Keynote interview: Homa Siddiqui

Keynote interview during the ‘RegTech Summit Europe’ which was held in London on 27 September 2017.

Speaker: Homa Siddiqui, Credit Suisse

Interviewed by: Jane Jee, Kompli Global

JaneDerisking has been an issue for a long time. Financial institutions have decided to withdraw from a few different areas, and we’re going to look at where regulation may have driven those decisions…

Homa: Regulation is a challenge and an opportunity for us. In certain jurisdictions, some of the regulations help us to compete better. For example, not having an open environment for robo advisors in Switzerland is helpful, as it means we can create our own more robust offering for our clients. In Singapore, the regulator is very forward thinking and progressive. If you have a license and are operating within their boundaries, and have a good dialogue with the regulator, they will help you to accomplish your objectives. So we focus a lot of energy on the positive aspects of regulation.

Jane: When have you been most impressed by a RegTech business model?

Homa: The rise of robo-advisers, and their ability to grow their asset accumulation, has been impressive and fascinating to watch. As we have a big retail business, we have had to adapt to service our thousands of clients in a different lifecycle. FinTech has pushed us to think how we, as a mature bank, offer this service in a secure way. The attitude of a RegTech company matters a lot. When someone presents a solution in a box it sounds disingenuous, because we think “it can’t work, given all the practical realities”. When someone says “this is what we can do – let’s work together on co-creating something that solves your problems”, that’s when we know we’re influencing the product roadmap to meet our needs.

Jane: How do you go about choosing which RegTech companies you work with?

Homa: Our organisation has a history of innovation and a culture where there is willingness to constantly experiment. We have big problems, and there’s no way to solve them without new thinking. We are very specific about the problems that need solutions before we start looking for a vendor. We have to find companies that have the will to go on a journey to solve problems with us.

Jane: How do you feel about financial institutions collaborating with one another?

Homa: We do this actively. UBS, for example, is across the road from us, and I meet them regularly. We have common issues, such as adverse news, which we share experiences about. We should be competing on creating value for the end client, and not how we’re implementing defence mechanisms. On defence we could collaborate more with other financial organisations.

Jane: If you could ask the regulators to do one thing, what would it be?

Homa: Collaborate better among regulators. At the moment there are many different regimes, each with different requirements. When you’re trying to build a global product, it would be helpful if regulators had similar rules because organisations are expected to follow all of them at the same time.

Jane: How can RegTechs better present themselves to FIs?

Homa: Everyone’s narrative sounds the same – they talk about the technology they use, but they never tell you what problem they can solve. I’d like a place where I can articulate the problems I have, and then someone can tell me how they can work with me to solve them. It’s not about the financials – if it’s a big enough problem, and someone has an intelligent way of solving it, I want access to that mindset.

RegTech Summit US

November 8, 2017. New York

Join us on November 8 to meet other experts and innovators in the field.