Decades of relentless technological innovations and new regulations have altered the finance sector. Financial products and markets have never been more reliant on technology.
In this research seminars series, leading researchers from across the University of Edinburgh and partner research institutions will offer an unvarnished view of the emerging sector at the intersection of finance, technology and policy. They will advance debates on the topical issues in FinTech and its interaction with the society, from technological innovations to regulatory issues.
Past Seminars (2021)
Wednesday 20 January – Open Banking for Welfare Benefits, Manuel Peleteiro
Vulnerable consumers may be significantly less able to represent their own interests, they may have different needs, and may be more prone to behavioural biases that negatively impact their decision making. In this event, we will explore how Fintech companies are leveraging on transactional banking data to drive improvements in the treatment of vulnerable consumers so that they can experience outcomes that are as good as those for other consumers. We will also discuss a practical example of a holistic framework to identify, understand, capture and monitor the needs of vulnerable customers.
Manuel is an experienced product owner of data-intensive data processes and products. Manuel is the founder of Inbest, a data analytics platform that helps vulnerable customers to understand, apply and monitor the benefits available to them. At Inbest, he is in charge of business development and leads product implementations and specialised consultancy project on banking transactional data.
Prior to these roles, Manuel was a product owner in Moody’s Analytics, quant consultant at Accenture and investment banking analyst at Caixabank. Manuel has a BSc (Hons) Economics and Finance, MSc Financial Mathematics and is a CFA charterholder.
Wednesday 17 February – Techno-solutionism in the Corona-crisis, Claudia Pagliari
The scale and impact of the coronavirus pandemic has shocked western democracies unused to dealing with major outbreaks. One of the biggest challenges for infection control has been the identification and tracking of cases and their contacts, at a scale which is not easy to achieve with conventional public health approaches. In response to this challenge, a variety of so-called ‘contact tracing’ apps began to emerge in the first quarter of 2020 and have gone through several waves of innovation and adaptation, which continues.
This talk told the story of these apps over the course of the pandemic, analysing the complex co-dependencies between the technologies themselves and their social, health systemic and political contexts. It described how the clash between techno-solutionism and privacy fundamentalism resulted in a compromise that yielded relatively little benefit for public health at great public expense, and paradoxically placed more power in the hands of global technology companies. The inconsistent relationship between the privacy features and uptake of such apps in comparable democratic countries also challenges the fetishisation of data privacy/security, in contrast to other fundamental elements of trustworthy systems, users and institutions.
Disillusionment with these apps as ‘saviour technologies’ has led to their de-prioritisation in the UK’s coronavirus response strategy, however the rise of new viral strains, coupled with the increased availability of testing and vaccination, offer new opportunities to derive value from them, provided these conditions of trust can be satisfied.
Dr Claudia Pagliari
Claudia Pagliari PhD FRCPE is Director of Global eHealth at the University of Edinburgh, a theme leader of the NHS Digital Academy, a World Health Organisation Expert in Digital Health and Chair of Scotland’s National Expert Group in Digital Ethics. Her research focuses on the ethical and responsible use of digital and data innovations in healthcare, as well as wider considerations around e-Government and the digital society. Her paper analysing the ethics and value of contact tracing apps helped to inform the Scottish Government’s decision to procure a privacy respecting platform and she has recently been advising Scottish Government on the ethical governance of the Data Intelligence Network for Scotland. She has recently started a new AHRC project focused on Good Governance and trust in Data Driven Responses to Public Health Emergencies.
Wednesday 3 March – Standing Out and Fitting In: How FinTech Start-ups Gain from Industry Analyst Endorsement, Dr Neil Pollock, Dr Milan Frederik Klus, Dr Carsten Sorensen
It is widely recognised that new digital ventures, because they are an unknown quantity, rely on influential intermediaries to endorse them. However, in some areas like the finance sector, gaining the support of an intermediary can be essential if a venture is to have the resources needed to survive and prosper. It can be challenging for newcomers to gain a foothold in the financial industry and translate their innovative offerings into the well-understood context of traditionally conservative incumbent (banks). Yet it is unclear what actions ventures can take to attract intermediary coverage and, in turn, the influence the intermediary has on their development.
To study this crucial phenomenon, the speakers carried out qualitative research on the pitches FinTechs make to industry analysts. They developed a process model of intermediary evaluation that shows how FinTechs move from being an unknown quantity to engaging industry analysts to being endorsed by them. Their central finding is that industry analyst coverage is essential to FinTech development because they help them stand out and fit in. The speakers offer contributions to scholarship on FinTech development, intermediaries and digital entrepreneurship.
Milan Frederik Klus, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Bremen
Neil Pollock, Professor of Innovation and Social Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Carsten Sørensen, Associate Professor (Reader) of Information Systems and Innovation, London School of Economics and Political Science.
Wednesday 14 April – Ethnicity and Bank Lending before and during Covid-19, Professor Marc Cowling (University of Derby)
Using ethnicity as our point of focus, we consider the dynamics of the demand for bank loans, and the willingness of banks to supply them, as the UK economy entered the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. Using the most recent 10 quarterly waves of the SME Finance Monitor survey we consider whether ethnicity of the business owner impacts on the decision to apply for bank loans in the first instance. We then question whether ethnicity influences the banks decision to meet or reject the request for a bank loan. Our pre-Covid results show that there were no ethnic differences in loan application and success rates. During Covid-19 both white and ethnic business loan application rates rose significantly, but the scale of this increase was greater for ethnic businesses. The presence of government 100% guaranteed lending also increased general loan success rates, but again the scale of this improvement was greater for ethnic businesses.
Professor Marc Cowling is Professor of Business Economics and Head of Research and Innovation in the College of Business, Law, and Social Sciences at the University of Derby. Marc Cowling is an expert advisor to The World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the European Union DG Regio on these precise issues and is ranked amongst the Top 7% of research economists in the world. He is the most highly published and cited academic in the UK on issues relating to SME finance, the use of public policy instruments to support SME development, and evaluation methodologies which reflects his 30 years of experience researching in these areas.
Wednesday 28 April – Energy Efficiency vs default probability, Cesar Benedi-Bozalongo, Zsolt Jaczko, James Hughes (Nationwide Building Society)
This presentation aims to show the result of the research conducted on the relationship between energy efficiency and the default probability. The correlation analysis suggests that customers that own higher energy efficient properties seem to be less likely to default and to fall into arrears, even after controlling for customer, property, and mortgage characteristics that might affect this relationship. Energy efficient rating is statistically significant after including it in the IRB behavioural scorecard which allows a better allocation of capital according to the energy efficiency of the property. Results are obtained on a sample containing 650,000 residential properties from Nationwide Building Society portfolio.
This project started thanks to the participation of Nationwide in the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) which was established by the European Commission to accelerate private finance to energy efficiency investments.
Zsolt is the Head of Retail IRB Modelling at Nationwide Building Society. The team is responsible for the development and ongoing maintenance of the Societies Prime and Specialist portfolio capital model. Zsolt has been responsible for the IRB Rebuild Programme to deliver regulatory compliant model suits for the retail portfolios of Nationwide.
Having worked for HSBC, Barclays, Raiffeisen Bank International AG or Budapest Bank, Zsolt has more than 15 years of retail banking and consumer finance experience and expertise in developing and implementing global credit risk management standards in 15 countries.
Cesar Benedi Bozalongo
Cesar is Senior Risk Analyst at the Retail IRB Modelling team, specialised on Secured portfolios. Cesar has been involved in the IRB Rebuild Programme to deliver regulatory compliant model suits for the secured portfolios at Nationwide.
Cesar has 5 years’ experience in the finance sector, previously having worked for a Consulting company in Barcelona. Cesar holds a MSc in International Trade, Finance, and Development for the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics and a degree in Economics at the University of Zaragoza.
Wednesday 26 May – Professor Shannon Vallor (Centre for Technomoral Futures, University of Edinburgh)
Upcoming Fintech, Value and Society Events