and the traditional incumbent such as banks, insurance companies and investment brokers. This makes sense for both parties: fintech businesses get to access a large customer base for their product, and traditional incumbent gets to offer a better level of service to their customer. Fintech businesses are often portrayed as being involved in a conflict with the existing banking environment, but in reality they are mostly adding value to existing financial services.
What is the best way for people to find out more about FEXCO?