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FinTech 2019

Finding common ground in banking and finance


Professor Mohamed Shaban

Professor of Finance and FinTech/Vice President International Finance and Banking Society

Why is IFABS different or important?

“During the financial crisis, it was obvious that there was segmentation between three parties — academic researchers, policymakers/regulators, and industry — which could drastically affect decision-making in the areas of banking and finance.

“Essentially, these three parties were pointing fingers and accusing each other of being the cause of the crisis. It was their lack of common ground and their lack of dialogue — or, rather, trialogue — that sparked the idea of bringing them together.  In 2008, we had the pioneering idea of creating a society that would facilitate discussion between these three groups.”

Why do finance and banking industry professionals need a platform for discussion?

“Facilitating collaboration and pooling knowledge can create cutting-edge research. Previously, academia, policymakers and industry worked in their own siloes without communicating or exchanging knowledge.

Society members benefit from the synergies of pooled knowledge and know-how.

“But, by leaving their own bubbles — their own fantasy worlds, if you like — they were encouraged to touch base with reality and discover common ground. More than that, they realised they could benefit from the synergies of pooled knowledge and know-how, making research more impactful and so creating a more informed and efficient decision-making process, whether at industry level or policy-making level.”

How is this collaboration best facilitated?

“The three parties won’t come together without a common cause. So it’s important to find a theme — a topical issue that can create a buzz — and then invite them to talk about it and share knowledge at conferences and gatherings. It’s also important to invite the right people to these conferences — key experts, in other words — and offer roundtables and discussion panels where they can interact and air their different views.

“The outcomes of these meetings can be significant. For instance, the papers presented at our conferences are published in reputable academic journals and may inform policy developments.”

How do societies support professional development?

“By, for example, using experts from academia, policymaking and industry to provide quality capacity building programmes and training for executives in the financial and banking sector, and using these same experts to provide consultancy services. Societies also offer consultancy services for their members.”

What is the future for FinTech societies?

“Societies are full of natural-born innovators who want to pursue every new trend in the industry, including financial technology. Excitingly, there’s keen interest to develop a new society to bridge communication among technology-related issues, and we can only envisage more sectors following this solution.

The banking industry does better when its members collaborate.

“Market research shows that Asia has dominated FinTech for a long time — and that America and Europe is trying to tap into this knowledge in order to catch up. Next, we aim to provide a bridge between these regions so that the sectors in Europe and America can share and expand their FinTech know-how.”

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