The Thought Leader's Voice Podcast
Tailoring your B2B Integrated Marketing Strategy for FinTech
As part of our Thought Leaders Voice podcast series, we are thrilled to be in a conversation with Simon Barnby on ‘Tailoring your B2B Integrated Marketing Strategy for FinTech.’
In the Thought Leaders’ Voice podcast series, we explore the world of how independent thought leaders bring their ideas to scale within the business world and share powerful, thought-provoking insights with our listeners.
Our objective from this podcast series remains to educate senior-level marketers and business thought leaders to help them solve some of the most quizzing marketing questions popping up right now.
This is an independent and self-sponsored series aimed towards enhancing the profiles and importance of Thought Leadership amongst senior marketers, communications professionals, and business leaders.
Our guest today is Simon Barnby, CMO at Archax, a company bringing to the table crypto assets/blockchain technology combined with capital markets and traditional financial services expertise to create a unique platform.
Simon is an internationally experienced executive, having worked for both entrepreneurial start-ups as well as US and UK headquartered global corporates.
He has spent much of his career in senior marketing, commercial and management roles within financial services, specifically, capital markets and most recently, the FinTech space and crypto assets/blockchain-based financial platforms.
Simon has experience in strategic digital and traditional marketing, brand building, entrepreneurship, business development, project management and international commerce, board-level reporting, ownership and growth of significant revenue streams and budgets.
Crucially in this specialist area of financial services, Simon has also been actively involved in the design, launch and support of trading systems across various asset classes. Perhaps rather helpful in achieving that, Simon has an Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree.
With a background spanning engineering, financial markets, the technical side of financial services such as creating and building platforms, and of course, marketing at a senior level, Simon’s wealth of business experience is key in addressing new markets and leading the way in the crypto assets space.
Join the conversation to access actionable advice shared in an incredibly insightful way.
- What are some of the key marketing challenges and opportunities arising from existing or upcoming financial regulation, and how can we navigate them?
- Regulatory uncertainty is probably the biggest concern for fintech companies. What are some of the key marketing challenges that when it comes to navigating existing financial regulations and how can one overcome these challenges?
- What PR/Marketing tactics have proven to be most effective in building relationships with traditional financial institutions?
- Fintech startups lack the big budgets of traditional firms and are often dependent on venture capital funding, which can constrain budgets for marketing and PR. How can this barrier be overcome?
- How should FinTech startups market themselves differently from traditional financial services?
- There is a significant emphasis on education and information when introducing crypto to wider financial services markets, so how important is Thought Leadership in this space?
Full Transcript of Podcast with Simon Barnby
Rachael Kinsella: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the thought leader’s voice. I’m Rachael Kinsella Editor at iResearch services and your host today. Our guest today Simon Barnby, CMO at Archax, a company bringing to the table crypto assets, blockchain technology, combined with capital markets and traditional financial services expertise to create a unique platform. He’s going to be telling us a little bit more about that later on. Simon’s an internationally experienced executive having worked for both entrepreneurial start-ups, as well as US and UK headquartered global corporates. He spent much of his career in senior marketing roles, commercial and management, and financial services, specifically capital markets, and most recently in the FinTech space, looking at crypto assets, blockchain based financial platforms. Simon’s got experience in strategic digital and traditional marketing, brand building, entrepreneurship, business development, project management and international commerce, board level reporting, ownership and growth of significant revenue streams and budgets. So crucially, in the specialist area of financial services, Simon’s been actively involved in the design, launch and support of trading systems across various asset classes. Perhaps rather helpful in achieving that Simon has an electrical and electronic engineering degree. That’s easy to say. The background spanning engineering financial markets, the technical side of financial services, such as creating and building platforms, and of course marketing at a senior level, Simon’s wealth of business experience is key in addressing these new markets, and leading the way in the crypto asset space. Warm welcome, Simon. Thank you for joining us today at this very busy time.
Simon Barnby: Hi, Rachel, thanks for the great introduction. Very happy to be with you today.
Rachael Kinsella: Great. So, we’ll get straight into the questions. We’ve got quite a few to get through. If you’re happy to dive straight in. And you’re gearing up for launching and operating in a niche market, which obviously takes careful and tailored marketing and communications. What types of messaging and branding strategies do you feel resonate best with your target audiences?
Simon Barnby: Yeah, I guess there’s a number of facets to that question. I mean, first, you know, I guess, you know, we’re a start-up in the true sense of the word. It’s a new market, and we’re a new offering in a new market. And, you know, we’ve spent the last, well, three years really raising money for ourselves to grow the business, and also building out our technology platform ready for launch. And also getting the regulation in place which we need to be able to operate the services that we’re launching later this year. And technology builds and regulation applications, in particular, cost quite a bit of money, as well as time and effort. And so, you know, we’ve had, we haven’t had resource to really spend on marketing, particularly because the funds we have been very much focused on the technology built on the regulation. However, having said that, you know, we’ve been keen to establish profile in the marketplace and build a brand and everything. So, you know, the sort of more traditional routes that might be available to a larger, more established player have not been available to us, which, in a way is quite refreshing, because it means you have to think things a little bit differently. So, you know, we’ve made extensive use of digital marketing, because it’s obviously, you know, much more, it was cheaper and efficient and quick, and you can get instant measurement of results. We’ve made a lot of use of things like social media, building network, we’re leveraging networks of people that we already know, and then building out new networks of people through things like Twitter, and LinkedIn, you know, social media platforms that are quite accepted in the space. So yeah, doodle has been very important, but also the conference series is that used to take place prior to the pandemic, they’re about to kick in again, after the summer, we hope but obviously, not much has been happening, except virtually for the last 18 months or so. But certainly prior to that we went to a lot of conferences, you know, because it’s a great place to meet in a concentrated way, a whole load of people who are interested in a relevant space. So it’s a great way to say to meet them, to network with them to build networks and to sort of, you know, communicate with them and present ours, our tracks and our brand and story to them. So, a lot of activities around all those different areas really. But then as we prepare for launch, the focus will shift and we will then start to instigate more proactive marketing campaigns. As more sort of traditional style marketing campaigns, maybe leveraging the network that we built, but using more marketing in a more proactive way. The other area just to sort of finish the other facet, just to finish the sort of the, the answer off is, you know, we’re also selling to quite a niche audience. So, you know, our target marketplace is people involved in financial markets, both traditional, and digital, and crypto. And, you know, that is quite a niche audience, you know, you can’t use sort of broad-brush marketing campaigns, you can’t sort of do things you might be able to do if it was a more retail play, or it was a more B2B, but in a more general market segment. So again, you know, we have to be very focused in what we do, because obviously, every, every sort of all the money you spend, you know, you have to justify it and sort of broad-brush marketing that doesn’t, that isn’t focused enough, just doesn’t really pay for itself.
Rachael Kinsella: Absolutely, I think so it’s been all that groundwork, building the relationships, and building the network and the contacts, but again, in a very targeted way, and then potentially an opportunity to be a little bit more creative in terms of digital marketing, and personalizing that in the right way, and making sure that it’s targeted to your niche audience.
Simon Barnby: Yeah, exactly. I mean, in terms of the kind of the materials that we’ve produced, that we have, distributed in a, in sort of using digital techniques, and social media and the like, again, we’ve made sure it’s pretty targeted, we haven’t produced lots of materials that just go on about ourselves too much, you know, that kind of sort of advertising yourself, we don’t feel resonates with the audience, we’re targeting these people that we’re trying to reach their very time poor, they’re busy people, you got to reach out to them with a message that resonates and catches their attention as and is of interest or benefit to them. So, we very much focus on the challenges and opportunities that people face out in the capital market space generally. And also the interesting sort of opportunities that new digital and crypto techniques and concepts like tokenization, and, you know, new instruments like Bitcoin, that sort of new, that those new things, we focus on those kinds of materials, so, you know, extensive use of sort of, you know, articles that we then push out on platforms like LinkedIn and Medium, we, you know, we have used quite a lot, quite a few press releases, but again, focusing on the people that we’re working with, and the benefits that we’re bringing, rather than just talking about ourselves all the time. And often, you know, when we’re out and about at conferences and meetups, when they were happening, sort of promoting the fact that we are there and people can come and meet us and you know, finding ways to connect and build a network through a combination of physical presence of events and sort of social media and digital activity.
Rachael Kinsella: Yeah, so it’s really a case of showcasing that market knowledge and understanding, highlighting the challenges and opportunities, and building out the capabilities and showing what’s on offer, because it is quite a unique platform that you’re building. So, I guess we know that educational pieces is really important. And I think we’ll touch on that again, later on thought leadership education, and content marketing focus. But one of the key areas I think, financial services and FinTech companies are seeing as a challenge, but also potentially an opportunity is regulation and building that credibility through regulation and certification, and also providing education on what that means. And it’s something that, obviously, is prevalent across traditional financial services. And they’ve been dealing with a whole host of regulation for a decade or so, plus, an increasingly, FinTech companies are facing similar challenges. What’s your experience of it?
Simon Barnby: Yeah, I mean, I think, a couple of key points there really, I mean, the first thing, you know, regulation, I mean, we the concept behind our checks is that you know, we the core team, we all come from traditional financial markets. So, we understand that regulated institutional, traditional financial markets world, but also big believers in crypto, blockchain, instruments like Bitcoin that are pioneered new ways of doing things. And the whole concept of tokenization you know, creating tokenizing assets to create fractional ownerships, you know, in a natively digital way. So, we kind of big believers in all of that, and the strategy for our chapters is really to build a bridge between that new cool crypto world and the more traditional regulated financial market space, and actually launch products and services that leverage these new instruments, these new concepts and package them up in ways that was a very palatable to that traditional audience. And so, regulation is a key part of that. And we looked at what we needed to be regulated, and we looked at where we could get regulated. And you know, there are smaller jurisdictions where it’s maybe easier, cheaper, quicker to get regulated. And, you know, there’s nothing wrong with being regulated in those places. However, if you actually want to target kind of mainstream institutional financial markets, participants, then they certainly favour venues or providers of services that are regulated in key financial centres, you know, like London. So, you know, we went down that route of getting regulated by the FCA, the Financial Conduct Authority here in London. And, you know, it’s a long journey. I mean, it took two years, probably from start to finish. And, there’s a lot of work involved. But it was refreshing, actually, because when we started to talk to the regulator, you know, it was clear that they had thought about this, the new things that were happening in the digital world, the crypto world, they had formed opinion about what elements of it fall under their regulation, should fall under their regulation and what elements don’t. So, they had a pretty clear picture. But they were pretty tough on, you know, requirements to operate in it. So, as I say, it was a long journey. But yeah, we came out the other side of it towards the end of last year with the regulations we need in place, which is, you know, regulations as a digital asset exchange, a brokerage and a regulated custodian, as well as their new crypto asset register, which has come in recently. So, we have everything we need in place. And in fact, it gives us a unique regulatory stack, because no one else has that regulation. So on the one hand, you know, regulation can be frustrating, because it kind of hinders innovation, or stifles it sometimes, and, you know, it can be a bit of a pain for the technologists who love the technology, but just want to use it, but then get stopped or hindered by regulation. So, it can be frustrating. But on the other hand, you know, if you want to sort of target the wall of money that exists in the institutional financial market space, you know, you have to be regulated, there is no way around it, or you have to provide products and services that operate in the way that institutions need to operate. And that’s what we’re doing, we’re kind of, you know, now we’ve got something unique in terms of regulation, we’re leveraging it, and providing products and services under its umbrella, which allows us to, to differentiate ourselves from a lot of the other players that are out there and serve a marketplace that institutional marketplace that hasn’t really been served to directly before
Rachael Kinsella: Brilliant! The case of making sure that all the different regulation is in place, mapping your services to those traditional institutions, and also opening up new markets and new opportunities for them, that they wouldn’t have had access to before in a regulated way, which surely builds credibility and will start to garner attention in this space.
Simon Barnby: Yeah, it certainly does. And, but it is complicated, because, you know, then, you know, we’re launching a global venue. So, we can list issuances from around the globe and have trading participants around the globe. So, although we’re based and regulated in London, and that’s where the marketplace, that’s where the services, we have operated and a regulated. You know, when you’re serving clients from other jurisdictions, you have to worry about them and their regulations in that jurisdiction, whether they’re able to do what they want to do with us. And, you know, for us to offer products and services in some jurisdictions, you know, there is a sort of a complex regulatory matrix that you have to navigate, you know, these things are not easy once regulations kick in. There’s also all sorts of regulations that dictate that certain things have to be in place in the way regulated, secondary markets have to offer that, you know, maybe things like blockchain and tokenization could do away with but the reality is, whilst regulations dictate they have to be there, then we have to adhere to them. And that is particularly true when you kind of bring up a foreign issued issuance into a UK regulated market. You know, there are some sort of hurdles one has to jump to make that happen. But you know, none of this is insurmountable. It’s complicated and difficult sometimes, but finding ways to solve it is actually quite fun. And it gives us an opportunity to launch products and services to people that haven’t been available before. And we believe over time, you know, regulations will evolve. You know, but some of the benefits of blockchain and tokenization that can’t fulfil their full potential right now will come over time, these things take time, but we’re certainly here for the long game, you know, it’s, we believe in the sort of the long term future of what we’re doing, and the, you know, the real digitization of capital markets.
Rachael Kinsella: And it gets sort of, you know, on the one hand, it’s educating wider markets, around the opportunities that come with, with crypto assets, and, and new ways of operating these markets. And also, having that trust, that the services are regulated and are, you know, fit for purpose. And I think, you know, over the years, there’s been a bit of a frosty relationship between the more traditional financial institutions and the new FinTech’s coming in. And now we’re seeing that shift into more of collaboration, away from sort of competing out right to working, you know, particularly the traditional financial institutions, with FinTech providers to bring new products and services and platforms to life. How do you see that evolving in your experience? Obviously, you’ve talked about building bridges between those traditional financial institutions and the traditional capital market space. And how do you see that evolving and you playing a part in that?
Simon Barnby: Sure. Yeah. I mean, you know, I think probably the starting point for that is education, as you’ve mentioned, I mean, the reality is that a lot of people in the traditional space don’t necessarily understand. I mean, I think more are all the time, but you know, there’s still a large number that don’t understand what it all means. And when you sort of mentioned crypto, people often just think Bitcoin, drug dealers and money laundering, they have quite a blinkered view, which is quite understandable, really, because, you know, unless you’re exposed to it, or immersed in it, you wouldn’t necessarily understand the, the other areas that exists. So, you know, I meet a lot of people, former colleagues and peers, from when I worked in the traditional space. And when I sort of say what I’m doing this quite often the reaction I get around this blinkered view around Bitcoin, but actually, when you actually take the time to explain what it means and the different types of digital assets that exist, and how some of these concepts are improvements to the way that capital markets work currently, people tend to get it. So, it’s not as though you have to persuade them to believe in something that they believe in, it’s more a case of you just have to educate them about something that they’re not too familiar with at the moment. So, you know, we have to do, and we know, we have to do a lot of that. And so, a fair amount of our marketing is about educating the marketplace. And often, you know, the first meeting with people is a sort of a more education one, but people you know, we tend to find they’re very open financial institutions, we talk to a very open about what we’re doing, they like what we’re doing, they can, once they understand it, they can see potential benefits, and ways of kind of leveraging what’s coming. And also, you know, firms like that, you know, maybe quite a lot of firms don’t want to be the first to jump in, but they certainly don’t want to be the last and missed the boat. So, you know, so I think, you know, people keep watching more and more people watching AI on the space, and they want to get involved when the time is right. And, you know, we certainly think that, you know, launching the sort of first FCA regulated digital exchange, you know, is a milestone for the industry, you know, so and we’ll help get more people involved who maybe have sat on the side-lines a bit because they didn’t believe that the market infrastructure was ready for institutions to get involved. But yeah, so education is certainly a key part of it. And so, we’re always keen to get involved in anything that helps educate the space.
Rachael Kinsella: Great. So obviously, that forms a core part of your marketing strategy and communications as well. But education, building trust and credibility, myth busting, and demystifying crypto that sounds like it’s an enormous part and I can see sort of know how traditional perceptions are starting to evolve over time, but I’m sure there are still many across the industry and a real lack of understanding, as you say. Are you finding that there are particular channels and marketing and communications tactics that work best for getting those educational points across?
Simon Barnby: Yeah, I mean, I think you know, the podcast we’re doing today is a great example of a very effective way of Targeting, you know, a quite a sort of niche, well not to say niche, but a very targeted group of people. And having an opportunity to tell people about what’s going on in the marketplace and how we fit into it. And, you know, I mentioned before sort of conferences and events, there were, you know, there are lots of conferences that are quite specific in their focus in capital markets and crypto markets. And so, you know, being at them speaking at them, partaking in panels at them is, is a great way to also, you know, we work with sort of industry bodies and associations, I mean, for example, there’s an entity in the UK called the UK broker Club, which is an association of, you know, UK based brokers, and several 100 members, and, you know, and it’s really, to help brokers get together and learn about different things and discuss different things. And yeah, we’re working with them to, you know, to promote the digital capital markets to them and answer questions and bring panels together, and, you know, so channels that really get directly to the heart of the audience we are trying to communicate with, really helps. And then you know, then the whole sort of digital marketing and the social media sits alongside all of those three areas I’ve just mentioned, and kind of supports what you’re doing prior to the event supports you at the event and, and also sort of post event follow up. So, you get, you know, a number of bites of the cherry, and sort of leveraging all these different routers is very effective.
Rachael Kinsella: Yeah, so an absolutely integrated approach, in terms of conversations, articles, content creation, thought leadership programs, rolled out across different event opportunities, and then following up with that relationship building and continuing those conversations, which is really sort of a professional services type approach to marketing. But obviously, for this very niche audience, so working with trade bodies, and various membership organizations that are leading in that space, and are educating and providing that kind of content and myth busting facts and figures and an introductions, must be a really big part of the strategy. Is it going to be an area that you think the various trade bodies and organizations are going to focus on more as well?
Simon Barnby: I think there is a general interest, I mean, if you kind of look across a lot of sort of marketing channels that are open in the traditional financial market space, be they conferences, or news providers, or whatever, you know, a lot of them now have, you know, focus in to some extent on what’s happening in crypto and tokenization. And that area, so I think, you know, more and more channels are opening up and want to encompass some of these new concepts and new areas, to keep the, you know, their users, their members abreast of what’s happening. And so, you know, we’re and that’s really exciting for us, because it means, you know, we can work with them and provide interesting content and educational material to their audiences, you know, from what we’re doing. And like you say, it’s, you know, from our side, it’s very much a multi discipline, integrated approach. You know, we try and use all channels available to us. And, but then it’s really important, you know, the content then is, is really important, and really key, and, you know, sort of pulling together, you know, kind of cuts across the whole of the firm here at our church, because you kind of want the subject matter experts to be involved. Because the pure marketing is a method of getting information out to people, the actual content needs to be really credible and interesting, and educating and, as well, and so we kind of leverage, you know, the whole team here gets involved in supporting the production of content to use in these marketing campaigns.
Rachael Kinsella: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you’re leading the way in this space, and in terms of your offering and what you’re launching. So, the thought leaders, the subject matter experts within the business need to be in front of everybody and talking about the right things in the right way. So those conversations and that Matt content will be critical.
Simon Barnby: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s, you know, it’s a vital part of it and, you know, in previous lives in the more traditional space, you know, a content-based marketing campaigns was certainly where we always focused, you know, if you go on about yourself too much and how good you are and how brilliant you are and how bad the competition is, and people are wise to that. You know, it doesn’t really connect with people. Anything you say negative about others is ignored. And anything you say positive about yourself is taken with a bit of a pinch of salt. But you know, it doesn’t necessarily have to be educational, though, that’s key for what we’re doing with crypto stuff at the moment, but it doesn’t need to resonate, it doesn’t need to deliver some kind of benefit or explain how, you know, people can improve things or address challenges or leverage opportunities. And so that that’s really our focus and what we do.
Rachael Kinsella: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, having that knowledge and an overview of the market, some future thinking of where it’s going to go. And, you know, staying on the pulse of what’s actually happening now. And I think that’s, you know, as important as the educational piece, and it sounds like it’s going to be an important area for you going forwards.
Simon Barnby: Yes, absolutely. It’s a sort of a, it’s a key part of what we’re doing. And as I touched on earlier, we’ve been kind of doing it in almost viral way, sort of leveraging technology to do things as easily and cheaply as possible, whilst we’re sort of building up the products and services that we want to launch. But then, once we’re live, and, you know, we will then do more proactive campaigns, but using the same techniques, but in a more proactive way.
Rachael Kinsella: Yeah, absolutely. So some good tips there for FinTech’s who lack the big budgets of the traditional firms or the big global corporates, and very dependent on funding that they have. So most viral approach in terms of conversations market knowledge, using an integrated approach across the different channels. And that education piece with a focus on the subject matter expertise within the industry.
Simon Barnby: Exactly, yeah.
Rachael Kinsella: Brilliant. Okay, I’m gonna ask you a few questions, put you on the spot a little bit. Around your key marketing communications challenges that you think that FinTech companies in the broader sense, will face over the next year or two. And then I’d like to conclude with your top myth busting points around the crypto space, because I think that would be really good to get across in this conversation.
Simon Barnby: Sure, yeah.
Rachael Kinsella: So, what do you think is going to be the key challenges, and indeed, the key opportunities for FinTech?
Rachael Kinsella: Yeah, absolutely. As you say, if you’ve got that network of, of journalists and editors and you know which media are tapping into your key audience. And then you’ve got something to say you’ve got interesting content that you can create with various subject matter experts or, you know, having an opinion, voice and interesting developments that are happening in the marketplace. And that’s a great free opportunity to really get your name out there. And, again, sort of set yourself up as this authority on the marketplace.
Simon Barnby: Yeah, I think that’s definitely true. It’s all about kind of, you know, establishing a brand and getting your positioning in the marketplace, right. And then sort of balancing self-promotion, with educational or informational type marketing, as well. And then, you know, and it’s not purely about written material, you know, it’s not just about articles and tweets, and then press releases, and the like, you know, video is really important, too. I mean, you know, certainly a well-constructed video, can get much higher rankings through Google and SEO type solutions, than the pure printed material. So, it can be beneficial to the take the video route, obviously, videos are a bit more, you know, they take more time to prepare, and, you know, maybe a bit more costly, depending on how you do them. But certainly, I mean, you know, we have a video that sits on our check size, it’s probably one thing that gets people, when people meet you, they’re not know that they kind of say to you, yeah, really great video I saw on your website, it’s pretty rare for them to say really good press release I saw on your website, you know, so video certainly has an impact, you know, and then effect and, you know, it’s quite a statement, you know, a slick video, it makes quite a statement about a company, it shows you’re pretty serious and credible, and everything else. So, it’s important to, to have a mix of all the different types of material that you have at your disposal.
Rachael Kinsella: Absolutely, yes. And potentially working alongside the trade bodies and other industry participants to collaborate on particular conversations or content across the various different channels and media types. Again, sort of, you know, being a leader in a particular industry opens up various channels, on in that sense, as well.
Simon Barnby: Yeah, I think that’s very true, I think, you know, working with those kind of bodies is really important. And also, material that has a, you know, a decent shelf life is important too. I mean, you know, typically when you put out a press release, you know, it’s kind of out there for a few days, it gets reported on, obviously, you put it on your website, and then it’s you know, its shelf life dies off pretty quickly. But you know, podcasts like this, you know, videos of panel discussions and things like that, they can quite often have a much longer shelf life, because they get put up and people who weren’t able to listen to them live if it was a live recording originally, you know, they could they sit there for a much longer period of time and have a much longer shelf life. So, you know, maybe they’re a bit more effort. And sometimes they might cost a bit more to produce but they’re great for longevity.
Rachael Kinsella: Yes, definitely. And again, as you mentioned, so people can review in their own time, and everyone’s so busy, particularly in financial services, it’s being able to put these conversations and points across in a way that can be downloaded or easily accessible at times when they can actually get in front of it and take the time to digest the information that’s been discussed, rather than, as you say, sort of always being able to attend a live event, whether that’s virtual or in person. So, I think yes, definitely all these digital areas are our real opportunity. And, as he say that some may take more time than others, but it’s a cost effective way of getting in front of the right people in the right way. So it’s definitely an area to explore. And I think that there’s still great opportunity there for financial firms and FinTech start-ups and new players in the space to really be quite creative there and start to carve out a niche.
Simon Barnby: Yeah, definitely totally, totally agree with all of that.
Rachael Kinsella: Yeah. Brilliant. Well, we’ve covered so much. Thank you for sharing all of your points about the way you’ve been marketing your company ready for launch, or how you’ve been talking about previous guises and previous campaigns and talking about the market more widely. Which brings us on to the final questions in terms of your top myth busting facts, points, figures, whatever you’d like to get across around crypto, what do you really want financial institutions to know about this space?
Simon Barnby: Sure. I mean, I think it was, I don’t know where to start, really, because there’s so many things, and it kind of depends on how far up the learning curve people are. But I think some of the key things are that, you know, I mean, you know, whether you believe in cryptocurrencies or not, you know, I think we’re here to stay, they are different to traditional currencies and different to traditional stores of value, like gold maybe. But just because they’re different doesn’t mean to say they’re wrong. They’re clearly quite volatile, you know, the bitcoin price has been all over the place, but there’s a lot of people that have made a lot of money. And, you know, they’re, I think they’re an interesting addition to a portfolio and should be considered not as a replacement for existing investment opportunities, but for a hedge or something different to look at. So, I think, I think you need to approach them with the right kind of mindset. And then, you know, they’re just part of the sort of toolkit of investment opportunities that’s available. I think, also, another thing, the way I was sort of talking about a little bit is, in a way, Bitcoin was maybe like a proof of concept as well, it’s kind of ,it’s operated as proving how things can be done differently. And off the back of what Bitcoin has pioneered, you know, we do have this concept of tokenization, you know, creating tokens on a blockchain that represent fractions of ownership in an asset, an asset could be physical, like, you know, real estate property, or it could be virtual, like, you know, shares in a company or something, you know, it’s just a, it’s really a technology, it’s not tokenisation isn’t necessarily a new asset class, it’s just a new technology, which, you know, we believe is a more efficient way of handling things, and then it’s done traditionally, in financial markets. And with a new technology comes sort of new opportunities to do things differently. For example, because it’s a cheaper, maybe more efficient way to operate financial markets, it means that, you know, things that maybe didn’t get opened up to a broader investor pool in the past can be now, and this whole tokenisation concept of, you know, people are looking at it to innovate and open up exotic asset classes to people to enable them to invest in them. So yes, there’s lots of funds, tokenization projects, and real estate tokenization projects, but also there’s things like, you know, people tokenizing portfolios of resources, and art and diamonds and portfolios of classic cars, you know, sort of ways of getting exposure to things that are currently pretty hard to trade, and also help bring liquidity to things that are, you know, currently fairly illiquid. So, I think that’s, you know, that’s all really interesting. And it’s important to kind of understand that all those opportunities exist as well. And then I guess the other thing is, you know, which we haven’t really touched on yet, and we don’t want to go into in too much detail, but is this sort of defy spaces distributed finance area, we’ve got all sorts of interesting new things around, you know, staking and lending and providing, you know, automated market making solutions in this distributed where there is no sort of Central Counterparty or market, it’s all very, it’s all a distributed, totally distributed architecture. You know, we think that is really interesting at the minute, it’s kind of the real, almost a wild west, it’s kind of the bleeding edge of what’s happening in the digital world, there’s all sorts of things being pioneered people questioning whether all of it is credible, and believable or not. But you know, markets always start like this, and then they slowly become established. And that certainly, we’re certainly looking at the defy space and, and thinking about ways we can bring our regulatory capabilities and our, you know, kind of our institutional knowledge and understanding of the controls and processes that need to exist and sort of overlaying that into onto some of these concepts that are being explored in the defy space and sort of, you know, producing like regulated defy products and services. So that’s certainly something that you know, you’ll see more from us on from next year. So I think, you know, it’s exciting to understand this natively digital financial markets world, you’ve kind of seen it happen in so many other segments, you know, you kind of look at what Amazon has done to the retail marketplace. What Uber and Airbnb have done to travel and, you know, booking places to stay. What Netflix has done to video, Spotify to music, you know, the digitization. People question whether it will ever become established before you know it, it does. And the capital markets have been electronic for a long time but they’ve never been natively digital. And that’s what we’re you know, pioneering and hope to, you know, lead the charge with our partners and others. Because we think it’s a really exciting opportunity that exists in that space.
Rachael Kinsella: Yeah, absolutely. It’s really exciting. Seeing that move to digital across financial markets, and seeing investments being conducted in it in a different way. And some of the examples that now are commonplace where industries have moved digitally. It’s fascinating, and it does seem like a very exciting opportunity. And I think being able to bring credibility and regulatory clout and an expertise. And that knowledge and expertise across financial markets is the way to approach these new areas this, the new wild west as you described it, I really like that analogy. And so, we wish you all the best of luck with everything, it sounds like you don’t need it, you’re very well prepared. But, it’s a very exciting time. I think it’s an exciting time for the industry, as far as we’re seeing traditional financial services and new FinTech capabilities, collaborating, creating new opportunities across the market. And things are only going to evolve and, and start to build in this area. So, it’s great to be seeing things play out at the forefront.
Simon Barnby: Great. Thanks very much for allowing me to join you today. I’ve been really interesting talking about it. And yeah, we’re very excited about what’s happening in this sort of digital capital market space.
Rachael Kinsella: Brilliant. Thank you, Simon. Really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today. It’s a busy time for you and it’s very, very hot here in London. So yes, appreciate you having a very full and frank conversation with us and we’ll be in touch again soon to talk more.
Simon Barnby: Thank you.
Rachael Kinsella: Thank you.
Guest Speaker Details
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonbarnby/
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