AltFi Toronto Summit 2018

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Toronto, an emerging global fintech hub, becomes the fifth city the Summit has visited over the years - the others being New York, Amsterdam, Sydney and its hometown of London. 

The focus of the event will be to feature high profile speakers from the incredibly active fintech sectors in the UK and Europe - with a particular focus on digital banking, online lending and robo-advice - while also showcasing the best of Canadian fintech. 

The key topic of the day will be Open Banking. The framework, which is in its first year in the UK, is being actively considered by Canadian policy-makers, and the Summit will provide the perfect opportunity for cross-border learning. 

Make sure not to miss the After Party at the Pogue Mahone Pub and Kitchen, generously sponsored by our Global Partner OnDeck! The drinks kick off at 17:30 and venue details can be found further down on this page. 


Opening Remarks

  • Dingle said the fintech ecosystem is a source of pride and also of positive growth for the existing financial sector in Canada.

  • Fintech companies, he added, bring with them a greater diversity of supply to everyday consumers and new services to the under-supplied and underbanked as well as encouraging incumbents to improve their offerings.

Playing catch up: Why Canadians have yet to realise the full benefits of fintech

  • Graham said it is “something to be proud of” that three of the world’s 20 largest banks reside in Canada and that it largely managed to avoid a finanical crisis in 2008. However, he added that but there is a gap with other countries because “we don’t have any fintech unicorns” (yet).

  • This could be because fintech adoption has been slower and that in terms of regulation Canada does have Open Banking or PSD2-style regimes.

  • Toronto has, however, created more high tech jobs than any other city in North America in the past year as well as more financial services jobs.

A female founder on building a unicorn

  • Mustard says Klarna is moving towards “autonomous finance” where companies can find you better offers for financial products with less hassle.

  • Consumers, she adds, are more mobile than they have ever been before but credit data is not mobile between countries.

  • She said her own experiences and being a female founder helps to bring diversity to Klarna’s views and experiences but the firm also makes a big effort to sit down with people to understand how everyday folk manage their money.

Open Banking in Canada: considerations and opportunities

  • Eberhard said the direction of travel is simple; consumers should have greater ownership over their data.

  • Poddar said Canadian regulators have to play an active role in implementing Open Banking in Canada otherwise it will be slow to happen.

  • Jiwan believes the other missing piece of the puzzle is clarity on guiding principles of a Canadian Open Banking regime from the regulator. Something that is currently missing.

  • Leboeuf said financial institutions are worried about losing connections with consumers which is offering lots of opportunities for first movers.

Going global: Funding Circle's platform lending blueprint

  • Sanders said that data science is not just used in credit modeling by Funding Circle but also in others areas of the business including marketing which is all transferable into new markets and geographies.

  • He added that Funding Circle’s IPO was “a very exciting milestone” and will enable it to deliver more, but he also said it is just another fundraise and “step on the journey”.

  • Sanders emphasised that Funding Circle is “still very much in growth phase” despite now having the IPO behind them.

The evolution of marketplace loans as an asset class

  • Szymanski said that the addressable market in consumer credit “is a $3.3trn opportunity."

  • She added that the firm is still focused on the US market and does not have any plans to expand to new geographies.

What can Canada's fintech lenders learn from other markets?

  • Wong said fintech offers Canada’s financial services industry (metaphorically) “the opportunity to dump its high school boyfriend and try something more exciting and new”.
  • Mitelman said the best thing about Canada’s fintech scene as it currently stands is that the there is plenty of “white space” with little set precedents.

How to drive fintech adoption in Canada

  • Breslow said that after the 2008 crisis Canada saw, across all its provinces, small business loan growth fall while GDP went up suggesting small firms are more underserved than previously.

  • He said that with an underserved market the opportunity for online lending is huge in Canada.

  • He added that OnDeck’s Canadian online lending customers are similar to their US equivalents yet online lending is currently serving a smaller amount of their credit needs.

The ecosystem opportunity in Open Banking

  • Simoneschi said the mass adoption of Open Banking is being driven by use cases.

  • Steeley said that just because a potential borrower has a “thin file at the bureau” does not mean they are a thin file in transaction terms, meaning credit providers need only to crunch this data to make a lending decision they might otherwise dismiss.

Integrating digital innovation with physical infrastructure in challenger banking

  • Park, digital director of MetroBank, said mobile is the bank’s fastest growing chanel but that customer interaction is split down the middle between physical and digital channels.

  • Banking, in his view, still isn’t just about tech but in “building things that customers want”.

  • SMEs will be the big winners of Open Banking, he predicts.

  • He added that his one bit of advice for fintechs is to think hard about innovating new products and their economic model.

Why TransferWise launched borderless banking

  • Boyajian believes that there is a gap in the market to handle multi-currencies at the same time

  • The rates that Transferwise uses are obtained every few seconds from Reuters but the firm does not make money on the currency trade.

  • He added that a primary motivation for the firm is thinking how it can support a “global market without borders”

How do they do it? An interview with Revolut

Session notes to be posted soon. 

Break Out Room

Use cases for Open Banking in Canada's fintech sector

  • Is there a business model for Open Banking?  One option could be a type of ‘price comparison plus’
  • Whos is responsible or liable for the data ?
  • Regulators should be defining standardisation to promote open banking as well as speaking to the end user.


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