Q&A: Peter Renton, chairman and co-founder, LendIt

Marketplace lending and FinTech conference LendIt Europe returns to London on 9-10 October 2017. FStech catches up with the event’s chairman and co-founder Peter Renton, to get his take on the sector and find out what attendees can take away from the show this year.

What can delegates expect from the LendIt Europe event this year?

Every year we recruit some of the biggest names in FinTech, lending, technology, banking and many more. By ensuring we have the best speakers and thought leaders shaping the event, we only cover the most topical issues in lending and financial tech today. Delegates will know that the content we cover won’t only be useful for them the next day in the office, but in the next five years and onwards. Things like AI, blockchain, and customer experience are all hot on the agenda this year – and getting that real-time insight from our speakers will be invaluable for everyone attending.

This is the show’s fourth time in London – are there any new features that attendees will experience?

We have some really exciting new additions to the event this year. Our partnership with SeedInvest will mean eight of the finalists in our PitchIt competition can raise funding live at the event, taking advantage of the 200 investors we have attending and the 185,000 investors active on SeedInvest’s platform. It will be the first time live fundraising has taken place at an event in Europe, and following the success that SeedInvest had with Jason Calacanis and his LAUNCH Festival in the US, which raised $7.5 million from 3,900 individual investors, we’re excited to see the results. On top of that, this year we’re also introducing VC ‘office hours’, giving startups the opportunity to chat 1:1 with some of the biggest VCs in Europe. This year, we have the likes of Balderton Capital, Seedcamp, CommerzVentures, and QED in attendance, who will be able to share their knowledge and experience in handling startup ventures.

What do you think will be the key themes to come out of the conference streams in 2017?

We’re seeing a huge change in the way consumers approach and handle their banking, and so there’s a keen focus on the changes in retail banking. Whether that’s new digital banks, the rise in open banking, or personal finance management apps, etc. That, in addition to the increase in collaboration between banks and startups, will be a big focus. We’re also seeing some significant changes in credit and underwriting, and how that is being disrupted by technology. AI and its impact on risk assessment is something we’ll be covering, and the rise of RegTech will also be something to look out for. This year, we’ll also be looking at the impact that Brexit will have on the finance sector in Europe – so we’ll be covering a real variety of different subjects!

The financial services landscape has been evolving rapidly since the first LendIt conference launched in the US in 2013 – how have marketplace lending and FinTech played their part?

Marketplace lending and FinTech have helped financial services become more nimble and accessible to a larger portion of the population. Today, anyone with access to the internet and a smartphone can have a suite of products that ranges from lending to banking, wealth management, credit scores and more. The playing field has been levelled and this is only the tip of the iceberg, more innovation is coming and costs continue to come down.

What are the main opportunities and challenges for financial institutions at the moment, particularly on the technology side?

Institutions typically take a long time to implement these changes wholesale, with so many service providers and startups in the market today incumbent players have a lot of choice. This has allowed them to tap into and partner with different firms instead of building out the technology themselves. We have really started to see a dramatic shift from disruption to collaboration when it comes to fintech startups.

What do you think is top of the agenda for financial services leaders now, as organisations continue to develop their digital strategies in a world of more connected customers but increasing regulation?

With so many changes in financial services it can be tough to keep up; at LendIt Europe 2017 we will help you to cut through the noise and help you understand what technology is being applied today. Expect to hear about successful uses of AI & Machine learning practices, what banks are thinking about and how they are adjusting their technology to give a better consumer experience, where blockchain is being applied to finance today, and how investors look at FinTech companies.

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