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The 2015 Fintech Finance 35: Alex Batlin, UBS

No. 28 Alex Batlin, UBS

Alex Batlin
Senior Innovation Manager

A 1998 computer science graduate of the University of Bristol, Alex Batlin is no stranger to advanced technology. While in school he experimented with neural networks and sound-detection systems for locating fighter planes. As senior innovation manager of UBS, running the bank’s FinTech Innovation Lab in London’s Level39 acceleration venue, the 38-year-old is pushing well beyond what was until very recently considered leading-edge. “A lot of the stuff I do is well understood, whether introducing mobility or big data to banking,” he says. “You know the rough size of the prize.” Now the subject is blockchain: “We’re not proving the concept. We’re defining the concept at this stage. If our hypothesis is correct, then blockchain could be pretty important and potentially have a wide-ranging impact on the way we do banking and finance.” Determined to prove that, Zurich-based UBS in February funded Batlin’s Crypto 2.0 Pathfinder program, which grew out of an innovation initiative launched four years ago, with teams in Switzerland, the U.K. and U.S. looking into emerging technologies, start-ups and their potential impact on the bank. A companywide innovation board, set up two years ago by chief information officer Oliver Bussmann to invite proposals from senior business and information technology executives, green-lighted Batlin’s idea to create a blockchain center of excellence. Batlin, who worked earlier in his career at J.P. Morgan & Co. and Nomura International and joined predecessor bank UBS Warburg in 2001, says the lab has demonstrated how a bond can be issued, and aspects of the transaction automated, using blockchain and a virtual currency. UBS has joined Barclays, Credit Suisse and other top banks in backing New York–based blockchain consortium R3CEV. It also put up $300,000 in prize money for a Future of Finance Challenge, a single-bank version of entrepreneur competitions like the New York FinTech Innovation Lab (see Maria Gotsch, No. 11).

The 2015 Fintech Finance 35

1. James Robinson III
& James Robinson IV
RRE Ventures
2. Jane Gladstone
Evercore Partners
3. Matthew Harris
Bain Capital Ventures
4. Steven McLaughlin
Financial Technology Partners
5. Jonathan Korngold
General Atlantic
6. Richard Garman &
Brad Bernstein
FTV Capital
7. Amy Nauiokas & Sean Park
Anthemis Group
8. Thomas Jessop
Goldman Sachs Group
9. Meyer (Micky) Malka
Ribbit Capital
10. Hans Morris
Nyca Partners
11. Maria Gotsch
Partnership Fund for New York City
12. Marc Andreessen
Andreessen Horowitz
13. Barry Silbert
Digital Currency Group
14. Jay Reinemann
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
15. Mariano Belinky
Santander InnoVentures
16. François Robinet
AXA Strategic Ventures
17. Vanessa Colella
Citi Ventures
18. Alan Freudenstein & Gregory Grimaldi
Credit Suisse
19. Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSena
SenaHill Partners
20. Rodger Voorhies
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
21. Michael Schlein
Accion International
22. Kenneth Marlin
Marlin & Associates
23. Rumi Morales
CME Ventures
24. Mark Beeston
Illuminate Financial Management
25. Vladislav Solodkiy
26. Fabian Vandenreydt
Innotribe SWIFT
27. Derek White
28. Alex Batlin
29. Jeffrey Greenberg
& Vincenzo
La Ruffa
Aquiline Capital Partners
30. P. Howard Edelstein
REDI Holdings
31. Nektarios Liolios
Startupbootcamp FinTech
32. Roy Bahat
Bloomberg Beta
33. Andrew McCormack
Valar Ventures
34. Lawrence Wintermeyer
Innovate Finance
35. Janos Barberis
FinTech Hong Kong

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