In fintech, Europe falls behind overseas, Fin.Techsummit in Bratislava would like to change it

The participants agree when reviewing: The recent Fin.Techsummit 2018 – Conference on Technological Innovations in the Financial Sector – was a professionally enriching event and great networking experience. It is not surprising if we take into account the quality of speakers and the mix of presented topics, reflecting the latest developments in the different dimensions of the fintech industry. Speakers and participants from abroad also appreciated the high-quality level of the event – we reached a record number of 15 countries.

The conference organizers also believe that highly professional events of this type contribute to creating a more positive and innovative “fintech” environment not only in Slovakia but also in Central Europe. Some participants have also indicated that Europe still has a lot to do to catch up with this trend.  For example, Member of European Parliament, Ivan Štefanec made a clear statement in his speech, stating that “the European Union is not a global leader in providing fintech services.” He also referred to a recent survey comparing our continent with the USA, China, India, and Japan. In his opinion,  European fintech companies are on average smaller and exist shorter than their overseas competitors; their growth is still hitting the barrier of the persistent inconsistency of rules across the EU.

The second year of the Fin.Techsummit conference, held in Bratislava on November 14, 2018, was divided into two streams, in particular, “Financial Market Automation” and “Future Regulators vs. innovations.” In parallel, hackathon – a development contest involving nine teams – and B2B matching also took place. Traditionally, organizers emphasized creating a networking environment for nearly 300 professionals from the world of finance, information technology, and startups. They could also get the opinions of people representing the public sphere, including the Head of the Department of Banking of the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, Martin Petro, who talked in particular about the new Center for Financial Innovation and the British Ambassador Andrew Garth, whose embassy was also an event partner.

The perfectionist effort of the organizing team led to the realization of a genuinely beneficial event for experts, as many of them subsequently stated. One of them was the internationally recognized financial market psychologist Thomas Oberlechner, the pioneer of the term “behavioral fintech.” His presentation in the panel discussion attracted the attention of the participants, and he expressed his satisfaction with the level of the audience and the topics of the conference. This recognition is underlined by the fact that he is an experienced presenter and has worked at top universities in Europe and the USA, including Harvard and MIT.

Very pleased with the conference in Bratislava, were also two Londoners – Samir Parekh and Ambuj Agrawal from Zappy AI, focusing on robotics and analytics for the financial sector. Their two contributions on this topic have also been effective, thanks to the excellent event organization and the great choice of its participants, as they mentioned later.

Another career globetrotter at the Fin.Techsummit 2018 conference was Lydia Goutas, a molecular biology scientist from New York, that managed her career through the various managerial positions to leading international headhunting agency in Vienna. “Big thanks for being part of Fin.Techsummit – I felt it was even better than the previous year and that the interest of people was fantastic,” she replied upon her return home.

Finally, it is also crucial for us to hear the evaluations of Fin.Techsummit’s partners and supporters, without them we would not be able to organize it – at least not in the given quality and range. Exclusive partner was Tatra Banka, which initiated and sponsored this year’s hackathon topic; this was related to the development of the front-end parts of the client’s chatbot. Interest in hackathon exceeded expectations, as Katarína Bežová, representative of Tatra Banka, confirmed; 15 teams have joined, of which the jury has selected nine finalists who have developed and presented their solutions. The winner of this competition with international participation was, in the end, the Slovak team Magic.

To the supporters of the conference also belongs the company, which already reached the international success and also provided the organizers with their evaluation. Participants from this company have ranked among the biggest positives of event networking, useful, often emerging topics, international and multi-sectoral character, and an option to choose within the program features.

And what are the evaluations and reviews of the organizers themselves? “This year, we have shifted the Fin.Techsummit quality is even higher. I think we managed to design topics and speakers so that they provided the participants with the perfect experience, and they appreciated it a lot,” stated Davy Čajko,  CEO of Future Proof, company which organizes Fin.Techsummit as well as other conferences. “As a top point, we perceive the feedback on the quality of the proposals of the second year of our Hackaton, which surprised everyone interested in this feature – the realizator, the facilitator, but also the participants themselves. It shows how high is the quality of our generation of people involved in developments in this area. We are very pleased that we have top developers in Slovakia and we have created an opportunity for interesting cooperation,” he added.

What to expect from the next year? The organizers, considering the feedback from participants, decided that Fin.Techsummit 2019 will dispose of bigger format, its program will be even more productive and will take place on a new date – in September. As the evaluation of complete Techsummit Events series, Davy Čajko said: “By this fifth conference of this year we completed a very successful year of innovative authors’ conferences. We are expecting a lot of work to be needed to create the attractive “fintech” environment in the region. We are already working on a deeper analysis of the CEE ecosystem that we de facto mapped through our events. As a fast-growing company with a clear vision to be a leader in the CEE region, we are preparing new formats and new topics for the upcoming year. We keep in touch with our supporters,“ he promised. The organizers also want to emphasize more the support of fintech industry by the competent authorities, already in the next year. The invited representatives should, therefore, get even more space within the future Fin.Techsummit.

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