The Financial Market is Changing. Time for some New Thinking.

We look at the I-FIHN management consulting company in Paris and ask, has their time come, to seize the initiative in their core financial markets?

It’s a mistake easily made, that any conversation with a French company will be philosophical, psychological almost. It’s not like they haven’t had enough practice. I can’t think of any time since Voltaire, where the impression has not been one of internal ennui.

And consulting companies generally, either continue this trend and deliver reports but no deliverables; or they focus on the cart of technology, rather than the horse of actual business need.

“Hey, we are the best in the world at blockchain!”… Well, that’s wonderful.

Yet at a time when all financial and business leaders recognise that 2019 will demand considerable innovation in how we develop our businesses, not just pure tech competence – now is the time for new players to come to the front, with a new focus on a different mix of delivering what you and I know we need.

But that still leaves the question of “what” constitutes “original thinking”. The risk of compliance and legislated focus of financials, still requires adherence to a set of rules, and competence in what business is all about. Sure, technology is important – but that starting point remains the balance of where do we want to take our business matched by – the deep understanding of the financial business in which our service providers are involved.

And whilst London has always been, and continues to be seen as, the leader in financial innovation – so that has not stopped newcomers from taking the lead, from other areas. And yet these are not newcomers. It its just that they have been below the radar – until now. It is similar to the sudden superstar actress, who has been treading the provincial boards for so long, now landing the key movies role. Suddenly, with their own unique and business approach – their time has come.

The I-FIHN Consulting company based in Paris, typifies the new approach – sure, they talk about their expertise and their competences, all within a deep understanding of financial practice – but it not until page eight of their Brochure, that you finally understand that this is no technology company; this is advisory and innovation based on human face to face values, covering a wide variety of international experience.

The benefit of this approach is that it takes financial transformation into new areas of “what could be possible” – rather than play safe within the trusted hallowed of your own organisation.

It is an important differentiation.

I talked with Ladan Haghighi, Head of Advisory Practice at I-FIHN – she told me: “the multinational experience that we all have, is now coming into fruit, in the different ways each of our Team view a client situation”.

We expect to see more of this approach and this company in the future.

The I-Fihn company can be contacted at their Paris office on +33768481502.

The Future of Finance 2019

We look at changes that need to happen in 2019, if Financial Service providers can actually “provide” what you and I want.

The upcoming Future of Finance conference at Hurlingham London in a few weeks, is a landmark – a pointer in the sand if you will, a meeting place where key decision makers in the financial industry can meet to discuss well, where is their market going, and by implication, where are they themselves going?

There is a suspicion that actually, they are not going anywhere. This is reasonable or understandable. It is far easier to paper over the cracks, and this is seen in the way such organisations create “transformation teams”, but still retain the same people and attitudes;  change people’s job titles, play musical chairs with executives, or focus on costs savings – but still carrying the same methodology and still looking at costs instead of looking at efficiency. The two are not the same.

Yet there are two areas that can make a difference, and they simply require a cool look at how you and I behave. In particular; how do we prefer to access our financial info; and what sort of info do we want to have. 

Key vertical market in this, is the rise of the self-service private client – the guy who has savings but where the return on investment is nothing when compared to actual portfolio investment. Surely there are now sophisticated tools that can algorithm all this stuff for the man in the street? Indeed there are. The Tetralog company in Munich (as an example) focus on this sort of Robo Advisory that still retains the use of the face to face Advisor – but gives the client the info in a way he can understand and monitor, automatically. There is nothing worse than seeing graphically how your savings otherwise  are gradually deteriorating over time.

Equally important, is the tangential thinking that wakes up to the fact that, with mobile technology, we are all different now. The irony is that this is not a tech discussion, but a business discussion, by people who may not necessarily be financial – but who can spot how people want to work in the future. Richard Copland, formerly CGI Logica and now Partner at The Futureshapers told me; “ executives no longer have time to take a pause or have the courage to throw out legacy solutions, or legacy ideas”.

But throw things out, they must. And this includes being very open to new ways of doing things. 

We expect the winners in 2019 to be those organisations who are prepared to back their hunches, and the losers? Well, they will be the ones who carry on as before.

Financials are changing. Is 2019 the Year of Wake Up?

As more and more high street stores close, what does it take for us to realise that our entire financial landscape is changing?

The man sits opposite me in one of Edinburgh’s posh hotels. He is CDO of one of Scotland’s. main finance tech  companies,  and says; “You know, Richard – young people – our Millenials – won’t go to brokers any more, as you and I might have done. Their app on their phone will do their search and recommending for them – and it will be more intuitive and better informed, than any independent adviser that you care to meet”

I am in Geneva and my colleague leans across; he is CEO of one of Switzerland’s main Consulting houses – and  almost conspiratorially he says; “Our Generation Z have no material aspirations or rather, do not see value in actually acquiring the objects of desire that has driven consumer manufacturing for so long.  Aspirational values will be what their peers think of what they do or how they do it – rather than the expensive object that their parents could have chosen.”

These two statements are either damaging – or opportunistic. It depends on how you want to see them. One of the reasons for the decline in our retail environment, is that said retailers have not woken up to the fact that their market has changed.  People are still spending money. They just don’t spend it on the same things as before, or rather, they do – but in a different way. 

But it goes deeper than that. It is a change in how our future generations see life, where you do not have to own a car to be able to “enjoy” driving  a car; where simply being able to “be” at a cool place, wherever that might be – is more important than your ability to fly biz class or your upgraded loyalty points.

Current forecasts are that we will all be eating out more, but what that means is that we will order in our food, and eat at home rather than actually “go” to a restaurant. dinner will be prepared on some industrial estate and wizzed to us by a guy on a bike.  I can’t think of anything more horrifying, but here I am at family dinner when my son wants to eat Italian and my daughter wants to have vegan and I want Chinese. 

Maybe it is time to stop crying over the demise of the High Street – and start to welcome the changes that can revolutionise our high street experience.  Because the one thing that is staying the same, is social contact. People are once again appreciating that actually getting together, is far better than purely relying on our social media giants for proper communication.  So maybe life is now a compromise of all  things hybrid. Because,  after all – even if we eat different food – we have to eat it somewhere, and we will get our mortgage and buy our shares etc, from the nice lady hologram  on our mobile phone as we eat.

Is it OK to Talk to Each Other?


We look at the growth of interest in IQPC Exchange business networking and ask – after years of not talking to anybody, is it now Ok for our corporate leaders to engage with actual people? We report from back from the Chief Data Officer event a few days ago in London.


Absolutely it is. The problem has always been one of habit and even avoidance. Those of you who make corporate decisions have become immune to the deluge of unsolicited emails, and it had bred a culture of avoidance rather than working together.


Yet after decades of difficulty in getting traction, the reality of life has hit home and corporates are now waking up to the fact that talking with people, sharing ideas, saves making mistakes, following wrong paths, and getting faster where you want to be. In short – things have changed.
This is not the first time that the IQPC company have been spreading this gospel; their Exchange programme of events has been running for several years. But our recent visit to the Hurlingham Club and the Chief Data Officer conference for financials – was the first time we have noticed that leading decision makers are not afraid to interact. It is an important milestone.


The Exchange format focuses on a simple reality that bringing people together – vendors with corporates – decision makers with influencers – enables a sharing of experience. It allows corporates to focus on vendors who have something beneficial to say; and it gives vendors a platform to say “hey, we may have something that can help you!”
But that in itself is nothing new. The IQPC secret sauce is the understanding that the location of an Exchange venue, has to have sufficient private areas, gardens where people can take time out, multiple coffee spaces – that can facilitate naturally the sort of intuitive discussion that business leaders need for private communication.


In the three hours that we spent at the CDO event – we had insightful discussions with over a dozen high level directors, vendors and corporates, from all parts of UK and Europe.


For Exchange to work, there has to be a willingness on all sides to want it to work, and the apparent informality belies the work that goes on and preparation from all participants, to share knowledge. But the benefits are clear. We expect to see more of these events in the future.

The Future Shapers. Protecting Your Assets

Information per se is not important. What drives our world, is access to the right information. We interview TheFutureShapers Director, Richard Copland about the growth and need for relevant information in our business.

We have some strange ideas about ownership. You wouldn’t ever consider walking into a supermarket, pick up a bar of chocolate, eat said chocolate, and only pay the girl at the till if you happen to like the chocolate. You would never go to a football game and only pay for the ticket if your team win.

Then again, if you listen to some music and want to buy that song – you wouldn’t think twice about giving some of that price to the composer and artist, would you. Or maybe you would? Yet the storms that greeted the music industry in its protection of musicians rights and copyright, are as of nothing, to the market that is open to the protection of yours and my IP whenever we create and publish a good idea, a new piece of code.

TheFutureShapers publishes relevant and highly insightful Articles, about key markets and industries where technology will make a difference. As an impartial and disinterested hub of knowledge, Futureshapers looks to publish the insight that others miss.

Yet in many ways, TheFutureShapers has transformed from being a high level crystal ball with far sighted reach – to an organisation that has stumbled on a genuine market need that will make it and its investors a fortune. The knowledge that it disseminates, itself has a value greater than merely the access to it, and the people who have created such knowledge should be rewarded.

The Ethereum Smart Contract technology is a blockchain based solution that manages the IP of the ideas and technologies that you create. It gives you ownership and therefore a value, for the work you have put in, the thought processes that you have developed over time.

Like all good ideas, its simplicity has the same financial needs to come to market, as any Start Up. Enlisting the support of you and I to invest financially, fits the modus operandi of being a solution to cater for all.

So far via Crowdcube, the company has raised nearly £50k. Target is £200,000. This puts the company in the public domain as far as proper visibility is concerned.

TheFutureShapers can be viewed by linking direct into the Crowdcube website; https:// http://www.crowdcube.com/companies/the-future-shapers/pitches/qay2mq

AND NOW FOR THE RUSH OF PUBLIC SCRUTINY…

The recent Presentation from John Keyes at the DAMA event #LifeWithGDPR2018 – drew a lot of attention.

We are going to publish the key points in brief – but what is becoming crucial for companies, is to have a rapid and foolproof and automated way – to deal with the requests for private information that are going to flood to all of our corporates that deal with the public.

Recently  launched, is  a relevant solution called ALTADA – http://www.altada.com – which is an eloquent and seamless way to deal with this issue. Please see their website. But here are the key points…

And remember, we haven’t even gone two months yet since GDPR first came into play.

* 169% increase in Weekly “Breach Notifications” since May 25th. Up from Avg 54 per week in 2017, to 145 per week in 4 weeks from May 25th

* 54% increase in weekly “Complaints and Enquiries”

* Upcoming E-Privacy regulation – Direct Marketing will require “consent”. The current perception that some companies have that they may use “Legitimate Interest” as the legal basis for Direct Marketing is unfounded.

* Article 6: “Legal Basis”
The 1st question the DPC ask when a concern is raised: “What is/was the legal basis for processing”

* Article 12: Transparency.
“I havn’t seen a Data Privacy Notice that complies with Article 12 yet”

It will be interesting to see how these stats pan out over the year – It would be great if John and the DPC could publish them regularly on their website….

IF A.I. IS SO IMPORTANT… CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN WHAT IT WILL ACTUALLY DO?

We look at some examples of the  new focus in healthcare and ask; really?

The recent announcement of the upcoming HIMSS Impact 2018| Leading Digital Transformation and Big Data in Medicine – conference in Berlin later this year, coincides with an announcement in the uk from the Government, that it is now investing zillions into “AI”, to combat various troublesome diseases.

In theory,  and indeed in reality, a new focus on a different way of  handling patient information, will save time, not necessarily save money, but enable our services to do lots more. And it comes about because there are just too many people, needing too many services. And as one clinical director told me; ‘we can hardly put a new clinic in the hospital car park..”

But  at a time when most Hospitals are still coming to terms about moving from Windows XP, there are three major stumbling blocks, and it is important to spell these out before we all get too excited.

First – if the UK Gov attempts to roll out this Finance in the same way as it has done for previous bjg deals, let’s say such as COGDE or Scan 4 Safety, etc.. then nothing much new will happen at all. Those hospitals that did take up either of the above, have largely  spent money on things they were already doing – so it just became a way of getting finance but not improvement; or they embark on a lengthy process of milestones that alas could have been done cheaper and faster with existing tech in the private sector. 

The result is that those Hospitals that did not make the cut, so to say, have become confused, and do nothing, as opposed to at least try to do “something”. What we have found is that if the management of a hospital wants to advance its healthcare performance, it will do so, regardless of Gov announcements.

Second – AI is not a Hospital process, but a Community process. This means that the data from a patient does not require said patient to come to a clinic or be seen by anybody in a place called a hospital. The data is patient driven and comes from his/her smartphone, his Apple Watch, her Fitbit, etc – without anybody doing anything much. In other words, AI in health is consumer driven,   and there are already plenty of Apps that harness very specialist health data from each and everyone of us, that can already be viewed by our GP or Hospital. The secret to AI health is by increasing patient engagement.

But finally – we need to understand what all this will do to our actual lives. What AI means, is that our diabetes, our heart, our fitness, can be monitored remotely – and we ourselves will take greater ownership of our lifestyle. 

This means that conventional financial models of where money comes from and for what – have to change. The focus will be empowering the community, and paying hospitals to monitor that – rather than get paid only when we physically make a visit.

Because if this does not happen, then health provision will move to pharmacies, etc, who will provide this monitoring for us – and we will pay them money to do so, because it will be immediate and in real time – instead of waiting to see our local GP or clinic appointment.

Which in turn will distance us from the very organisations we already pay money to, to look after us.

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