New reports show that the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) recently launched its new Global Fintech Hubs Federation (GFHF). Htet Tayza comments.
SWIFT is a global, member-owned co-operative based in Belgium. One of SWIFT’s core aims is to develop the financial technology (fintech) needed to enable industry innovation. During 2016, SWIFT has carved inroads into the broader global cyber-securities sector, as well as the fintech market.
In particular SWIFT’s innovation arm, Innotribe, has promoted cyber-securities and fintech innovation this year. Fintech is now a truly worldwide sector, with centres in London China and Singapore. The latter city market is now Asia’s largest financial centre, as well as a fintech innovation world leader. IBM recently decided to base its first fintech research and development centre in the city-state.
Innotribe has now joined with SWIFT’s membership group for fintech initiatives, Innovate Finance, to establish the GFHF. This project is designed to give a voice to regional fintech hubs such as those listed above. There are currently 20 members of the GFHF, including the UK, Switzerland, Mexico, Germany, China and Canada, but more members are expected to join as the initiative expands.
The GFHF is an independent, inclusive worldwide network of fintech centres. It is designed to consolidate emerging hubs with the wider fintech industry, via a cross-border platform, supplying a nexus for engagement with global stakeholders. The GFHF hopes to attract members which are looking to develop a thriving fintech eco-system, both in their respective areas and across the planet.
Developing an ecosystem
With this project SWIFT aims to cultivate engagement, standardisation of knowledge and best practises throughout the worldwide fintech industry. Commenting at the launch event, the Global Head of Market Securities for Innotribe said: “As the Fintech sector develops globally, it has never been as important to encourage discussion and collaboration within the financial industry.
“Being one of the premier global innovation platforms, SWIFT Innotribe looks forward to foster a bigger and stronger fintech ecosystem through this initiative, bringing its expertise and leveraging its network for the benefit of the banking and start-up communities.” Adding further commentary, Innovate Finance’s CEO, Lawrence Wintermeyer, was quoted by Finance Magnates noting:
“Coordination and cross border dialogue between emerging fintech start-ups, established fintech companies, financial institutions and policy makers remains key for long term success of our sector. The launch of the GFHF will provide a platform for global fintech players and hubs to share knowledge and build an inclusive community network that will help accelerate the growth and influence of global fintech and help shape a better financial services future.”
Promoting industry collaboration
The GFHF could prove hugely advantageous to the global fintech sector, which is already booming. Figures released by Accenture, a professional services firm, indicate the global fintech investment volumes remained strong during the opening half of 2016. The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region performed particularly well during this period of time, attracting US$9.6bn in fintech investment.
But various national fintech sectors vastly differ, depending on market forces. Asian fintech hubs such as Singapore and China, for instance, are creating a very competitive market by adopting different regulatory approaches, based on their unique financial climates. By bringing differing fintech powers together, SWIFT’s GFHF could promote the idea exchanges needed to produce more effective fintech solutions, attracting the extra investment needed to lift the market to new heights.