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Coffee houses to cyber markets – Innovation and disintermediation in financial services

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t replace one of the largest US Banks… I say that with all humility”

Mike Cagney (CEO of SoFi)

Fintech aims at providing people and businesses with financial services through cutting-edge software and digital technology. SoFi is a fintech platform specialising in personal loans. Thanks to a well-defined strategy and an online membership model, they have raised more than $1bn in equity capital and made more than $19bn worth of loans in the US. While the company is not without its own set of potential problems, their success is considered a beacon for entrepreneurs looking to disrupt an old world of relationship-banking, flawed by high transaction costs and information asymmetries. Today, ‘challenger banks’, web platforms and software start-ups directly compete with incumbents in most areas of the financial sector to sell financial services and solutions to customers. Due to regulatory constraints and unwieldily organisational structures, corporate banks and insurance companies are struggling to keep up with fintech startups when it comes to speed and agility. In a space where  technology is fluid and uncertain, new entrants understand  everything from money transfers, lending and investing to payments must integrate seamlessly in the lives of tech-savvy, sophisticated customers. Join an expert panel for the final in our Next Practice Series 2016/17 to discuss the opportunities afforded by financial technology, and to explore how new skills, platforms and architectures could potentially lead to a wave of disintermediation within the financial services sector.

Host: Professor Michael Huth (Professor of Computer Science, Director of Research in Department of ComputingSecurity Research Group)


Matthew Bradley (Investor, Forward Partners)

Robert Benson (Arete Investments, Imperial Alumnus ’92)

Oliver Harris (FinTech & In-Residence Lead, JP Morgan)

Erica Young (Director, Anthemis)

Andrei Kirilenko, (Director of the Centre for Global Finance and Technology, Brevan Howard Centre)

About Next Practice

Next Practice is the flagship event series hosted by Imperial Enterprise Lab. Beyond present day ‘best practice’, we look ahead at how cutting-edge technologies, burgeoning consumer trends and business model innovation is disrupting the status quo. Next Practice events take place on the last Wednesday of each month between January and June, covering a range of enterprise-related topics, which are co-created with students, industry and academic experts.

–      Expert panelists speak for 5-10 minutes, followed by audience Q&A as well as drinks and networking.

–      Events are chaired by different members of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship faculty.

–      Invited guests are limited to 120 people, comprising a mix of students, practitioners and alumni.

Owing to the interactive nature of the event series, we use mentimeter to promote audience engagement. These events will be filmed.

Next Practice 2017 Event Series:

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Successful Entrepreneurs: Grand visionaries or piecemeal tacticians?

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Disrupting the service economy: The role of service design

Monday 20 March 2017 (Enterprise Week)

Start-ups at Scale: The ‘exciting nightmare’ of managing high-growth businesses

Wednesday 22 April 2017

Data-driven entrepreneurship: Unleashing the disruptive power of advanced analytics

Wednesday 31 May 2017

The Death of Distance? Leveraging the power of innovation ecosystems

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Coffee house to cyber markets: Innovation and disintermediation in financial services