Fintech Influencer Switzerland Interview Series: 7 Questions to Oscar Neira

Fintech Influencer Switzerland Interview Series: 7 Questions to Oscar Neira

by June 2, 2020
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In May 2020, Fintechnews.ch launched the Fintech Influencer Switzerland Interview series, which presents at least once a week a short interview we have conducted with a well-known, longtime Swiss fintech influencer to get his or her views on some of the industry’s most urging issues and hottest trends.

For this interview, Fintechnews.ch has talked to Oscar Neira* of Codd & Date Suisse to catch up with him, hear his opinion on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fintech sector, learn more about the Italian fintech landscape, and more.

Oscar was nominated by Marc Lussy.

Hi Oscar, what has changed for you personally during this pandemic?

A lot has changed.

Not so much in terms of working from home, though, because I was already doing that before the pandemic, but more regarding basic things. For example, if you asked me three months ago if I would ever have my own little garden, I would have said: “No! Are you a fool?” Well, now I have one. It’s a hell of work and I love it.

The reason for that was mainly to get out of the lethargy, and move and strengthen my body. But also to learn how to grow my own food.

Do you think COVID-19 is the digital accelerator that the industry has been missing so far?

I believe so. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an accelerator for remote working, among many other things.

On the other hand, there have been articles from psychologists who have said that after COVID-19, people will fall back into their old habits and behaviors. I don’t believe this will happen.

What is your current focus?

During the confinement, I studied a lot about cybersecurity and secure customer authentication (SCA).

I learnt that this was more than just installing a firewall and antivirus software, or not opening suspicious emails from alleged bank insiders who found unclaimed inheritance.

This is actually a very important topic and multifaceted issue that start with basic things like an asset (equipment) inventory.

You were often in Italy and know the fintech trends there very well. What are we missing?

I don’t know why but it seems that all the countries or regions start their fintech journey with payments. Everybody thinks that payment is easy. Well, it’s not.

Italy passed this stage and now has three major trends and segments: payments, microcredits/crowdlending, and insurtech.

Looking back at Italy’s history, there are surely some connections which could explain why these segments have such prominence in Italy right now: in the 13th century, the Lombards were giving credits all over Europe; in the 14th century, the Florentines with the Medici dynasty were already making foreign money exchange and payments; and the world’s first known insurance broker emerged out of Pisa in 1319.

Historically, Italians have a lot of knowledge and expertise when it comes to banking and insurance. Whether they are as good with tech is another story, but I do believe Italy’s fintech industry has a bright future ahead.

I mean, the world’s oldest bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, stated in 1472 and is still in operation today. This implies that throughout the centuries, they’ve remained innovative and successfully re-invented themselves to stay relevant.

Please tell us a fintech in Italy we should watch closely?

I like the Fabrick.com open banking platform very much. They are connecting banks with fintechs through a marketplace platform.

Not only does Fabrick help banks with open APIs, the platform also helps fintechs connect directly to all Italian banks (and hopefully international banks later on) and manage all the different SCA models from every bank, reducing complexity and costs for fintechs.

What can Switzerland learn from fintech in Italy or vice versa?

Italian fintechs need to learn from their Swiss peers how to build more business-to-business (B2B) solutions and use cases. Italian fintechs should also focus more on scaling internationally.

As of Swiss fintechs, they could definitely learn more about successful bank/fintech partnerships from their Italian peers. I have the feeling that collaborations between banks and fintechs in Italy are much more fruitful than in Switzerland.

Which Swiss fintech startup should we have on our radar?

There are a lot of them. I think Sonect has great potential. There are also some very good wealthtech platforms for asset managers and family offices which are poised for great success. If you ask me about regtech, my actual favorite is KYC Spider.

Please nominate a Global Swiss Fintech Influencer for one of our next interviews:

I nominate financial market and data protection lawyer Cornelia Stengel and/or Miki Vayloyan, CEO of KYC Spider.

 

*Bio Swiss Fintech Influencer Oscar Neira:

Oscar Neira is a senior consultant at Codd & Date Suisse, an IT and business consultancy firm specialized in ISO20022 payments, cybersecurity, data analytics and machine learning, and business continuity management.

He is also a correspondent for finance platform moneytoday.ch where he regularly writes as an expert on subjects including open banking, PSD2, instant payments, SWIFT gpi, and related topics.

Neira is advisor to numerous Swiss fintech startup‘s as well as a popular speaker on different international events.

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