The start of a new year is rich in possibilities. And for FinTech, there’s no question that 2017 will be a fascinating journey. The pace of innovation remains frenetic, with new initiatives in RegTech and InsurTech, to solutions addressing payments, savings and investments.

Jitters over Brexit and the US elections notwithstanding, FinTech businesses are continuing to attract large amounts of venture capital & bank funding, with a dizzying range of start-ups vying for investment worldwide. London, alongside other financial centres (New York, Singapore and Frankfurt) are competing hard to attract the brightest FinTech talent. The breadth of application is increasing, with organisations looking at new areas of customer service, operational processing, and sources of inefficiency to apply FinTech to.

I think it’s an exciting time to be involved in this marketplace, with a front-row seat to the latest developments. The Labs gives us a great position as a facilitator for the start-ups that are transforming financial services, and I’m very happy to be part of it.  It’s a privilege to be leading Accenture’s FinTech London programme—which, for the first time, includes a dedicated InsurTech stream—at such a pivotal moment.

As well as helping our clients capture advantage from digital technologies, we’re playing an active part in shaping the future of this industry. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be reporting back to you on our achievements, along with broader observations on the latest and greatest FinTech trends, here in the UK and around the world.

Just a few words on what we’re doing. Our FinTech programme is a London-based accelerator and mentorship engine uniting top European FinTech and InsurTech start-ups with key decision-makers from global financial services institutions. At the programme’s heart, the FinTech Innovation Lab has been developed to help young start-ups refine and test their propositions, supported by Accenture and the 28 (and counting) financial services partner organisations now on board.

Once they’ve been selected, start-ups get a great opportunity to turbocharge their progress, spending 12 weeks in London meeting top execs and tech leaders in our partner firms. We also provide mentoring around the various challenges they’ll face, including legal issues, pitching and running proofs of concept in financial organisations.

Our programme’s proving to be the right solution at the right time. A number of the start-ups in our 2016 intake are already scoring some notable successes. These span the use of chatbots to revolutionise communication with (and within) financial services companies, using accelerometers in mobile phones to better assess whiplash claims in insurance, and providing on-demand, lifestyle-based insurance products for ‘Generation Rent’. We’re also looking at how we address regulatory (RegTech) challenges, and meeting the demands of compliance.

Looking ahead, we’re anticipating some extraordinary innovation for 2017. Crystal-ball gazing is tough in such a fast-changing area, but based on what we’re seeing right now, I’d expect to see some breakthroughs in how people receive (and act on) investment advice, the use of AI and biometrics in regulatory compliance, and the increased maturity in how we apply FinTech within financial services organisations.

I’m looking forward to writing on these, and other trends, in subsequent blogs. Meanwhile, here’s to a great year!

Thanks for reading.

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