HSBC chairman Douglas Flint: We welcome “crazy” fintech ideas

Lynsey Barber
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Banks are no longer worried about fintech rivals (Source: Getty)

The boss of one of Britain’s biggest banks has said it welcomes “crazy” ideas which come from fintech startups.

Douglas Flint, chairman of HSBC, told an audience of top executives from global finance and technology the banking industry is no longer scared of the potential competition fintech might bring.

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“The industry has moved on from a fear of competition to an understanding of the benefits of collaboration and therefore we absolutely welcome some of the crazy ideas coming out of the fintech industry,” he said, speaking at the government’s first international fintech conference in London on Wednesday.

“Technology is creating opportunities to do things better,” he said, explaining that HSBC’s own collaborations with fintech companies are in areas which are core to the bank and can be scaled.

“The benefits are clear. They [fintechs] are small scale relative to a large bank like us. They can move in an agile and innovative way,” he said.

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The bank last month revealed a partnership with Tradeshift, a startup dubbed the next Paypal and Skype for invoicing that makes the supply chain process digital. As well as investing in the fintech last year, it will now integrate with the platform to offer businesses greater access to working capital.

Flint also predicted that payments startups, where the majority of fintech innovation has so far been centred, wil not all survive.

Instead he pointed to regulation focused innovation and technology which helps banks address issues such as AML and KYC rules as a “big opportunity” ahead, along with the digitisation of credentials.

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