Innovation, challengers and winning customers

 David M. Brear photo
David M. Brear Co-Founder & CEO, 11:FS
5min read

Money 20/20 Europe 2019 is almost upon us and this year I’m looking forward to hearing from some of the sharpest minds in the industry, and also having a good argument ;).

A few years ago it was easy to dismiss new market entrants. They were an annoyance like a fly around the head of a gorilla. They were getting headlines and mindshare but what about customers? Well they didn’t have enough to worry anyone so it’s all good, right?

It isn’t so easy now, that’s for sure.

Firms are now taking major chunks of traditional business lines - from international payments, transfers and FX, through to savings, investments, and retail accounts. Revolut has 5.2m customers, Transferwise over 4m, Monzo just hit 2m people who don’t just have their product but love them.

Banks need to rethink their strategy. They’ve still got a major image problem, and the mentality it takes to transform fully just isn’t something that can be taught to their people and worse of all it can’t be bought.

It’s a culture change. From the skills you look for, to the people you hire, to the way you lead. It’s how you view customers and how you communicate to them. It’s your brand and how you approach acquisition. Compare and contrast the new Monzo TV ads with the NatWest apology campaign. Need I say more?

Something that both the challenger banks and tech giants both have in common is that culture shift. It’s with that unified mission and humanised way of working that people can actually get the jobs that need to be done, done.

True agility is not a methodology nor is it post it notes and bean bags. It never will be. Challengers can move at pace because their mentality allows them to do so. Data is accessible, clean, and available in real-time. Their core banking engines are easily configurable allowing the flexibility to create new financial products, and more importantly services, quickly and easily.

There’s been plenty of talk about challenger banks, fintech firms, and the tech titans entering banking. A lot of that talk has been from us. Whether they’re entering the market as collaborative partners to banks or in direct competition to incumbents, one question always remains:

Who’s going to make it to the top and ultimately knock incumbents from their throne? Isn’t it an inevitable?

This year at Money20/20, we’ll be debating who is going to reign supreme in the battle for customers: Challenger Banks, or Non FS Digital Players? In another fantastic F’in debate, Bates’ Bulldogs and Brear’s Bears will tackle the rapidly evolving landscape of Digital Banking.

We’re going to dig in to some important topics with some fantastic team members including Megan Caywood from Barclays, Kristian Luoma from OP Labs, Simon Vans-Colina from Monzo and more.

Together we’re going to unpack some of the issues that matter. And hopefully have a bit of an argument along the way!

Are Challenger Banks the biggest threat to traditional banks, or will the Tech Giants rock the boat in a way Startups just can’t compete with? I’m arguing for the tech giants, so i'm winning. I could just say 'Ant Financial' for 15 minutes but I have (checks notes….) more of an argument than that.

Jason, representing the Challengers, naturally, doesn’t stand a chance in that opening round. Sorry, but you are going down hard, my friend.

Our teams will then tackle the best approach to innovation, which is sure to stir up some heated discussion on partnerships vs in-house. We’ll then finish with two rounds on critical, but often overlooked, aspects: how does your brand compete to win and retain customers, and the role cultural transformation plays in incumbent organisations’ ability to innovate.

Oh, and if you can’t make it - don’t you worry, this session will be recorded for our Fintech Insider podcast. If you aren’t subscribed now is a better time than ever. You can catch up on our last F’in Debate in episode 264 of Fintech Insider recorded at Money20/20 USA 2018, where the USA took on the Rest of the World in the battle for customers.


Money20/20 Europe is the continent’s largest marketplace for ideas, connections and deals in payments, FinTech and Financial Services. During the conference you’ll get key information and original content tackling the most disruptive and trailblazing topics - both regional, and global. From Payments, to AI, to data and analytics and DLT, you’ll hear the latest innovations straight from the people who are leading the change - oh, and of course, you’ll get a whole host of breaking business news and product launches.

So if you haven’t got a ticket, what are you waiting for? Use our discount code M1911FS to get a great discount off your ticket price!

 David M. Brear
About the author

David M. Brear

David is the CEO of 11:FS and since his dream of being a sportsperson was crushed (along with the ligaments in his knee!) and he had to get a proper job. He has worked in pretty much every angle of the financial services industry but never lost that competitive desire to win.