In FinTech and FI collaborations, borders fall to bits and bytes.
On FinTech collaboration writ large, Singapore and Dubai are working together to encourage strides in digital payments and commerce done by mobile means.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have signed onto efforts “that provide a framework for cooperation and referrals between the innovation teams of each authority.” The goal is to deliver financial services through emerging technology, said the entities.
As noted earlier this week, a range of projects will span digital payments offerings, as well as blockchain and Big Data initiatives. Those two countries, having signed a memorandum of understanding a decade ago, are part of the Global Financial Innovation Network, which embraces a dozen financial regulators and countries.
In other far-flung initiatives, as we recounted in this space earlier this month, Mexico is eyeing efforts to boost financial inclusion, where one-third of adults in that country have bank accounts. And in further illustration, entrenched players such as Stripe and Visa have invested $8 million in Paystack, a Nigerian firm. Paystack enables developers to create payment tools via its APIs and connects multiple payment processors, in turn transactions for merchants and consumers.
APIs: Making Inroads
It is no secret that as banks and FinTechs band together, seamless integrations of product and processes become paramount. To that end, small business accounting software provider Xero is readying for the collaborations between FinTech upstarts and more traditional financial institutions, having launched an open banking API – which, according to The Australian Financial Review, is aimed at helping to streamline those efforts.
In reference to just how streamlined integration may, in fact, become, reports said that integration times that could conceivably stretch to two weeks can be truncated to as short as two days.
In what Ben Styles, Xero’s financial services product general manager, said would “take the shackles off our banking partners,” the partners “can not only connect our API to invoice solutions or pay bills, they can create new feeds required around bank accounts, and it lets the banks work to provide what their customers are asking for.”
There are 180 partnerships in place already, said Xero, with a roster that includes Barclays and National Australia Bank. The latest move follows a July announcement when Xero announced an integration into BBVA Compass accounts. Xero is seeking to integrate with second- and third-tier banks.
New Offerings in Wealth Management
In the wealth management space, integrations abound, as Financial Planning reported this past week that Charles Schwab has said it will boost investment in building out third-party integrations. The site noted that advisors will gain access to more technology choices rather than just relying on a custodian’s proprietary tech platform.
Amid that expanded level of choice, as noted in the publication, “We definitely recognize as the business has grown, the ecosystem of vendors supporting advisors has grown as well, creating a wealth of options available to advisors,” Andrew Salesky, senior vice president of Schwab’s Digital Advisor Solutions, was quoted as saying. Schwab has integrations in place with 50 firms.
Against that backdrop, the move is one toward new account openings that take minutes rather than days. Schwab has linked with Orion to debut a digital account opening tool. The API has been developed by the two firms, with, as various financial media have reported, an average client brokerage or retirement account opening taking seven minutes.
A bit of process was explained in Wealth Management, where the new management tool was described as working with client data that is already in Orion, and moving it to Schwab’s system. The adviser can select one of the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and upload documents for signoff.