Your one-stop shop for embedded finance

Hello, and welcome to the Fintech Finance Virtual Arena.

Today, we’re going to be talking about how we can harness the power of embedded finance.

So, joining me today, I have Sean Ringsted from Chubb, Pablo Viguera from Belvo, and Hasan Nawaz from HUBUC. So, guys, thank you so much for joining me here today. Sean, could I get you to kick things off, and give a bit of an intro to our audience about your role at Chubb, please?

Sean Ringsted:  Thank you for that. I’m Sean Ringsted, I’m Chief Digital Officer for Chubb, and I have a particular emphasis and focus on how we get our products and services in the digital channel, which has been a lot of fun these days, as you can imagine.

Yeah, I mean, there’s so much that’s been going on recently in the digital world. Thank you so much for joining. And also, Pablo, thank you also for joining. Could you give us a bit of an introduction to yourself and Belvo, please?

Pablo Viguera:  Yeah, for sure, and thanks very much, Doug, for having us on the show today. I’m Pablo Viguera, I’m a Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Belvo. Belvo is the open finance API platform for Latam; so what that means is that we allow fintech innovators and developers to access and interpret their end users’ bank and financial data.

Absolutely brilliant. And last but not least, Hasan Nawaz, from HUBUC. Hasan, thank you so much for joining. Could you also give us a bit of background to yourself, and HUBUC, please?

Hasan Nawaz:  Yeah, sure. Thanks for having me on board, Doug. So my name’s Hasan, I’m the Co-Founder and CEO of HUBUC. HUBUC is a single API which enables any company or business to embed fintech features in their current product. So we focus on non-fintech B2B companies, mostly SaaS, and we help them enable the fintech features they want, we started with accounts and card issuing. So we are live in 58 countries right now, we can onboard customers over there, and issue debit and credit cards with Visa and Mastercard.

Absolutely amazing. Well, Hasan, if I could lead with you, then, into the discussion, I think it’s really important to lay the groundwork. For our audience that might not be aware, what does embedded finance mean to you?

Hasan Nawaz: It’s a… it’s a great question. So embedded finance… I mean, everybody has an opinion. So, in my personal opinion, it feels like, you know, the opportunity for any business to be able to enhance their customer experience, increase retention and monetisation, and that is by seamlessly packaging, you know, the fintech features or financial services features into their current core products. So that is, for me, what embedded finance looks like; it should be on demand and easy to access.

Yeah. I think that last part, the easy to access, to me, speaks very loudly. And Sean, do you agree with Hasan there? You know, is that a similar perception of embedded finance to you?

Sean Ringsted: Very much so, it was a great description. And I think it’s just so critical today, when you look at how the economy is working, and how sectors are developing into these digital ecosystems, and having the ability to do the transactional flow, you know, the financial transaction, in a seamless way, I think one is just critical – right? – it just makes everything work, you move the money around. But I think, more interestingly, what it does, it lays the foundation for you to layer on additional services. I mean, you can think of, say, credit as being made available to people, or other services, such as insurance, and so our ability to offer, at the right place, at the right time, insurance products in a way that is just seamless, and very contextual, all of that is enabled because the underlying plumbing, with the embedded finance, and the tech there to be able to make that happen, that’s what’s going to make it all work. So it’s… it’s very exciting.

That’s absolutely brilliant. And I guess one thing about embedded finance is, to me, the definition might have changed as that background plumbing might have changed, as well, the internal infrastructure. So, Pablo, I’d be really interested in your expertise in this… in this nature. How has the concept changed? You know, banking-as-a-service is still quite vogue, so is embedded finance just this next jump?

Pablo Viguera: Yeah, I mean, that’s a great question. And, I mean, I think what we’ve seen is that, you know, banking-as-a-service historically has been used by… you know, by challenger banks, or digital companies seeking to provide banking services, you know, and build that up from scratch in a very, kind of, modular way, without developing the core themselves. Right? But typically, or at least for the past, you know, five to ten years, the ultimate goal of these companies was – or is – to be a financial company. Right? So, you know, you can create a wallet off of banking-as-a-service, you can create a lending business off of banking-as-a-service. Right? What we’re seeing with embedded finance today is that, you know, it’s… and as Hasan was, you know, rightly pointing out, with HUBUC, you know, you’re not going after finance companies, you’re going after a much larger pie. Right? So that’s kind of what embedded finance is able to do. Right? So expand the size of the pie, and simplifying the experience. Right? If you’re looking for just one piece of the finance stack, whether a product or service, you can do that in embedded almost, you know, on a plug-and-play basis, whatever your business is. Right?

I think that cross-verticality is going to be so important to the success story of embedded finance. So I think, now that we’ve clarified what embedded finance is, and could potentially be, you know, I’d be really interested to see if you’d call it an organic development, you know, in the fintech industry, in various different industries, or as a niche, just pushed by just a small section of companies that are really grappling with the technology. So, Hasan, could I come to you with this, please? You know, do you agree with that? Or do you think it’s a bit more across the board, lots of people pushing it? Or do you think it really is this, just, small tech hub pushing it?

Hasan Nawaz: In the last four to five years, we saw, you know, startups becoming fintechs. You know? We saw all these examples, Revolut, and N26, and Chime, and, you know, all these startups which became fintechs, and then they became big. So it seems like there is this transition happening in the B2B space, where older businesses, who have big distribution channels, you know, and they have been servicing the industry for ten years in different verticals, you know, accounting, expense, all these B2B SaaS companies now are trying to come in, as well, over there. So we have all those players who’ve watched, like, the last four years, how this changed. So it was, like, the first wave of fintech. You know? The first time somebody building a digital bank, and then, you know, becoming a real bank, and, you know, starting lending and overdrafts. And now it seems like all these… the sleeping majority, I call them, you know, the B2B companies who have big distribution strategies and channels, and they are looking at it, like, “How can we enable it? So let’s take it to the next step.” So it seems like it’s getting organic, but I think there are two main features, very important ones, which are happening over there, which are the driving force. I think one is people are looking for retention; the other one is monetisation. Earlier, Sean talked a little bit about lending. So that is where, you know, you see big companies who want to monetise or open a revenue line, and they are trying to go into the lending space, getting credit-as-a-service on, or getting into credit cards. They were doing, you know, online… you know, 100,000… up to 100,000 credit small checks; now they are like, “What if I could give a credit line directly, and have the data, and see better underwriting?” And then you see, on the consumer side, of course, there are some companies who have bigger distributed channels. We saw with… you know, typically Uber is mentioned, but let’s look at a different company, like Shopify. Right? So they came in with a Balance account, so that was a debit card for business, you know, immediate pay-outs, and then suddenly we saw, you know, now they are adding Buy Now Pay Later. So that increases consumption from customers, immediate liquidity for the merchant. So that is that what companies I think look for; the better retention, so they tap into payments, and better monetisation through credit-as-a-service and lending.

Incredible. Well, I guess, with all those different industries that you mentioned, and all those different services, from lending, credit, I mean, we’re starting to see maybe an uptick in, kind of, public awareness around embedded finance. And Sean, I’d really be interested in your perspective on this. You know, we’ve seen, for instance, Uber’s success, ultimately from the fact that you don’t have to think about making a payment, it’s already embedded into the system. Do you think we’re going to start seeing this become way more known by the general public? And also, as a result, what’s this going to mean for the general public, going forward, you know, the customers that are using these services?

Sean Ringsted: Well, it’s interesting, I don’t know if it’s going to be more known by customers; I think it’s going to be expected. Right? It’s almost sort of an assumption that if I’m transacting, through an Uber, or Hasan mentioned Shopify, or you go to Amazon, you assume today that you can do everything with a few clicks – right? – whether it’s on your phone or on the computer, and you probably don’t appreciate all the things that are going on underneath. I think, you know, you may get some neat things, and you go, “Oh, I didn’t know I could do that,” when I think of, you know, what Hasan’s doing with HUBUC, and the QR code, and being able to pay very, very quickly through a QR code, that… you know, you go, “Wow, that’s really interesting.” But then what you layer on top of that, you now expect to see additional services coming in. And, you know, I agree with what Pablo said about opening up the size of the pie, and that’s what everybody is trying to do now, is to be able to offer additional services and products to their existing customers. And if you can’t… if you can’t do that today, then that becomes problematic. And, to me, I think that’s the point here. All of that is enabled underneath by the embedded finance type capabilities, but to me, that’s what’s the most visible to the customer.

Yeah, I mean, it’s almost putting in all that hard work, and it doesn’t get noticed because of how good it is, and that’s point of it.

Sean Ringsted:  That’s right.

So Pablo, I mean, as that part in the ecosystem, then, I’d love to hear your perspective on that. You know, working on connecting all this, and, ultimately, it’s just… you know, do you think… do you agree with Sean, that the customer ultimately doesn’t need to be aware of it?

Pablo Viguera: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, the true impact, and, you know, the true success of embedded finance is that, you know, customers, ultimately, you know, benefit without even noticing. Right? So they can get a credit card from an Uber, a Lyft, a Shopify, as they would typically get it from their bank, and it doesn’t matter who it is, kind of, interacting with them. So I think, you know… you know, what we’re also likely to see down the line… I mean, embedded finance has mostly focused, over the last few years, on kind of the debit, credit… kind of, you know, things related to payments, mostly, or related, to a certain extent, to the movement of money, in some shape or form. Down the line, what will also be critical, and probably even less visible to end users and consumers, is things that can be really packaged as a service. Right? So across the entire stack. So, basically, if you go… you know, if you take a bank, and you go all the way from what touches the customer, all the way to the core, so you have things like fraud management, like credit reporting, like… even licencing, for example, like being able to offer your own licence to someone else as a service, to be able to provide X, Y, Z product. Right? So I think, as embedded finance evolves, we will start seeing more and more of these APIs that provide these sorts of, like, you know, maybe more, you know, core elements of the banking stack.

Sean Ringsted:  You notice it when it doesn’t work. Right? The moment that you get asked to re-enter in a credit card number, that’s the moment you lose the interest of the customer, they go on to something else, “Oh, this is too difficult.” People are so wired now that it’s got to be one, two, three clicks, either to buy something, right, or to sign up for something. That’s when you notice it.

Yeah. It’s almost a thankless industry, by that token. You know? Hasan, do you agree with that?

Hasan Nawaz: Yeah, I mean, 100% agreed. I earlier mentioned I wanted to say something about B2C use case, you know, and a good example… of course, everybody talks about Uber, Shopify, and, you know, the big names which already everybody talks about, but Chubb is with insurance… so Tesla comes with insurance embedded with the car. You know? How cool is that? You don’t have to call up an insurance company and, like, “Hey, I need a car insurance…” No, Tesla is sending you. It’s one package. It’s like getting an iPhone, and you know that everything is working, and you don’t need to worry about it, so it’s coming with the car, the insurance is packed in, and, you know, it’s underwritten already. So it’s about… I think that is an interesting use case, what are the services the car. Another example, I think, I used to live in Berlin, some time ago, a couple of years ago, working for a company called Rocket Internet, and in Berlin we had DriveNow carsharing company from BMW, now it’s renamed to FreeNow, or something. And each car had a card in its glovebox, I don’t remember the name of the bank which was issuing those cards at that time, but every time the fuel will go down, you know, the driver will have to go to the gas station, and the message will show up in the car to say, “We’ll give you 20 minutes for free if you go and refill it for us.” So that is like somebody thought about, you know, integrating with the car software, have the card which is already used for that use case. So there are so many vendor pay-outs and vendor expenses, as well. It’s not only about consumer facing. You know? All these travel companies are doing virtual cards. I mean, Sean can probably shed some light on insurance pay-outs, reimbursements for claims. All that is also being automated by payment companies. But agreed with Pablo, as well. It’s not only about payments and cards; it’s about what is the next step. Right? So there is insurance, we’re already talking about it, there is lending also happening, overdrafts are happening, with N26, back in 2013 and ’14. So there is so much more. The question over here, I think, more importantly, is not just the use cases, but the question, or the problem, when a customer comes to us, for example, is about that B2B non-fintech company does not, you know, have experience with compliance and regulation, and all of these different steps which are very much needed to be able to offer that service. They don’t understand ledgers, and PEPs and sanctions, and KYCs and AMLs, and, you know, settlements, and all these things. So what they want is, “Actually, I just want the feature. Can you give it to me?” You know?

Yeah. You make a good point there, Hasan, and Sean, obviously, I’ve got to come to you, then, because of that. I mean… and before we move fully on to the B2B space that we’re going to be bringing up in a bit, I’d be really interested to hear your perspective, Sean, on how can insurers utilise embedded finance to remain at the beating heart of all these new apps, like, for instance… well, not an app, but Tesla, and stay at the heart of insurance, while offering that product.

Sean Ringsted: Right. Well, I mean, a couple of points from Hasan, I think it was a great perspective. I mean, first and foremost, insurance… we are… we are covering risk. Right? We’re risk bearing. And that’s the differentiating factor, I think, for insurers. Right? That takes expertise in the balance sheet. You know? We have a very strong balance sheet, highly rated. And it’s… and it’s a regulated industry. So you have to… you have to be thoughtful, as well, where and how you offer insurance. But expanding on Hasan’s point, I mean, it’s incredibly exciting where and how we can embed insurance into the transactional flow, and make it very relevant and contextual. So, I mean, Nubank’s a great example for us. You know, they have 30 million customers in Latin America, a fast-growing bank, and we’re partnered and we’re offering life insurance with literally three clicks in the app. And so you’re taking a product which you might think to be pretty complicated to buy, and involving a lot of paperwork, and it’s literally there in the app, with three questions. Or if I take Grab, which is, you know, I think, a very good example of a fast-growing tech company that’s going into other services and verticals, right, such as financial services, and food delivery, and so on and so on, but we’re able to put our insurance product straight into the transaction flow, so it’s… you know, we insure if the trip is late, and the passenger can say, “Yeah, do I want to buy this?” and it’s very much sitting there in the flow, yes/no, and, you know, away you go. So very fast transaction flow. And, you know, the final point I’d make on it, and Hasan’s right, you know, with the claims experience, that has to be… that’s our promise, at the end of the day, as insurers. Right? We’re going to be there to pay at that moment in need, and we need to make that financial transaction back to the customer, and make sure that that is as seamless and digitally integrated as much as the premium payments. So we’re very, very focused and aligned in terms of how to think about the claim payment.

Yeah. I mean, I think it’s one of those things that I’ve realised, through, you know, being in fintech over the last couple of years is there’s increasing… just you need expertise in that specific part of what you do, and I think even though embedded finance is going to open up everything, you still have those key players offering that core service, at the heart of what they do. Now, if we can move away from the B2C sector, and move more towards B2B, Pablo, could I ask, you know, we’re starting to see an increasing use of embedded finance when it comes to businesses looking after their own services, so for instance with remote working, we’re seeing that’s going to be a huge part of the 2020s. So how do you think embedded finances can help businesses streamline their operations, going forward?

Pablo Viguera:  Yeah, absolutely, Doug. I mean, you know, in terms of looking at… you know, there’s traditional ways in which, you know, expense management, online accounting, ERP has been able to solve for some critical use cases. I mean, for example, being able to… you know, if you’re, you know, a QuickBooks, or an online ERP platform, just being able to enable your clients to sync their bank accounts via a platform such as Plaid, in the US, you know, Tink, in Europe, Belvo, in Latam, that’s been something that’s, you know, kind of already been solved for, it’s one of the key elements of getting it to work. But moving forward, I mean, fundamentally, when it comes… and specifically on the… you know, on the remote working and expense management, I mean, that’s going to be a critical piece. Right? I don’t think, you know, there is yet to be anyone that’s kind of cracked that process. Right? In terms of, you know, issuing cards to employees, and having that, you know, reimbursement flow, you know, managed in a simple, efficient, and elegant way. So… I mean, absolutely, so being able to connect, like, the different layers through an embedded finance solution, whether that’s… you know, I mean, and there are some folks trying to do that in terms of, you know, they issue the card, and they provide the bank account, and then they provide the technology to scan receipts, and to do all the accounting, but there’s a big area of opportunity to connect all those dots together. Because, you know, there still isn’t a solution that’s kind of cracked all of that; and, more importantly, on a global scale. Right? So maybe you have these kind of local or regional plays where, you know, you can get the… you know, kind of those three experiences, you know, card issuing, bank account, and then receipt management, but obviously, you know, managing that from an accounting perspective in Brazil is very different to managing that in Japan or South Africa, and nowadays, and going forward, you know, the likelihood of having folks all over the place is much, much higher. Right?

Yeah. 100%. And Hasan, could I also get your perspective on that streamlining of operations and business, please?

Hasan Nawaz:  We are fully remote, so we are 22 people now, fully remote, almost all in European time zone, give or take three plus hours, minus hours, and we hire remotely, as well. So, you know, we are currently 13 nationalities in these 22 people, we take pride in that. But this comes with a cost of being able to hire all these people, in all these different countries, with their local contracts and local regulation, and we use a company called Let’s Deel, an amazing company, and what they have done is… like, we literally took a look at the market, like, there’s Remote, there’s Let’s Deel, and I think that’s pretty much it, and probably there is somebody else. But the experience is about… you know, you go to the website, it’s like, in five minutes, you get a call from the person, like, “How can we help?” and the next day we already have some contracts signed. They have all of the setup done, from the one panel, my accounts team is actually… they’re pulling the salary automatically from our account, we don’t have to worry about invoices going back and forth, and you see how, you know, immediately you have a global workforce, and they are all fully contracted with the right contracts, with the local terms, taxes, and everything, taken care of, and, on top of it, the payment and salary system is also working. Recently, I think they also announced – Alex announced – cards, as well, for the corporate expense, for all of your employees hiring with them. So you see, like, how that company is, like, you know, really going for the next vision of, like… you know, post COVID, most probably people will not come back to… or at least all of them will not come back to the way it used to work, and so this is very, very interesting, I think, use case.

I think that changing role is… you know, we’ve discussed it, obviously, in the insurance industry, as well, but also, as you’ve said, the way that people are going to just interact with work is going to change forever, and that model is completely different forever, I almost hope. But, Sean, as I said, we’ve discussed the changing role of insurers in the industry because of embedded finance, but I’d really like to come to you because of your work at Chubb, for instance, I think of Chubb Studio, and everything, all the work you’ve been doing on that, in terms of integrations, and opening insurance up in a box, really. Can you tell me a bit more about what embedded finance can actually do for insurers, going forward?

Sean Ringsted:  Well, I think that it’s an incredibly exciting future, when you look at trends that are taking place, you know, and what Pablo’s doing with open banking as a driver. And when you think, you go to Southeast Asia, as an example, there’s 400 million people in Southeast Asia, and I think only 100 million have full access to banking services. And I think embedded finance will open up a new cohort, and bring banking to those people. Right? Who couldn’t access or afford traditional banking. And as you open up those new pools, clearly, right, people, as they grow wealth, they need insurance products. Right? And you can think about it simply, whether it’s, you know, my stuff that you have, Doug, or your family, or my life, or my work, you want to be able to provide products that way. Or you can think about it more in terms of trends. Right? Both Pablo and Hasan have touched on the gig worker, and they have very unique needs that require insurance, and we can respond that way. Or you think about, say, healthcare, and with coming out of COVID, there’s clearly heightened awareness around health, but, interestingly, I think the digital tools to provide services have changed, as well; you think of telemedicine, and the ability now to access a doctor remotely, quickly, and cheaply, and being able to bundle all of that up. So whether you look at it individually, you know, my stuff, my life, or whether you look at these trends, fantastic opportunities for insurance. But we need to be able to ride alongside, if you will, embedded finance. So we’re very API friendly, and integrated, and that’s what we do through Chubb Studio, it’s our tech layer, and that allows us to pass on our products and services, through that API tech layer, to our partners, and ride the rails of embedded finance.

Incredible. Now, you’ve brought up several instances in Asia, and, sort of, some really exciting innovations that are coming about because of embedded finance. I think I’m going to ask everyone this question, but if I could lead with Pablo… I’d be interested to hear, Pablo, what region you think is taking the lead, when it comes to embedded finance. Because, you know, there are so many different, exciting perspectives, and, as Sean said, some really exciting ones over in Asia, but can I come to you first with this one, where you think you’re seeing the most innovation?

Pablo Viguera: Yeah, of course, I mean, and… you know, and we’re… from our vantage point, obviously, you know, working in Latam, you know, in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, where we’re seeing a lot of this, you know, from what we’re seeing, it’s anywhere from, you know, super-apps, you know, marketplaces, high-GMV, you know, e-commerce, things like selling cars online. And a good example of that is… so Sean was talking about Grab, in Southeast Asia, you know, there’s Rappi, in Latam, it started as a food delivery business, you know, now they’re doing… you know, they’re basically providing banking services, and they’re doing all of that through embedded finance solutions. Right? So, you know, I think what we’re seeing is… you know, it’s really exploding, and it really depends on how much room for growth there is in the region, when it comes to closing the gap, not only in fintech, but in financial services more broadly. Right? So, you know, what we’re seeing in Latam, and this is pretty applicable to other emerging markets, is to close the gap, versus… you know, penetration of financial products in general, versus, you know, Europe and North America, you know, is huge. Right? So, for example, in Latam, you know, credit card ownership is 20%. Right? Versus the US where it’s, like, 65-70%. You know? A region like Latam, you know, 500 fintechs were started last year alone. Right? So I think it… you know, the more… you know, the more opportunity there is to serve clients better, when it comes to financial services, the more room for growth. Right? So… and you look at some of these countries, like, you know, Latam is a prime example, you know, the financial services sector is concentrated in very few number of institutions. That’s hindered competition, that’s hindered innovation, and, you know, that hasn’t fostered financial inclusion. So the bigger the gap to close there, the more opportunity for, you know, folks coming in with embedded finance offerings, and serving clients, ultimately, better, faster, cheaper.

Interesting. Yeah, it’s hearing about how the lack of… well, moving on, in that industry, as a result, has created these opportunities. And Hasan, can I get your perspective, and where you think you’re seeing the most amount of innovation in embedded finance?

Hasan Nawaz:  I think there are two ways of going to market. So there is the banking-as-a-service part, which also sometimes, as we are doing embedded finance… I don’t think there is still an embedded finance platform, we are all at embedded banking still, and some are moving forward to embedded credit services, or lending partners, and insurance partners, try and, you know, broaden the scale of the feature set or capability of a platform. So the way we at HUBUC look at it is, like, for example, what is the key number which you look at if you are providing a service, is you look at… for example, we look at non-cash transactions. Right? So if you look at that metric, there were, in total, between Europe, US, and APAC, there were, like, around 750 to 800 billion transactions last year, and it’s growing around 8 or 9%. If you look at Latam, it’s very, very small; the number of transactions are 33 to 40 billion transactions – non-cash transactions. This means that the opportunity of building that first wave of fintech startups is huge in countries like the whole region of Latam. You know? That is why Pablo just mentioned the sheer amount of fintech startups joining there. But then the question over there is, once what we saw here… in Europe and the US, the last four years, we saw fintechs making that happen, and then the next wave happens of, you know, now Europe and the US is talking about embedded finance a lot, in APAC we also see that. But then there are some countries, like India, for example, and Africa… you know, an amazing amount of startups in Africa, as well, but they just went from, you know, nothing to, you know, the mobile phone directly. So they didn’t pass through the age of computers, and desktops, and, you know, the point of sale machines; they just went from nothing to QR codes directly, P2P. On top of it, they are embedding, you know, insurance, lending, and everything, and that’s a super-app, and they’re… you know, it’s just jumping the whole, you know, almost six to eight-year cycle. So it depends on where you see the market, and where you want to focus. So, for example, HUBUC focuses on non-fintech B2B companies. We are talking more about Europe, the US, and APAC. If you just compare APAC with Europe and the US, it’s more non-cash transactions than these two regions together. So it really depends on where is your go-to-market strategy, and who you are focusing as a customer.

Yeah. It’s interesting to hear, you know, almost just by not having the card schemes, and just going straight to digital payments, mobile payments, your embedded finance outlook is so much stronger. And Sean, I’d love to hear your perspective, from Chubb… just, you know, having that breadth of a view, your perspective on this question, please.

Sean Ringsted:  It’s a great question. I was reflecting on the question, and thinking… we’re a global company, it’s like being asked to pick your favourite child. I mean, I get really excited about opportunities in Latin America. Right? I completely agree with Pablo’s assessment in Latin America, but you go to Asia, and it’s just running so fast, what they’re doing, and Europe is really interesting, as is the US, as they start to look at, you know, sort of, open banking standards. So, I mean, I think where and how you’re going to see the growth is going to be very much a reflection of economic trends in those areas, it’s going to be where and how you close the gap, you know, where the need is the greatest. And we’ve mentioned, sort of, the unbanked, and Hasan described Africa and India as examples, and you’re clearly going to see the growth there, where you’re trying to close the gap. And, you know, just transcending it all is just how people and businesses work today, after COVID, and you can look at any number of surveys, people are not going to go back. You know? They’re used to doing everything online – right? – whether it’s the shopping, or sending mum the flowers, or booking travel, etc., it’s very much all online, so people aren’t going to go back that way. So you’ve got a number of real trends that are driving this, and sitting underneath all of that is embedded finance, so I think it’s an incredibly exciting future.

Amazing. Now, we are running out of time, guys, so I’m going to do a brief wrap-up here, and ask, really, to kind of conclude the session, Pablo, if I could come to you first, do you think embedded has had… it’s almost the internet moment… the email moment like the internet had? Do you think it's found its reason for being, and do you think COVID has been that?

Pablo Viguera:  Um. I’d say to a certain extent. You know, I definitely see that, you know, we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg. As we said earlier, right, so for this to really be, like, a massively adopted movement, you know, it’s something that’s, you know, five, ten years out, for sure. And, you know, commenting on something I mentioned at the beginning, right, so there’s a lot of layers that can provide further room for growth, you know, more at the core of, kind of, the banking stack, whether that’s credit scoring as a service, licencing as a service, via APIs, all of that. So yeah, that’s definitely something that’s going to be very exciting to see in the years to come.

Amazing. And Sean, do you think that… you know, is it kind of coming, in the next coming years, like Pablo said?

Sean Ringsted: Yeah, I do. I think it’s incredibly exciting. We’re just figuring out how to lay the rails. Right? And companies are figuring out how to use this. Regulators are figuring out how to manage this. And, as we navigate that, yeah, I think the opportunities, in terms of how we provide products and services, and allow businesses to increase their size of pie, is endless. So I’m incredibly optimistic about where and how insurance can play a role, and help that.

Amazing. Thank you very much. And Hasan, could I also get your perspective? You know, have we had that email moment yet, too?

Hasan Nawaz:  I mean, we are not even scratching the surface yet. I mean, we are not even at embedded finance. We are just at, you know, accounts, cards, and a couple of things. Not even in the debit space. You know? We are not even touching the B2B side of banking, let alone finance as an industry. It’s huge. You know? We have not gotten the next B2B bank which provides service to… you know, as Pablo mentioned earlier, expense management, but there is no… you know, that transaction volume for a B2B customer for a bank is very important. So I think we are just scratching the surface yet. I 100% agree with Sean, we are still… the regulator needs to adapt, the policies need to change a little bit, you know, at least refresh them up for this age, where things are digital. We are still doing, you know, CSVs and Excels on settlement with Visa and Mastercard, so they probably need to build their APIs, so probably the banks need to come out and use players which new core banking software on the cloud. So I think what is happening is that we are getting to that point which we saw in history… if we look at the technological stack changing, you know, I remember working in a datacentre, when I started as an engineer, and we had some servers and racks. Right? Now I don’t imagine anybody thinking of setting up a datacentre by themselves; I think they choose between GCP, Google Cloud, Azure, from Microsoft, or AWS, which powers 70% of the internet, “Which one of them should we use” and, you know, forget about the racks, and the servers, and the backups of those machines, and all that stuff.

Yeah.

Hasan Nawaz: So I think this is the point where it’s just looking at who’s going to, you know, build that software layer, and those datacentres, to build that real proper Amazon. And I think it’s not about competing against, you know, old school players, like, you know, the banks themselves. You know? We saw banking-as-a-service doing… buying licences, and trying to compete against the local bank which existed for hundreds of years. I think, 100% agreed, with Stripe Treasury coming out, validating HUBUC’s idea of being working with the banks who are the best at compliance and regulation, they know the market for hundreds of years, and aggregating them, and working with them. And that’s how you can scale fast, globally. Because the customer wants a product which works everywhere. Right?

Yeah.

Hasan Nawaz: So you want to pay, and be able to pay everywhere, not just in your home.

Exactly, and I think that ubiquity, it really describes embedded finance and its ultimate statement. So, Hasan, thank you very much for that, and guys, as well, thank you so much for your input. So thank you very much, guys, and goodbye.


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