Last week I traveled to the University of Cambridge in the UK for the third annual conference put on by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. I have had a close relationship with the founders of “The Centre”, as it is known, since its inception and I really appreciate the work they do furthering the fintech industry. We have covered their global reports extensively on Lend Academy.
The Centre is the world’s leading academic research facility, at least outside of China, for the fintech industry. Their data gathering and analysis is second to none and the reality is there is simply no one else gathering this kind of data on a global scale.
Anyway, on to the highlights their event which was titled, Reimagining Alternative Finance: Global Perspectives and Local Insights. As the name implies there was very much an international flavor to the event with speakers from more than a dozen countries.
Greg Medcraft is the former head securities regulator in Australia and is now the Director of the Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs of the OECD. He talked about trust and how trust in business is low today, particularly in finance. The power of the crowd is impacting trust where companies misdeeds are amplified and public opinion can turn against a company quite quickly. One of the antidotes to this is distributed ledger technology that can create networks with more trust, transparency and traceability.
We heard via video conference from Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands who is the UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and a passionate voice for financial inclusion. She celebrated the fact that since 2011 around one billion people have moved from unbanked to banked for the first time. She gave some examples of work being done in developing countries and she called on the fintech industry to do more. As I have said before the real promise of fintech is to help the underserved in the same way that we help the already well served.