Guest Opinion: David and Goliath Walk Into a Bar . . .

Guest Opinion: David and Goliath Walk Into a Bar . . .

A few years ago, financial services used the classic metaphor of David and Goliath to illustrate the industry’s growing disruption: fintech, painted as the agile underdog, versus the formidable and experienced incumbent. But over the past five years, the David and Goliath metaphor in reference to fintech innovation has become increasingly inaccurate.

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Insurtech Firms to Keep an Eye On

Insurtech Firms to Keep an Eye On

Insurance technology (or insurtech to those in the know) continues to be hot; more than $3 billion in funding was poured into the sector in 2018, and that figure in 2019 is expected to be even higher. In our travels to and fro in recent weeks, we have been fortunate enough to meet with and discover a number of interesting – and very diverse – firms in this space.

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Guest Opinion: Understanding IT Risk in the Financial Industry

Guest Opinion: Understanding IT Risk in the Financial Industry

You see it on the news almost every single day. Another security breach has occurred, customer data has been compromised, and the company’s reputation has now been tarnished. Not only is a cybersecurity breach a PR nightmare, but it can cost your institution a huge amount of money in liability and churn. Of the top 10 financial services industry breaches that have occurred, over 526 million customers were affected.

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Six Fintechs to Watch at FinovateSpring

Six Fintechs to Watch at FinovateSpring

The bi-annual celebration of fintech known as Finovate is upon us again, with Finovate Spring 2019 set to commence next week in San Francisco. What started more than a decade ago as a small gathering of startups in humble venues, has grown into one of the premier events in the fintech community featuring both established companies as well as plucky startups.

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5 Companies to Watch at this Year's Fintech Innovation Lab New York

5 Companies to Watch at this Year's Fintech Innovation Lab New York

This month marks the start of the ninth year for Fintech Innovation Lab New York. The 12-week non-profit program is designed to put the focus on the country’s most ambitious and budding fintech companies.

 The event is also somewhat of a matchmaking exercise, as growth-stage companies meet with VCs and financial services execs for -depth business and product development consultations.

 So is the next hot fintech unicorn present at this event? Only time will tell, but some of the hot categories this year are firms operating in the AI, machine learning and gamficiation space. Here’s our picks for some of the fintech startups to watch out for at this year’s program.

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The Irish Invasion (of Fintech)

The Irish Invasion (of Fintech)

Last century saw not one, but two British invasions when it comes to music, but a different sort of invasion has sprung up lately from Britain’s near neighbor, Ireland. This one isn’t sonic-based (though we’d be remiss if we didn’t note our love of The Pogues), but rather focused on fintech. The Emerald Isle has been exporting an impressive array of financial technology over the past decade or so, and indeed has become one of the global hotspots.

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A fintech review of SXSW

A fintech review of SXSW

Your Financial Revolutionist was at the SXSW (or “South By”(SX) to those in the know) festival last week, and as always, it was an experience. The event is one of the biggest in the world, with some 70,000 people descending on Austin, Texas for the week-long business and cultural shindig.

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Top cryptos to keep an eye on (that aren’t bitcoin)

Top cryptos to keep an eye on (that aren’t bitcoin)

The world of cryptocurrency never seems far from the headlines, and it was back in the news recently when JP Morgan Chase announced it is creating the first bank-backed cryptocurrency in the U.S., dubbed JPM Coin. This was especially significant because JPM chief executive has been especially bearish on cryptos in the past, even calling bitcoin “a fraud.” 

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Five fintech conferences in Q2 for hobnobbing with VCs

Five fintech conferences in Q2 for hobnobbing with VCs

Industry conferences can often be a great way to network with peers, catch up on the latest trends and –  if you’re startup seeking funding – hobnob with venture capital firms that may be looking to invest in the next big thing. But not all conferences are created equal; when you only have a few moments to give your elevator pitch you want to be in a setting where you can get in front of as many potential investors as possible.

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Guest Opinion: Jurassic Park in Housing

Guest Opinion: Jurassic Park in Housing

In the four years since Marc Andreessen cast his gaze on financial services and declared that “we can reinvent the entire thing,” unleashing torrents of unbundling narratives, the incumbent banks seem to be rediscovering their groove in residential housing, leveraging their span of customer engagement to develop a fintech-powered take on the age-old financial supermarket narrative.

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Guest Opinion: Blessed Are the Meek, for They Will Inherit Residential Housing

Guest Opinion: Blessed Are the Meek, for They Will Inherit Residential Housing

In the four years since Marc Andreessen cast his gaze on financial services and declared that “we can reinvent the entire thing,” unleashing torrents of unbundling narratives, the incumbent banks seem to be rediscovering their groove in residential housing, leveraging their span of customer engagement to develop a fintech-powered take on the age-old financial supermarket narrative.

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Guest Opinion: Financial Reporting Standards Can Foster Municipal Market Disruption

Guest Opinion: Financial Reporting Standards Can Foster Municipal Market Disruption

While fintech start-ups are disrupting many financial markets, the US municipal bond market has been largely left behind. As a result, the $3.9-trillion muni market remains largely inefficient, replete with frictions that reduce investor returns and raise costs for issuers. Higher costs for municipal bond issuers translate into a combination of higher taxes and reduced services, so minimizing issuance costs and constraining coupon rates is a matter of public interest, and should attract support throughout the political spectrum.

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Guest Opinion: Lending a Hand: Venture Capital Can Bring Growing Pains for Entrepreneurs

Guest Opinion: Lending a Hand: Venture Capital Can Bring Growing Pains for Entrepreneurs

Finding and securing a steady inflow of capital is the harbinger of uncertainty for many founders and start-ups. Whether it’s bootstrapping with whatever resources are available or securing seed financing, start-ups face the ever-present challenge of keeping the ship above water. For some, this eats away at productivity that could have been used somewhere else. For others, it’s a sure-fire sign that infighting could threaten the company’s lifespan.

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Guest Opinion: Retirement 2.0?

Guest Opinion: Retirement 2.0?

As the onslaught of dire warnings about the disappearing ability to retire continues to inundate the popular press and our inbox , it begs the questions: “Are the warnings justified?”; “Is this true?”; and if so, “Why?”  Have people simply become less responsible, or is there perhaps more to this than meets the eye? This sea change led me to take a look back to when the current crop of retirees entered the workforce, to understand what may have been different than for those who came before.

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Guest Opinion: A Global Macro View on Amazon HQ2

Guest Opinion: A Global Macro View on Amazon HQ2

Amazon has been getting a lot of free buzz lately.  The Seattle FANG has been holding a bake-off to see which city will host the company’s second headquarters, and towns have been falling over themselves to offer tax breaks and every benefit they can drum up.  Excitement has been building as cities have been eliminated, and now we’re down to twenty survivors.

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Guest Opinion: Financial Services Should Fully Embrace Deep Learning

Guest Opinion: Financial Services Should Fully Embrace Deep Learning

At first glance, deep learning has the hallmark hype of a technology trend that prudent institutions would do well to avoid. But beyond their celebrated successes in image recognition and translation, there are subtle and persuasive reasons for financial services organizations to deploy deep learning models, even if they haven’t used simpler machine learning methods before.

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Guest Opinion: Facebook and Asset Management: Where is the Love?

Guest Opinion: Facebook and Asset Management: Where is the Love?

Facebook has over two billion users: a following no other social media company has been able to achieve. Blackrock has over $6 trillion in assets: an amount no other asset manager has ever managed to best. If you search “Blackrock” on Facebook, however, you are likely to default to the “Blackrock Steakhouse” page, as Facebook search uses the number of fans to rank results.

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Guest Opinion: Mortgage Companies: Beware of Fintechs Bearing Gifts

Guest Opinion: Mortgage Companies: Beware of Fintechs Bearing Gifts

It’s 2018, and Quicken Loans, the consensus tech darling of major mortgage companies, has surpassed Wells Fargo to be the top originator during the preceding year.  In rapid succession, both Bank of America and Suntrust announced digital origination platforms.  Not to be outdone, LoanDepot debuted a $100mm HQ for its mello digital brand, complete with a 30-foot slide.

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Guest Opinion: A Case for Belief-Aligned Investment Advice

Guest Opinion: A Case for Belief-Aligned Investment Advice

[Disclaimer: This post is intended to support investor activism, irrespective of investors’ political preferences.] If recent world events are any indication, we should expect to see an increase in individual investors demanding that their investments reflect their beliefs; it’s their money, after all. The gap in today’s personal finance and investment advice space to service this demand presents an opportunity for all types of financial advisors

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