By Dougie Belmore, Head of Payments Industry Engagement, Clydesdale Bank
Interview ahead of Payments Forum 2019 (Get 15% discount on the Forum using presenter code: PAYMENTS88)
Can you please tell the Risk Insights readers a little bit about yourself, your experiences and what your current professional focus is?
With over 30 years’ experience with Clydesdale Bank I have enjoyed a varied career covering a wide range of traditional retail banking roles. I have been actively engaged In the Payments arena since 2009 and currently have responsibility for all our Payments Industry engagement, both domestic and non-domestic.
In recent years I have served as a Director of various domestic payment schemes (Bacs, CHAPS, Faster Payments) and have been part of the changing governance models which saw CHAPS migrate to the Bank of England and Bacs and Faster Payment become part of Pay.UK.
With the constant pace of change across the Industry showing no sign of relenting, current focus is very much centred on ensuring compliance with all regulatory deliverables, while ensuring that we embrace the new functionality, currently being developed, to provide greater functionality and a richer experience for our customers.
What, for you, are the benefits of attending a conference like the Payments Forum and what can attendees expect to learn from your session?
Having attended the 2018 Payments Forum, I would say that the key benefits for participants centre around the wide range of topics on offer, and the opportunity to discuss the various emerging issues with likeminded payment professionals.
The ability to interact on a formal and informal basis with other participants provides an excellent opportunity to broaden networks, and to get to the heart of the aspects which are currently challenging our industry.
I would hope that my session will provide a broader perspective on where the new payments landscape is going, and the depth of opportunity that this presents for both the industry and the consumer.
In your opinion, what do you think will be the main challenge when adapting to the new payment landscape and what can be done to ensure resilience?
Developing the new payment landscape will bring with it a myriad of challenges across a wide range of areas. Key amongst these is consumer confidence, knowing that the platforms and systems which underpin their daily financial requirements are strong, robust and capable of delivering when and where they need them.
Resilience will be critical across all aspects of the new landscape, and this will require a different approach from the traditional ‘old school’ views of how infrastructures are designed and delivered. Greater use of modern technologies will be essential if we are to provide greater flexibility and a richer customer experience, with an always available capability to meet the needs of the ‘on-demand’ generation.
What infrastructure limitations can large financial institutions expect to face when keeping up with regulatory changes?
Large financial institutions are often held back by legacy platforms, and antiquated processing capability which has traditionally underpinned a wide range of their core operating capabilities.
The need to develop new and innovative alternatives while responding to the ever-increasing regulatory demands provides the larger institutions with increasing challenges around allocating investment spend to update legacy versus the need to develop new, while ensuring that all aspects of their infrastructure continues to provide interoperability and a seamless customer experience.
Customer confidence is vital to ensure resilience to the new payment landscape evolution, how can you ensure mass customer adoption?
Change always takes time to find the tipping point where it becomes accepted as the new norm. Recent experiences within the industry around contactless payments and mobile technologies show that for even the most tech savvy of customers it can take several years before mass adoption and full acceptance is reached.
Critical in this evolution is clearly articulating to the customer the benefits, ‘what’s in it for me’. Ease of use, with simple repeatable actions find favour with wider audiences.
Trust, reliance, and acceptance are all key factors in ensuring that customers know what they are getting, understand how it works, and can rely on it to meets their needs.
How do you see the impact of Payments evolving over the next 6-12 months?
The advent of Open Banking provides a huge opportunity for the payments landscape to evolve in ways that were previously never considered possible.
As more ‘non-traditional’ players enter the market, providing new and innovative ways for customers to transact it will see a breaking down of some of the old and established methods. Whilst many customers may not readily respond to the new and evolving landscape, there will be many who readily embrace the new digital revolution and who look to drive product and service development in new directions.
With ever evolving regulation being introduced to ensure that the customer is protected it will be for the industry to find the balancing point between protection and service, ensuring customer demands are met.
Please note, all views expressed are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of my employer