Podcast 226: Steve McLaughlin of FT Partners

The fuel that has fired the fintech boom over the past decade or so is capital. Whether it is a venture capital funding round, an IPO or an acquisition capital is at the center of it all. And there is one investment bank that has been at the center of many of the most important deals we have seen.

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Steve McLaughlin, the CEO and founder of FT Partners. They are a boutique investment bank that has been focused exclusively on the fintech space since 2002. Steve has become something of a legend in this time as his company is the go to source for capital raising of many of the biggest success stories in fintech.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The opportunity that Steve saw that led to the founding of FT Partners.
  • Why fintech is actually hard to cover for big investment banks.
  • The geographic footprint of FT Partners.
  • What goes into their detailed research reports.
  • How Steve views the big tech companies and their future in fintech.
  • How fintech is becoming an embedded financial service.
  • What Steve thinks about the future of the digital banking space.
  • Why we are seeing a bifurcation in valuations in the private and public markets.
  • How Steve advises fintech company CEOs on valuation.
  • What impact, if any, Softbank has had on fintech funding.
  • Where future fintech M&A activity will come from.
  • What Steve is most excited about for the future of fintech.

This episode of the Lend Academy Podcast is sponsored by LendIt Fintech USA 2020, the world’s largest fintech event dedicated to lending and digital banking.

Download a PDF of the transcription of Podcast 226 – Steve McLaughlin.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION SESSION NO. 226 –  STEVE MCLAUGHLIN

Welcome to the Lend Academy Podcast, Episode No. 226, this is your host, Peter Renton, Founder of Lend Academy and Co-Founder of the LendIt Fintech Conference.

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Today’s episode is sponsored by LendIt Fintech USA, the world’s largest fintech event dedicated to lending and digital banking. It’s happening on May 13th and 14th, 2020, at the Javits Center in New York. Lending and banking are converging and LendIt Fintech immerses you in the most important trends of the day. Meet the people who matter, learn from the experts and get business done. LendIt Fintech, lending and banking connected. Go to lendit.com/usa to register.

Peter Renton: Today on the show, we have a special guest, someone who I would even say has become a bit of a legend in the fintech space. I’m delighted to welcome Steve McLaughlin, he is the Founder and CEO of FTPartners. Now, FTPartners is a boutique investment bank focused exclusively on the fintech space and it’s been around since 2002, so Steve was really thinking about fintech before any of us, pretty much.

I wanted to get Steve on the show, obviously, they’re in many of the big deals that happened in fintech facilitated by FTPartners so he’s got an incredible perspective on the industry. I want to talk about that, talk about the trends that he’s seeing, we talk about the research reports that come out on a regular basis from FTPartners. We talk about valuation and the sort of the different ways that the private markets and public markets look at that; we talk about SoftBank, we talk about M&A and much more. It was a fascinating interview, I hope you enjoy the show.

Welcome to the podcast, Steve!

Steve McLaughlin: Thanks for having me on, Peter. Looking forward to it.

Peter: My pleasure. Okay, so I would like to get this thing started is by giving the listeners some background. I know you’ve been doing FTPartners for many, many years, but just take us back to what you did before you started that and what you’ve done in your career to date.

Steve: Sure, I started at Goldman Sachs initially as a Summer Associate in 1994 then started full time in 1995 in New York City in Goldman’s Financial Institutions Group. This was, I guess, back when it was pre-public so a private company run by 118 partners at that time, but I got put into the Financial Services Group and that was 1995, during the pretty big boom in M&A and capital raising for our bank’s insurance company as brokers, asset managers. It was pretty much the busiest shop on the planet for all that kind of stuff, but as you can imagine, given it was 1995, we also saw the beginnings of everything around the Internet creeping into financial services.

So there was anything you could think of, dot com and financial services, mortgage.com, buying.com, insurance.com and bank.com, and banknet, you name it. That was kind of the company is in, so that’s what I started to focus on. It was an area of the world that mostly undiscovered because most of the companies had no….very low revenues back in the day, but that was back when we started seeing these first signs of Charles Schwab going online and saturating E-Trade and Meritrade and so on and so forth and all those stock exchanges getting electronified and digitized.

And so, I was in the middle of all that and was really one of the only people at Goldman buying loan on the street, focused on that area of fintech and that became 100% of what I was doing. I was either buying, or co-writing the fintech group toward the end of my tenure there before leaving in 2002 to start FTPartners.

Peter: Okay. So, then what was it….I mean, you were really ahead of your time in many ways because fintech wasn’t even a term back then, obviously, there was financial technology, but why decide back then…..what was the thinking behind starting your own firm back in 2002? This was, obviously, coming out of a recession, why do it then?

Steve: Sure, I saw just a huge, huge opportunity in fintech. Like you said, it wasn’t called fintech back then, we called it financial technology which is the name of the company, Financial Technology Partners, so from 2002 that’s been a monicker, but I just saw a tremendous amount of inefficiency in the system. Even today, the opportunity is way larger than what we’re seeing, you know, in the market and people think it’s large today.

So, you know, back then it was pretty clear to me, but it was also clear to me there weren’t any investment bankers that were that focused on it. Most were independents with key focus on the space and so, I thought that was a great combination of picking a great space that nobody was covering. The space is actually quite hard to cover because it covers a lot of different disciplines from, like I said, all the different pillars of financial services and all the different technology types, so it’s quite complicated.

You also got the big names, people coming out from a lot of different directions, in short, a tech company might have an insurance banker coming at it, you might have an IT services bank, you might an Internet banker, and on the research side, you know, there’s sort of a fight for the clients wanting to be covered from more of the tech side, but some of the companies can be pushed over into the financial services research coverage. So, there is a lot of their internal difficulty in terms of people organizing.

You still see it today, a lot of the big banks don’t really have a cohesive fintech group around the world and there actually isn’t a single investment bank that even have a single fintech group around the world. They’re fairly fragmented where people in Brazil aren’t talking to people in New York and not talking to people in London and certainly people in the tech group aren’t talking to people in the FIG groups of these firms, so it just creates a lot of, you know, disjointedness in the client coverage and the knowledge base.

So, I just saw a huge opportunity and really felt that for 18 years it still is not that large back then. So, we’re about 160 people today focused 100% on fintech. That compares to just a few people focused on the stage of any other given bank, including the big guys, so it’s an all out effort here.

Peter: Right, I know you have a global focus these days, so where are your offices located?

Steve: Yeah, we have our headquarters in San Francisco, then about five or seven years ago, we opened our New York office, and then we had a London office open up a couple of years ago so we’re spread in New York and London. San Francisco is probably 80 people today, New York probably 50 and London 30 up from zero a couple of years ago. And then we’re covering, like you said, the world, we have billion dollar deals and startups on really all kinds, other than Antarctica (Peter laughs)….yeah, seriously, we haven’t gone into Antarctica fintech yet, but we just announced a fairly large investment from a VC company called Interswitch which is one of the most viable companies in Africa now.

We’re working on a digital bank project in Southeast Asia, we’re starting a significant payments company in Australia in a couple of billion dollar range, and so, really….we’ve worked on the Interstone IPO last year in Brazil, so really you think you pick your continent where they’re doing things, so it’s exciting times, fintech knows no bounds, I guess.

Peter: Right, right. One thing that I’ve always appreciated, unlike many others as well, is your research report. You do this quarterly fintech research reports, you do have other industry reports and I just saw in my inbox this morning African Fintech Report. These are not just five to ten-page reports, these are hundred plus pages long. So, maybe you could talk a little bit about what goes into these and why kind of…..this is all for free, obviously, why go out and provide all these great intel?

Steve: Sure. Well, I think, like you said, it goes back to about 160 people focused on the space and there’s a significant number of these people that are in our research and business development group which is the core of the company where all the knowledge, you know, kind of pervades from, if you will. So, a lot of it is…….you know, we’re doing an enormous amount of independent proprietary research for ourselves, what’s going on in Africa fintech, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of companies which were growing fast and was getting funding, what segment, you know, what’s going on in other emerging markets.

So, we’re doing a lot of it for ourselves and we’re taking a sliver of that to sort of…kind of polishing it out to the marketplace. So, there’s a lot more behind the scenes of what we’re publishing and so it’s a little bit of a teaser to, you know, what do we know. It’s also a little bit of a public service because it’s become quite popular and we’ve got millions of readers of our research, and we have only published something…. we can see it light up on the screen as it gets opened up and with that forwarded around all over the world.

So, part of it is we just become part of the ecosystem of what’s going on and sort of, you know, central source of knowledge in defining how the space is structured and who’s doing what around the world. There’s really nobody else out there that’s doing this the way we’re doing it. There are people that are trying to collect the data, or trying to create a three-page newsletter once a month, but in terms of the volume and number of people that we have dedicated to this….so, surely, I’ve heard of, but it’s actually a lot of fun. We get invited to speak to a lot of incredible board of directors and conferences and special think tank type groups, so we’ve got a great team that’s focused 24/7 on that, so it’s pretty exciting.

Peter: Okay, so let’s talk about some of the actual trends that we’re seeing today. I was looking through your last research report and you isolate several things, but one thing that….maybe get your take on right off the bat and that is…a lot of people talking about this lately with the big tech entering fintech. Obviously, we’ve got Google, Apple, Facebook, they’ve all been in the news in the last month or two doing new fintech initiatives. What do you expect to see from big tech going forward?

Steve: Sure. I think you’re going to see more and more convergence between sort of payments and financial technology and big tech. You saw PayPal make the acquisition of Honey the other day in the e-commerce space. You saw Google making the announcement of getting into checking additional banking; we’ve all seen Apple get into the space with Apple Pay and, of course, the Apple credit card. So, I think you’re going to see more and more of that.

You’ve also seen Amazon get involved with lending to its SMB’s and they’re all of them behind in the payments space, but catching up. And then, of course, you know, people like Grab in Southeast Asia and Uber here in the US getting more and more into financial services and I think what you’re seeing is more of a trend towards financial services in fintech, if you will, kind of pervading every single type of business.

So, the money flow is really what keeps businesses going, whether you’re spending money, making a payment, saving money, optimizing an expense, you name it, it is a part of …it’s just a big, big part of each and every business and all the that flows between customers. So, you’ll see more and more people get involved in it. I mean, I think there’s an opportunity more for the big, you know, if you will, e-commerce players to get in and disrupt the banks. I do think that’s possible.

Would you rather have a checking account with Amazon, or Wells Fargo, I think that’s debatable. Wells Fargo is certainly a very highly regulated bank, but it’s got its customer service issues whereas Amazon is charged with customer satisfaction. Well, I think, what a lot of what this is coming down to is data. He who has the most data on the consumer can probably be helping the consumer manage their finances better than others, so I think long term, it’s going to be a data play.

Peter: Right, right, got it. So then, I think that points to another….obviously, many companies that you’ve worked with directly that have a big role to play here, companies like Marqeta that have really created a  whole new kind of way of managing the payments infrastructure, you’ve got other companies like BlueVine on the small business side, I’m curious about the fact that there’s becoming this plug and play type aspect of fintech, it feels like, and I know that Matt Harris from Bain had a piece out recently talking about this, do you think that we’re going to see beyond just the big tech, but lots of the big brands come and have their own sort of fintech offering in the future?

Steve: You know, I think, like I said earlier and the report that you’re referring to Matt Harris put out there, huge Matt Harris fan, by the way, but in any event, yes, I think fintech is becoming a bit of the platform, right. There’s a view that there was the Internet, there was mobile, there’s the cloud and now, there’s sort of fintech, right, and so fintech being sort of the fourth, if you will, horizon of platforms in tech.

I do think there’s a possibility that it could put that….the world thinks about it that way and we’re seeing it embedded in all walks of life, you know, you look at what people like what Expensify is doing, or doing, what millions and millions of users…you know, using their expense account for now. I just read there launching a car platform and I’m sure we’ll eventually do payroll and billing and everything else. So, I think there’s this concept of getting in and lending which particular enterprise, or SMB and then being able to offer them more myriad of services around financial services, or financial transaction processing.

The other thing you’re seeing a bit more of and Expensify is probably not a bad example, are companies that are able to sort of extremely uniquely penetrate both the business ecosystem and the consumer ecosystem. That’s where we’re seeing some really, really breakout players like you pick Square, for example, they’re doing not only 25/30 million SMBs, but also going after and already have, call it 20 million consumers using their apps.

So, at the end of the day, they can bring those two constituencies together and kind of create a super business model around financial services. You see the same thing with Facebook where their consumers are going to do their businesses and basically creating this like cohesive ecosystem and I think financial services will help bring them glue together on that as well.

Peter: Right, okay. You haven’t really talked much about digital banks yet. That feels to me like it’s the hot sector globally, it feels like right now, where there’s lots of mega rounds happening, there’s a lot of customer acquisition happening, rapid growth…..when I look at it, I think back to the lending days.

The time when we first met in person was at LendIt 2015 in New York and that was sort of a conference where there was peak enthusiasm for the lending space and now it feels like peak enthusiasm for the digital banking space, but maybe what’s your perspective? I mean, a lot of these companies aren’t making money yet, what do you see playing out in the digital banking space?

Steve:  Sure. I think, you know, we like the online lending space too, but I always thought that the online lending space had issues, given the very nature of it being you’re lending money out, you hope you’ll get that money back. It tends to be a while of transaction where a few years later when the loan is paid off, the person’s going to shop around and get the cheapest loan from somebody else and people have not really, I think, done a great job in the online lending space, sort of providing a loan to someone to getting a broader customer relationship. I think there was some attempt to do that, but it largely failed.

So, on came the digital banks with the idea of, you know, if we can control your checking account, we can have an interaction with you every single day of the week with your spending card to debit or credit card and we can sort of collect all sorts of data and information and gets back to us the same before about the information game and data game. Once we start doing that, we’re on your checking account we can see when your paycheck is coming in and what your monthly and daily expenses are, what your rent looks like. If you lose your job, or you get a promotion, we can see that too from a digital bank.

And so, I think the idea is, you know, anchoring the client with a digital banking product and a checking product and a direct deposit product is a great banker, all of us would agree, it’s fairly rare if you do change your core checking account. With that being said, the hardest part to get…..I think, the idea is once you have that core checking account, you pull in all that data, it’s not so far at that point to start offering savings products, or the lending products, or expense management products, or financial advice products.

So, I think that’s where there’s a bit of a battleground, there is a branding battleground as well, and what the banks have anything thought of in terms of customer service, in terms of product offerings, and chances of digital offerings, it leaves a huge gap for some of the digital banks to come in and make hay. I think one of the things we’re seeing is very few of these have sort of gone cross border.

Revolut is a rare example of someone who has raised a significant amount of money and sort of, I would say, going for it, and a lot of these guys are talking about building a trillion dollar digital banking platform which is really exciting. We wish them all the luck in doing that, but, you know, you see a lot of other players that are more country specific and are focused on building…. call it a $20 Billion/$50 Billion/$100 Billion businesses in single geographies.

You know what, in the US it comes like Chime and Varo Money has a lot of money and one of my favorites being MoneyLion is sort of helping every man, or the working American. I think there’s a big dearth of financial products out there for the working American, or the working European, or what have you. Some of these are really, really helping consumers think about saving and spending and retirement, things like that. Digital banking is sort of moniker people use, but it’s more digital financial services, if you will, so it’s the better way to think about it.

Peter:  Yeah, for sure. And, you know, along with that….I mean, obviously, the valuations are…some of these companies are attracting really pretty high valuations. I know you’ve got Nubank in Brazil that are, I think, $10 Billion, and you’ve got many others.

At the same time, you’ve got…I mean, in the public markets a lot of these IPOs are struggling, Square is an exception, there are a couple of other exceptions, but when you’re sort of talking with these private companies and they’re getting these massive valuations, you also go and have taken several companies through IPO, do you see the fact…what do you tell people who are looking to go public as far as valuation goes? Do you think that this valuation feels like this bifurcation where you’ve got two completely separate realities, I mean, how do you see that sort of correcting itself, how do see it playing out?

Steve: Well, I think, you know, you have to think what’s going on in the public versus private markets. The private markets, first and foremost, most securities that are being sold are convertible preferred, so the downside protected, there’s sort of unlimited upside potential and, you know, the trade up there is not just that ….there’s no liquidity in that, you know, theoretically less liquidity in public markets so, common stock with no downside protection.

You think about the other distinction of private markets, you see all these rounds, it’s typically what the top one or two people in the world are willing to pay after having done a significant amount of due diligence and under pressure whereas in the public market you’re really only left with a 10K and some 10Qs and some research reports, limited amount of diligence you can do.

You know, it’s sort of the equilibrium of everyone who thinks it’s a buy and everyone who thinks it’s a sell as opposed to whoever is the best company in the world and with the highest price and that’s typically not the valuation for the public market. So, I think, one of the realities of all these private companies when they go to the public market is like it’s not about what you think one person would pay, you have to think of it as the entire universe to pay. That universe consists of a lot of skeptical research analysts whose careers are on the line and we’re going to be, you know, potentially more skeptical than someone who is highly optimistic and has a highly diversified portfolio and has downside protection.

So, I just think there’s a huge difference between public and private markets and I think the public markets are serving as the ultimate reconciler of valuation to some extent, but ….and we’ve also found public markets to be quite wrong about a lot of companies. You look at some of these companies, they’re a bit, you know, out of favor like Lending Club or what have you, I mean, what Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook all had moments when their stocks were down and dropped, you know, no one cared about them and continued innovating and then later on in life became massive companies.

So, I think, you can’t really count any of these companies out, but it’s what makes the world go round, supply and demand. I think you’re not seeing a lot of retail investors piling into these private deals, these are smart incredibly well diligencing companies that are making these big bets, they’re comfortable doing so. There will be winners, there will be losers and I don’t think anyone should be surprised. Occasionally someone wants to invest in a company, $3 Billion valuation might go public at $2 Billion, that’s just life and that’s just what’s going to happen once in a while, that’s why it’s called venture capital, so to speak.

So, some of those are going to go from $2 Billion to $20 Billion. Look at Square, came out of the gate, everyone follows, overvalued and stock suffered in the IPO moment in time and you could have bought it for ….anyone of us could have bought it for $9 a share and sold it for $100 and that was there for the taking for everyone in the space. So, you know, public markets could be a really good thing.

Peter: So, when you’re working with these CEOs do you encourage them to try and maximize the valuation, or is it just a case by case basis? Obviously, it has some downside if they are planning to go out in the public markets.

Steve: I’d say when we talk to clients, we let them sort of think about what’s important to them. We’re usually encouraging them to think about the quality of an investor, leaving money on the table in order to make sure you’re not overpricing your round. At the end of the day, the market’s the market and we are getting some big valuations, but you really don’t like it if I was too far ahead of yourself because it could become difficult to raise future capital.

But, yes, it’s all about what the client is willing to optimize and in a lot of these situations there is optimized valuation, but also we might not be in the same breath. Let’s say I want an investor that can support me through the IPO, I want an investor that could be good at the board room, I want an investor that’s going to be supportive of things when things aren’t perfect because they never are and that’s generally where they lean, is let’s go find the right fit of investors and valuation is one that takes a bit of a secondary back seat.

Peter: Right, right. So, I’d like to get your perspective on SoftBank because I just saw this morning there’s a new deal that they’ve invested in India and Paytm, I’m curious about what impact do you think…..you’re talking with SoftBank at our LatAm Conference which will be in the past by the time this is actually published, but I’m curious about what your take is on their impact on fintech.

Steve: Sure. I think SoftBank is, you know, still a force to be reckoned with despite some of the tricky stuff they had to deal with in terms of the WeWork situation and Uber and others, but at the end of the day, they’re a very, very large venture capital player taking very, very big risks, they are swinging for the fences and it is a portfolio so we can also look at mistakes that they’ve made.

They have made mistakes, certainly made those mistakes and they’ve publicized those mistakes, but, I think, at the end of the day, they have a chance to move some really big deals and take some big swings and they’re trying to do that all around the world. So, you know, I sort of commend them for their efforts in doing it, but, I think they’ve also missed a lot of great opportunities and if they tend to chase momentum there’s a lot of really good hidden things out there that they could be looking at.

But, you know, it is the Vision Fund and so when you do talk to them, and we have a kind of respect for all the guys and gals that we talk to there, look, it’s something that’s really, really game changing, but they don’t spend much time on it. Like I said, I commend them for that, but in terms of fintech, they’re in SoFi, Kabbage, one of our clients, and, you know, they’ve done a lot of great deals in the space as well, but I don’t think they’re having an overall impact on fintech, to be honest with you. There are in a couple of deals here and there, but have they changed the game, have they king made anybody which is a word we hear from time to time and we really haven’t met and seen that.

Paytm is doing quite well with a huge universal investors including Ant and others. I don’t think there’s any magic thing put in there. And then there’s plenty of competitors coming up on their heels in India as well. So, those things have a great place in this world and like anybody else, they’re going to take their lumps and venture capital gamers swing it to the fences and probably need to slow down, select their loans and figure out where to go from here.

Peter: Right, right. Anyway, we’re running out of time, but a couple of things I really want to get to. I want to talk about M&A because it seems surprising to me and I’d like to see if you’re surprised, the fact that traditional banks have not been very active in fintech M&A. Where do you think future M&A activities is going to come from?

Steve: Sure. I think the banks have been slow on M&A, but, I think, I see some signs or light there. I think the thing that has been most eye-opening to us is we actually worked on what is called Assurance IQ. We sold it to Prudential for $3.5 Billion, you know, Prudential being a 144-year old company buying a company that has only been around for three and a half years for $3.5 Billion.

You know, it’s actually pretty impressive that they had the foresight to do that. I think when Prudential looks at its business and sees the changes out there in AI and automation and online applications and what that means globally for insurance, I think they have the guts to go out and swing and actually take a chance on buying a very brave, well-heeled, smart acquisition with Assurance. It’s something that was probably the boldest move I’ve seen any financial services company make in the last 20 years. If you do the research, which we have, you just haven’t seen anything like that in 20 years.

You look at another deal we did, Allstate buying a company called SquareTrade. They saw the world of autonomous cars and saw that millennials were not buying automobiles as much, living at home longer and not buying home insurance. You know, this is to really get closer to the millennial universe and buy an electronics warranty company which Square Trade was. That was $1 Billion that time and it just worked out incredibly well for those guys.

That was the thing, going back to the Prudential deal, I think that comes with Prudential acquiring a company for $3.5 Billion, but I think the market realized that this was a smart move. The stock went up 5/10% and even greater to buy the company over the next couple of weeks and it’s been seen as a huge success. I think that transaction has hit a lot of CEOs’ radar screens, hey, it’s not just for the PayPals and the Amazons that can go up to  $3/4 Billion deals and have the stocks go up. We can do it too if we’re smart about it. I think (inaudible) CEO doing these deals, in part that was $1 Billion plus earn out for the management team There’s a recognition there that you can’t just sort of buy these companies and expect everyone to stick around, you have to think really hard about the team and what’s going to happen going forward. So, let’s give them an earn out, let’s keep them motivated for three to five years so there’s transition.

You look at another deal we just did in Europe where Santander bought 51% of an amazing company called Ebury, another client of ours. Again, these are big…..you look at Ebury and Santander, you look Square Trade getting bought by Allstate Insurance getting bought by Prudential and actually stacking it up. These are like three of almost the only transactions where major balance sheet businesses that have been around for almost 100 years plus or minus are making these kind of bets, but you’re seeing the stuff and you really haven’t seen this up until recently, so you could see a lot more of it.

 Peter: Interesting. So then, when you look across the sort of spectrum of fintech, this is the last question, what area do you think is most exciting? Where do you see the most growth coming from?

Steve: I’m probably most excited about……..I’m excited on all different spaces honestly, but I love what we talked about earlier, the Marqetas of the world, you know, the Plaids of the world, the Expensifys of the world, the ones that are really powering enterprises to do more around fintech. I also really like the B2B payment space, companies like AvidXchange, for example, you can’t take it to too many people that are in the business of getting rid of paper checks, right, and the B2B enterprise world and have a chance at leading the space there.

So, it just companies like that that are more in the B2B side of things where you’re seeing a lot of action right now and look, I love the digital banking space, I love what the Revolut N26, Chime, MoneyLion, Varo Money, I love what they’re doing. What is exciting to me isI really do think, at the end of the day, fintech is here to help consumers and help companies be more efficient which ultimately helps the end consumers as well. So, to me that’s what keeps us motivated to keep going and keep building our businesses. The fintech space is really, really helping people, at the end of the day, and that’s what it’s all about.

Peter: Okay, indeed. On that note, we’ll have to leave it there. I really appreciate your coming on the show today, Steve.

Steve: My pleasure, Peter, thank you and congrats on everything you’re doing at Lendit.

Peter: Okay, thanks, see you.

Steve: Bye.

Peter: That was really interesting, particularly, Steve was saying around M&A from traditional financial institutions. We keep wondering when the floodgates will open, well maybe 2020/2021. we’re going to see many, many more deals here. He’s obviously provided three examples there and, you know, I’ve heard of others that are sort of in the wings that are in the exploratory phase, so it’s going to be super interesting. I feel like the traditional financial institutions are not playing as big a role in M&A as anyone expected and that could be very much about to change.

Anyway on that note, I’ll sign off. I very much appreciate you listening and I will catch you next time.

Today’s episode was sponsored by LendIt Fintech USA, the world’s largest fintech event dedicated to lending and digital banking. It’s happening on May 13th and 14th, 2020, at the Javits Center in New York. Lending and banking are converging and LendIt Fintech immerses you in the most important trends of the day. Meet the people who matter, learn from the experts and get business done. LendIt Fintech, lending and banking connected. Go to lendit.com/usa to register.[/expand]

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