Business of Fintech

Tearsheet’s 2021 guide to Money 20/20

  • Money 20/20 is the industry's biggest and most influential event.
  • Here's what to look out for at this year's conference.

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Tearsheet’s 2021 guide to Money 20/20

Money is changing. Not just in the ways it is spent or appears, but in its nature, behavior, and how it interacts societally. Money 20/20 is an annual deep dive into this evolution, and in ways, a celebration of it, and it’s just around the corner.

The conference — scheduled to be held in Las Vegas from October 24th to 27th — provides financial services and fintech professionals a platform to discuss the contemporary money ecosystem, with in-depth analysis, expert sessions, and also space to network. 

**To that end, whether you’re headed out to Vegas or not, we’ve got you covered regarding what’s happening at Money 20/20. We’ll be there and we’re launching a pop-up newsletter to cover the important announcements, trends, and atmosphere of this important event. Subscribe here

With less than a week from the event, here are the exciting things on the agenda that we would keep an eye out for:

Crypto long and strong

Crypto seems to be a central theme this year, with close to 20 sessions dedicated to examining how far the industry has come, its growth over the last couple of years, and the opportunities and challenges ahead. 

Key topics to look out for include:

  • Areas of intersection between traditional and decentralized finance, and whether/how the two can coexist in a way that’s mutually beneficial
  • How banks can transition from dated core systems to offering digital assets and crypto services
  • Challenges surrounding the regulation of cryptocurrencies and the important role played by federal agencies  
  • The potential role of DeFi in financial inclusion and banking the global underbanked
  • The $100 billion stablecoin industry, and how the role of stablecoins such as USDC has evolved, with new use cases around cross-border payments, remittances, lending, and more
  • Barriers to widespread crypto access, and how to remove them to drive further adoption
  • Challenges around using cryptocurrencies as a mode of payment, and whether crypto can coexist with current payment methods
  • The potential risks associated with DeFi, including criminal activity, hacks, privacy and national security concerns
  • How central banks are collaborating with the private sector to develop CBDCs
  • The growth of NFTs, their role within finance, and their various use cases


The evolution of payments

The Digital Frontier: The Always Evolving Payments Ecosystem

  • When: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM, Sunday, October 24, 2021
  • Who: Robert Abrams, Director of Payments, Amazon; Lia Cao, Managing Director, J. P. Morgan; Cedric Bru, CEO, Taulia.

What’s going on?

From the days of hard cash to bank cards, and all the way to one-tap bank transfers, the payment ecosystem has evolved to play a role beyond just completing transactions. Today, payment systems increasingly help define key business functions, like customer acquisition and relationships, marketing and branding strategies. This session overviews this evolution, with in-depth analysis by experts in the industry. The questions this session seeks to answer is: What are the business priorities today that impact and define how we innovate payments? What direct and indirect functions are payments developing to serve? What does tomorrow look like?

The panel features Robert Abrams, who has lead global payments at Amazon for over 6 years. With his relevant experience and industry know-how, we expect him to be an informed and effective contributor to the topic. He shares the stage with Lia Cao, an MIT and McKinsey alumna, who has served J.P. Morgan for over a decade. Among her different roles at the bank, she served as the Global Head of Wholesale Payment Solutions. The third panelist is Cedric Bru, a financial services and software industry leader for over 2 decades. He worked at Visa and Hewlett-Packard before becoming the CEO at Taulia, a working capital solution provider.

Hurdles for more mainstream use of blockchain

Understanding the Challenges of Blockchain Innovation for U.S. Financial Services Regulators

  • When: 11:25 AM - 12:05 PM, Sunday, October 24, 2021
  • Who: Michelle Bond, CEO, Association for Digital Asset Markets; Irina Berkon, CFO and Board Member, Metal; Bao Nguyen, Partner, Skadden; Jason Brett, President, Key Bridge Associates (Moderator)

What’s going on?

Since the pandemic struck, cryptocurrencies have flourished globally. Intertwined with its popularity is more sophisticated world of DeFi, which attracted investors looking to make profits in a low-interest world. With the DeFi boom, however, came regulators, struggling to understand the new game with the rules of the old one. They created a battlefield where they stand on one side, and on the other, enthusiasts. As the world tries to figure out who controls what aspect of DeFi, how so, and how much, it is clear that decentralization comes with its own benefits, and, in some form, is here to stay.

The panel for this talk features Bao Nguyen and Michelle Bond. Bond has served as the global head of policy and regulatory affairs at two fintech firms, having previously served as an international counsel for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Nguyen is a partner at Skadden today but previously held top positions at the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Irina Berkon established First Blockchain Bank and Trust and is the CFO and board member at Metal, which enables users to buy, sell, and send crypto. The moderator, Jason Brett, is himself an ex-regulator at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and is a Board Member at the Wallstreet Blockchain Alliance. He is of the view that blockchain can profoundly change the world for the better. 

The maturation of fintech relationships with FIs

The paradigm of banks versus fintechs is dated. An increasing number of powerful, valuable, and important partnerships have been struck between incumbent firms and upstart financial technology companies. Getting these relationships right, though, is hard. Thankfully, there are more and more examples of what works and what doesn’t. Money 20/20 has a few sessions this year devoted to exploring the union between fintechs and financial incumbents. 

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated. The Banks & Fintechs Unlikely Union

  • When: 11:35 AM - 11:55 AM Monday, October 25 
  • Who: Ather Williams, Head of Strategy, Digital & Innovation, Wells Fargo; Robert Siegel, Lecturer in Management, Stanford University

So many people in financial services have said that the pandemic accelerated technology adoption.  How Americans interface with their money is increasingly done through financial ecosystems. Those interwoven relationships connect banks and fintechs -- each one contributing something that they’re particularly good at. This session breaks down how these relationships are formed and executive, how such different types of firms can come together to collaborate. Partnerships are powering convergence, as firms that started out as monoline products expand their products and services to better serve their customers. 

Ather Williams is the head of strategy, digital and innovation at Wells Fargo and is responsible for managing digital platform standards and capabilities, and managing innovation priorities, opportunities, and company-wide efforts to drive transformation. Robert Siegel, a lecturer in management at Stanford, teaches six courses including The Industrialist’s Dilemma, Systems Leadership, Financial Management for Entrepreneurs and Strategies of Effective Product Management. He’s also a venture investor

Fintech Banking: Banks and Fintechs Working Together to Win

  • When: 9:15 AM - 9:35 AM, Monday, October 25, 2021 
  • Who: Peter Hazlehurst, CEO and Co-founder, Synctera

Synctera is a new embedded banking platform, focused on both sides of the marketplace: connecting fintechs with the right partner banks and helping banks move into working with tech firms. The firm is founded by Peter Hazelhurst, who knows a thing or two about embedded finance. 

Prior to Synctera, Peter served as head of the Uber Money team, Senior Director of Product Management at Google and Chief Product Officer at Yodlee. Attend this session to hear Hazlehurst’s perspective on the idea of Fintech-as-a-Service, what it takes for fintechs to go to market, and how community banks can partner with fintechs to successfully build new lines of business.

Data & Analytics  

Data has always been at the core of any financial system. In the age of big data, banks and financial institutions are looking for ways to integrate the latest data management and AI tools into their business model to give them a competitive edge. Effective data manipulation can help understand a customer’s financial needs, provide tailored solutions and build loyalty. In an increasingly fragmented financial landscape, customers are drawn to more personalized experiences that integrate multiple aspects of their financial lives. This is where embedded fintech, data and AI converge to best serve the customer. 

However, a big deterrent in the world of big data has been privacy concerns and the lack of federal regulation. Many data privacy laws are created and enforced at state level, creating a regulatory minefield for any company that wants to tap into it. The financial industry, however, can benefit from data sharing and using AI in a privacy-conscious way to better their products and services. 

Here are the main panel discussions on this topic:

The Fintech View: Data & Analytics

  • When: 1:10 PM - 1:55 PM, Tuesday, October 26, 2021
  • Who: Shanker Ramamurthy, Global Managing Partner - Banking; President IBM Industry Academy, Global Business Services, IBM; Samantha Roady, COO at MoneyLion; Andrew Stucchio, VP, Global Pricing and Analytics at Discover Financial Services; J. Christopher Ward, EVP Data, Digital and Innovation, Treasury Management, PNC Bank; Carol Grunberg, Citi TTS, Global Head Strategic Partnerships and Innovation at Citi (moderator)

In this panel you will find Shanker Ramamurthy, a consultant, business executive and thought leader at the intersection of strategy, information technology and financial services. He will be speaking with MoneyLion’s COO Samantha Roady, previously at GAIN Capital operating multiple direct-to-consumer brands, and Andrew Stucchio who brings over fifteen years of experience in Strategy, Pricing, Operations and Analytics. They are also joined by Christopher Ward, who manages innovation of PNC’s treasury management solutions set. The panel is moderated by Carol Grunberg, who leads the Citi Innovation Labs and Innovation Catalysts globally, having previously driven innovative consumer experiences. 

Embedded FinTech: How the Best FIs Leverage Data and Enhance Customer Relationships

  • When:11:25 AM - 11:55 AM, Monday, October 25, 2021
  • Who: Ankit Bhatt, EVP and Chief Digital Officer, Consumer, US Bank; Martin Toha, CEO at Array, Cokie Hastiosis, Founder at Twali/Lasagna Technology (moderator)

The panel for this talk includes US Bank’s Ankit Bhatt, who focuses on delivering best in class digital experiences to customers. He was also named Digital Banker of the Year by American Banker in 2019. Bhatt is joined by Martin Toha, CEO of Array and an entrepreneur with over two decades of experience in using technology to create new markets and businesses, and moderator Cokie Hastiosis who brings solid experience in fintech. She was the Chief of Staff at The Block, founding team at Fintech Today and head of global Fintech research at BCG.

Five Data Privacy Predictions for 2022 and Beyond

  • When: 9:55 AM - 10:25 AM, Monday, October 25, 2021
  • Who: Riddhiman Das, CEO and Co-Founder of TripleBlind; Liz Harding, Privacy and Technology Licensing Attorney at Polsinelli; Sanjib Kalita, Co-Founder, CEO / Editor in Chief at Guppy/Money 20/20 (moderator)

In this panel you will find Riddhiman Das, who previously worked at Ant Financial, a financial services arm of the Alibaba Group, where he focused on investments in enabling technologies for Alipay worldwide. He was also a part of EyeVerify, where he helped develop and commercialize a software-only, biometric method for verifying the identity of mobile users. Das is joined by Liz Harding, a dual-qualified attorney specialized in data privacy, advertising and technology licensing matters. Sanjib Kalita, currently the CEO of Guppy, a startup democratizing credit data with blockchain technology, is moderating.

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