FinTech Futures: Top five stories of the week – 27 May 2022
Here’s our pick of five of the top news stories from the world of finance and tech this week.
BNPL giant Klarna to cut 10% of workforce amid “tumultuous year”
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm Klarna is to let go of approximately 10% of its global workforce due to ongoing challenging global economic conditions.
Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski outlined in a statement to employees how the fintech unicorn was staying “laser-focused” on weathering the various storms unfolding in 2022.
Siemiatkowski cites the war in Ukraine, inflation, a volatile stock market, shifts in consumer sentiment and a likely recession, “all of which have marked the beginning of a very tumultuous year”.
“When we set our business plans for 2022 in the autumn of last year, it was a very different world than the one we are in today,” Siemiatkowski adds.
Financial super-app M1 deploys Thought Machine’s Vault Core
Financial services super-app M1 has selected core banking vendor Thought Machine to power and grow its platform.
M1 will deploy Thought Machine’s Vault Core to build and launch new products from one unified, coherent “source of truth”.
The financial wellbeing super-app is designed to help people invest, borrow and spend “intelligently” all within one automated and personalised in-app experience.
iCapital expands its platform with Simon Markets acquisition
US fintech iCapital has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Simon Markets for an undisclosed sum.
iCapital says the deal will “meaningfully enhance” its alternative investment platform and “augment its technical capabilities, education offerings and support services for wealth managers”.
Simon’s digital platform offers a marketplace for risk-managed and alternative solutions, including structured investments, annuities and traditional and progressive alternatives.
It also provides education and analytics tools to help financial advisors better manage their client portfolios.
NatWest partners Microsoft and Accenture for customer engagement platform
NatWest has partnered with Microsoft and IT services firm Accenture as it looks to replace its multi-system legacy frontline architecture with one central digital platform.
The new customer engagement platform will leverage Microsoft Dynamics 365 and integrate all of NatWest’s front office systems across its contact centre and branches, customer messaging, video banking and complaints channels on to a unified digital platform.
The platform will enable NatWest to build “value and loyalty through deeper customer insights and relationships”, Microsoft says.
Finovate Spring 2022: Starling CEO Anne Boden on what big banks can do better
Starling Bank CEO Anne Boden took to the stage at the Finovate Spring conference to deliver her thoughts on what “big, traditional organisations” can do to improve their operations and ensure their digital transformation projects don’t fail.
Opening her keynote address, Boden says: “Big banks try to emulate the new digital players. Everybody wants to transform. Everybody wants to be the new innovative, creative player. But actually launching a bank brand, a big digital transformation project, is ever so complicated, and very few actually succeed.”
Boden points to a number of projects including Finn and Bo to emphasise the point, adding that at Starling the words “change management” and “transformation” are banned “because it reminds us of a past where these sorts of things happen”.
She dives into “four things you can tell your board” to help avoid failed initiatives.