JAX Finance: What got you interested in FinTech?
Andreas Staub: I started in banking immediately after university. This industry is part of my identity. The mixture between tech and human is evolving since 200 years – I consider FinTech as nothing new. Tech is very fascinating but interestingly no matter what kind of technology was driving the industry it was (always) the human part that made the difference. Banking in his essence is social. It’s about trust, fairness and reciprocity. Tech helps to deliver these promises.
JAX Finance: Do you think the phrase “evolve or die” describes banks’ situation right now?
Staub: This phrase is and was always correct. The rise of startups is a logical step and part of the progress tech made. But (this is a sad fact) since most of the FinTech startups are delivering only commodity benefits like «cheaper, faster and better» and almost no social values. We will see fierce competition on price and lot of involuntary startup exits. In this sense «evolve or die» fits more to FinTech startups than incumbents. This may sound a bit provocative, but I would bet on it.
JAX Finance: Does FinTech still deserve the label “disruptive” or has it outshined this tag?
Staub: I think that there was always a disruptive part. Delivering banking services to unbanked or P2P are examples I consider disruptive. These are new business models with social impact. We just don’t know ex-ante what’s next.
JAX Finance: What are the biggest (and most important) trends in FinTech right now?
Staub: The biggest trend is the human being. Why? Trends are predictable. We cannot predict the tech progress in an accurate way that we can deliver real value for management. Most of the predictions were wrong in the past. And what we see now is an exponential progress. So why should we be able right now to predict the future better than in the past? All we can say is that we can predict human behavior. There is enough evidence based knowledge about that. We know what drives human behavior and we know how to change behavior. So in comparison to tech there is less danger to be wrong with predictions … By the way when was the last update of our brains? 50K years ago? No progress in sight if we don’t start to implant chips into the brain to become cyborgs …
JAX Finance: Do you think the investment potential will attract entrepreneurs to FinTech?
Staub: Fintech will always attract investors. Banking is emotional and attractive. And banking will be more and more interdisciplinary. The on-going convergence is the „fertile soil“ for further innovation and new ideas.
JAX Finance: How important is blockchain in this equation? Can FinTech help it go mainstream?
Staub: To be honest I don’t believe blockchain will deliver all the promises and fulfil the hopes associated with. But maybe I’m wrong. Anyway, it’s a great idea and invention and yes there will be some applications going mainstream. But then as a commodity for all FinTechs and incumbents.
JAX Finance: What does innovation mean to you?
Staub: In one sentence, I like the statement of Clay Shirky: “A revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new tools, it happens when society adopts new behaviors”.
JAX Finance: What does the future of finance look like?
Staub: Personally, I’m fascinated by the idea that we ourselves are the banking interface. And at the end of the day it’s „human first“ and about social preferences. Like trust, fairness and reciprocity. Always.