big-ideasBy Scott Stewart
Over the past few years, there has been an explosion in investment in FinTech companies and partnerships. At the same time, there has been a sea change in the environment for the financial industry in Washington DC and even around the globe. Financial firms face significant pressure from policymakers on almost a new issue daily.

With all of this rapidly-advancing change and questions about whether current regulations can meet changing consumer and technology demands, there is news of a new FinTech-related coalition, trade association or organization nearly every week. And on the backdrop of all this, there are voices in the technology community claiming they will disintermediate the financial services firms out of existence, while still claiming not to be in the “financial industry.”

This bowl of spaghetti is the reason FSR is launching a new program—the FSR Tech Collaborators Program. With all of the other coalitions, programs, and other efforts going on, who needs FSR Tech Collaborators?

We all do because as Ajay Banga, CEO of MasterCard recently said, “Sometimes the best ideas come about when people with different perspectives and experience engage in new ways.”

We believe that such collaborative efforts will have a positive effect on our industries, the consumers we serve and on society.

FSR Tech Collaborators connects large financial services firms with interesting technology companies on two fronts:

Collaborative projects – From the cloud to wearables and distributed ledger to the internet of things, technology is transforming business and the lives of customers today. Financial services firms and technology companies have a lot to gain via competition and cooperation. By collaboratively designing principles and best practices on these topics as they relate to FinTech, we can maximize the potential of our customers and our industries. The financial institutions FSR represents puts us in a unique position to lead this kind of collaboration in a business-model agnostic fashion. That’s why there are 20 early-adopter technology companies, in addition to FSR members, participating in the Collaborators program.

The FinTech Ideas Festival – Our cooperative effort is more than just working through the problems of today, it is about envisioning the solutions of tomorrow. The FinTech Ideas Festival will bring together the world’s leaders in both technology and finance, at the CEO-level, scoping out the long-term future. Topics will include financial inclusion, tomorrow’s workforce, big data and the internet of things, artificial intelligence and machine learning. FSR, as a CEO organization for the largest financial institutions, is in a unique position to lead this kind of forum, in partnership with TechNet. The leaders we gather will walk away from the Ideas Festival with new connections, new ideas, and new partners.

Providing these kinds of forums is a critical need currently waiting to be filled.  This unique partnership harnesses the strengths of both industries to the benefit of our companies and our consumers. While the projects currently underway are just the beginning, we foresee many more collaborative projects, many more FinTech Ideas Festivals and many more opportunities to help make the world a better place.

Scott Stewart leads the Tech Collaborators Program for FSR.