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November 14, 2016
Ecosystems designed to bridge the culture gap
between established financial institutions and technology
start-ups and encourage investments in the latter are so
commonplace today that more than 30 of them have come together
in the Global FinTech Hubs Federation, which SWIFTs
Fabian Vandenreydt and Innovate Finances
Lawrence Wintermeyer (No. 28) launched in August. Back in
2009 before fintech became a sound bite,
Vandenreydt notes there was only Innotribe, an
initiative of the Belgium-based SWIFT bank messaging
cooperative intended to promote innovation among its membership
and by extension throughout the financial services world. A
former Euroclear vice president and Capco consultant who joined
SWIFT in 2004, Vandenreydt was present at the creation of
Innotribe and has been its head since 2013, overseeing, among
other activities, an annual competition for start-ups that
stages preliminary events beyond the normal hubs,
he says, in places like Mexico City and Cape Town, South
Africa. This years Innotribe Start-up Challenge winners,
crowned during SWIFTs Sibos convention in Geneva in
September, were U.K. companies Coin Sciences and RISE Financial
Technologies, and San Franciscobased SmartContract. All
are working on blockchain, or distributed ledger, systems,
which in Vandenreydts view will evolve in certain
pockets of the market. It is not ready, though, for broad
adoption across the industry. The 51-year-old wears other
hats: He is global head of securities markets; head of the
SWIFT Institute, which has commissioned academic research on
such topics as blockchain, payment innovations, and open
application programming interfaces in banking; and is executive
co-sponsor of SWIFTs own R&D. The common thread is
ecosystem enabling, Vandenreydt explains: I
want to weave innovation in with the business. You have to be
agile in the way you respond to market opportunities. Otherwise
its a hobby.
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