Demo Days showcase digital opportunities to finance firms

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IF you were building a financial services business from scratch, how would you make it entirely technologically enabled?

This was the question posed to attendees at Jersey Finance’s recent Demo Day which, for the first time, focused on both digital technology and sustainable finance.

‘The Demo Days have run since 2019 but, given the synergies between these two core areas, it made sense to bring them together in one umbrella day,’ explained Jersey Finance deputy chief executive Amy Bryant.

At the event, which was attended by more than 200 industry representatives, eight firms from outside the Island showcased their products in a forum designed to ‘show members opportunities that they may not have realised were available’.

Inspiring the Demo Day, explained Mrs Bryant, were two key drivers, one of which was the promotional body’s aspiration for Jersey to be ‘the easiest international finance centre with which to do business remotely in a digital world’.

‘Because we are an IFC, the majority of our clients are located in different jurisdictions and therefore using digital tools can really enhance a customer experience,’ she said, adding that the second driver was efficiency.

‘The skills shortage is a well-understood challenge faced by a lot of jurisdictions, and harnessing technology is key to combatting and mitigating against that,’ she said. ‘Fintech, in particular, offers tremendous scope to enhance productivity and efficiency across a wide range of business areas from client onboarding and day-to-day administration to compliance reporting.’

Reflecting on the appetite among local firms to adopt digital solutions, Mrs Bryant said that this was growing, driven largely by a Covid-triggered shift in behaviour and client expectations.

‘While the pandemic highlighted the benefits of adopting technology, the next generation of wealth holders also expects to have both in-person and digital relationships with businesses,’ she said. ‘They want to have information that they can access online in real-time and update as they go. This means that clients are challenging businesses to think about how they can use technology to deliver that experience.

‘With a strong infrastructure, fantastic digital environment and a regulator which is encouraging firms to embrace technology, and particularly regtech, Island firms are in a great position to continue evolving to meet client demands and to enhance their own productivity and efficiency.’

With Jersey Finance also focused on positioning the Island as a leading sustainable IFC by 2030, Mrs Bryant said that fintech could also help firms ‘to aggregate the data from different sources and compile accurate and reliable sustainability reports, cutting across environmental, social and governance factors’.

‘There is a definite synergy between technology use and ESG requirements,’ she said. ‘As part of our vision to be recognised as the leading IFC in the markets we service, we are focused on how the finance industry and the capital we intermediate in Jersey can be a force for good. We have a responsibility in Jersey to leverage our expertise and the capital we manage as part of that transition to a sustainable global economy.’

While acknowledging the ‘ambitious’ nature of that vision, Mrs Bryant says that events such as the Demo Days were key to achieving that goal.

‘These events are critical because attendees now have a better sense of the tools out there to help them on their digital and sustainability journeys,’ she said. ‘They spark innovation and future-focused thinking, which is vital for ensuring that businesses remain relevant. While the outputs will be different for everyone, I hope that there was a message which chimed with each attendee and which showed that technology can support people to do their jobs better and to deliver fantastic client service.’

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