Facilitating Fintech industry has been one of the key initiatives of the FSC since Chairman Yim Jong-yong took office in March, 2015. To identify what needs to be done in order to successfully implement Fintech business in Korea, the FSC formed joint on-site teams with the FSS, which have been visiting 400+ financial institutions to listen to their voices and suggestions. One of the major obstacles, according to the financial market players, is the fact that financial companies and IT firms don’t know each other very well. In other words, financial firms are not aware of what kind of innovative technologies exist and IT companies don’t know what to do with there technology.
In a bid to narrow such gap between the two industries, the FSC in collaboration with Fintech Center hosted two rounds of a so called ‘Fintech Demo Day’, the first event ended in a great success on April 30. The second Fintech Demo Day was held on May 27 but this time with the participation of Fintech-related bodies, venture capitals, and angel investors from the UK. Fintech startups invited to Demo Day were given opportunities to showcase their technology to various financial companies. Financial institutions in return provided consulting to those firms on what can be done to make business models of the Fintech firms more lucrative.
One of the participants to the 2nd Demo Day was Level 39, UK’s most prominent Fintech accelerator. Level 39 was established in March, 2013 to support Fintech businesses. Its main function is to provide various programs such as marketing, investment promotion, and consulting to Fintech startups. In recognition of the Korean Fintech industry’s potential, it chose Korea as the first destination of its tour. During the event, Level 39 signed a MOU with the Korean counterpart, Fintech Center, and agreed to closely cooperate and coordinate for the development of Korea’s Fintech industry.
From the Fintech sector, 10 promising startup companies participated to the 2nd Demo Day and demonstrated their technologies. Irience, iris recognition technology provider, drew particularly huge interest from the media. According to the company representative, personal identity verification method using iris recognition technology in financial transactions is highly safe from identity theft and other frauds since a person’s iris cannot be duplicated. Moreover, financial consumers wouldn’t have to bother remembering IDs and passwords. Currently, financial regulators and banks are reviewing implementing identity verification using iris recognition in ATMs.
Another Fintech company showcases its technology of utilizing big data analysis results when rating a person’s credit. For instance, if an applicant for credit loan has records of purchasing study materials to earn certificates or enrolling for graduate school, such data can apply as a positive factor for his or her credit ratings. Besides current credit rating standards including financial transaction records and overdue histories, such technology is expected to more accurately and precisely evaluate or assess financial consumers’ ability to payback loan.
Eric Van der Kleij, Level 39 CEO, expressed high hope for the future of Korea’s Fintech industry. He said that if the FSC successfully carries out its financial regulatory reform efforts, Korea will be able to become a gateway for Fintech firms in the Asian region preparing to expand business westwards as well as for financial firms in Europe seeking to invest in Asia’s Fintech startups. He promised unsparing support and help in fostering Korea’s Fintech industry.
The FSC and Fintech Center will host a series of Demo-Days once in every month to give more chance to Fintech startups and financial institutions to seize new business opportunities.