Podcast Series

Deciphered: The Fintech Podcast

Deciphered: The Fintech Podcast

Brought to you by Bain & Co., each episode of Deciphered brings insight and analysis on specific industry topics, dissected with data with help from fantastic guests.



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Episode 21: Live from Money 20/20 Europe 2024 in Amsterdam, Anthony Craufurd, director of venture and startup engagement at Visa Europe, and Ronit Ghose, global head of banks research and cohead of fintech at Citi’s Future of Finance, join Bain partner Jeff Tijssen, Bain’s global head of fintech, and Deciphered podcast host Adam Davis. As new technologies meet legacy systems, they’re sending incumbents and scaled fintechs into perennial transformation. This group of experts will discuss how these technologies, particularly generative AI, will shape the near future. What is “substance” and what is “noise”? The group will share some examples of practical applications of new technologies that are changing the financial services landscape and where they think the best bets might be in terms of investment. They’ll also explore which of these new technologies may just be overhyped. Of course, at Money20/20, no episode would be complete without a discussion on the insights that have surprised this group.

Guests: Anthony Craufurd, Director of Venture and Startup Engagement, Visa Europe 
Ronit Ghose, Global Head of Banks Research and Cohead of Fintech, Citi’s Future of Finance

Episode 20: Deciphered host Adam Davis, Bain associate partner, and guest host Erin McCune, Bain partner, are joined by technology expert guests Sladjana Jovanovic, chief information officer, Canadian personal business banking technology and B2C data transformation at BMO Financial Group, Ed McLaughlin, president and chief technology officer at Mastercard, and Daragh Morrissey, director of AI – WW financial services at Microsoft. This dynamic group have a rousing discussion surrounding two of the most talked about trends in the payments space: AI and Quantum. The group explores how our guests’ corporations are leveraging these technologies to build inclusive payments ecosystems. They also touch on how each of these trends has the potential to transform the payments ecosystem in its own unique way, enabling financial inclusion, increasing security, and providing more convenient experiences for customers.

Guests: Sladjana Jovanovic, Chief Information Officer, Canadian Personal Business Banking Technology & B2C Data Transformation, BMO Financial Group, Ed McLaughlin, President & Chief Technology Officer, Mastercard and Daragh Morrissey, Director, AI - WW Financial Services, Microsoft

Episode 19: Host Adam Davis is joined by Wendy Redshaw, chief digital information officer at NatWest, and Jason Maude, chief technology advocate at Starling Bank, to get to the heart of the question: Is there a technology gap between incumbents and challengers in the financial services space? The group will explore the often-lauded competition between challengers (both neobanks and fintechs) and incumbents, digging deeper into the fairness behind the criticism of a technological gap. Expert guests Wendy and Jason each provide some background on their respective organizations, discussing topics ranging from the technological decisions that have been made to support the organizations where they are today to the transformation efforts and new technologies that will be taking these organizations into the future, with a particular focus on machine learning and generative artificial intelligence. The group also shares some emerging trends in the industry that they’re excited about as well as some predictions for the next 18 months. 

Guests: Wendy Redshaw, Chief Digital Information Officer, NatWest and Jason Maude, Chief Technology Advocate, Starling Bank

Episode 18: Host Adam Davis is joined by several expert guests on the topic of wholesale payments, including cohost Erin McCune, an expert partner with Bain & Company; Thierry Chilosi, chief strategy officer at Swift; and Manish Kohli, head of global payments solutions at HSBC. Though we spend a lot of time focusing on retail payments, such as e-commerce, neobanks, digital wallets, and the like, the vast majority of global payment volume originates with businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and government entities. In this episode, the group discusses what wholesale payments (i.e., business-to-business payments) are and how the landscape is evolving around them. They explore the trends driving innovation today and how their respective organizations are responding. They also delve into current and future profit pools, including how fintechs are carving out their own opportunity in the space. Lastly, the group takes a “future back” approach to imagine what the wholesale payments landscape might be like 10 to 15 years from now and the strategic implications. 

Guests: Thierry Chilosi, Chief Strategy Officer, Swift and Manish Kohli, Head of Global Payments Solutions, HSBC

Bonus: In this special episode of Deciphered, host Adam Davis sits down for a one-on-one deep dive on the topic of embedded finance with industry expert and guest Aman Narain, Global Head of Platforms & Embedded Banking at HSBC. The two discuss Aman’s journey towards getting involved in embedded finance, the state of the industry, business challenges and opportunities in the market, and the trends they’re most excited about.

Guests: Aman Narain, Global Head of Platforms & Embedded Banking, HSBC

Episode 17: Hosts Adam Davis and Jeff Tijssen are joined by industry experts Richard Davies, CEO of Allica Bank, and Christina Riechers, General Manager of Square Banking, to discuss the current state of the SMB market in Financial Services and what the future-state may look like. Gone are the days when small and midsize businesses were offered financial products through personal banking channels; the influence of fintechs, political pressures, and the significant margins available to providers have contributed to an industry transformation over the last decade. The financial products and services needed by SMBs are complex. In this episode, we explore how digital channels can tailor products to an SMB’s size, vertical, industry, maturity, and business model.

Guests: Richard Davies, CEO, Allica Bank and Christina Riechers, General Manager, Square Banking

Episode 16: For the final episode of 2023, Deciphered hosts Adam Davis and Jeff Tijssen are joined by Bain colleagues Mariagiovanna Di Feo, Mike Cashman, and Michael Smith to discuss the top trends of 2023 and what we could expect to see for the industry in 2024. This lineup represents many different areas of Bain’s Financial Services business, including Fintech, Payments, and Private Equity—they’ll use their diverse expertise to look back on the year, including a reflection on the 2023 trends originally predicted in the December 2022 episode. The group will also discuss their views for the industry into 2024, with a key focus on investor appetite and payments. Finally, the group will share their predictions for general trends for 2024 and share fintech innovations, products, and services they’re excited about for the new year. 

Guests: Mariagiovanna Di Feo, Partner at Bain & Company, Michael Cashman, Partner at Bain & Company and Michael Smith, Partner at Bain & Company

Episode 15: Live from the MoneyPot podcast booth at Money20/20 USA in Las Vegas, Bain hosts Jeff Tijssen, global head of Bain’s fintech business, and Michael Cashman, a partner with Bain’s Private Equity and Financial Services practices, are joined by guests Sophia Bantanidis, Future of Finance from Citi Global Insights, and Peter Hazlehurst, CEO and cofounder of Synctera. The group discusses the main events that have shaped 2023 and how financial institutions and fintechs can defy uncertainty by boosting returns on new engines of growth heading into 2024. They explore public market concerns regarding the volatile health of global banks leading the financial system to a state of disequilibrium, what the future of finance may look like, and how financial institutions can deal with the new stressors that are pressuring the banking system and broader economy. There’s no better place than Money20/20 USA for this group to ponder how financial institutions might pivot from the tempting cost-cutting playbook to instead put forward more innovative bets and to share their points of view on where opportunities can arise out of market disruption.

Guests: Sophia Bantanidis, Future of Finance, Citi Global Insights at Citi and Peter Hazlehurst, CEO and Cofounder at Synctera

Episode 14: Host Adam Davis and Bain colleague Bhavi Mehta, a partner and global leader in Advanced Analytics with the firm’s Financial Services practice, are joined by guests Sarah Hinkfuss, partner at Bain Capital Ventures, and CJ Przybyl, cofounder and CEO of Reserv, for a compelling conversation on the competitive advantages and impacts of AI in fintech. Generative AI has quickly captured the headlines for its transformative potential across many industries, including financial services. Indeed, we’ve seen a tremendous spike across various banks and fintechs considering AI, delving into what it means for them and what opportunities this technology provides. In this highly topical episode, our group of experts will discuss the background on the rise of AI in financial services, key considerations financial institutions should be aware of, industry use cases, and future predictions for the short and long term.  


Sarah Hinkfuss, Partner, Bain Capital Ventures and CJ Przybyl, Cofounder and CEO, Reserv

Episode 13: Host Adam Davis is joined by Bain colleague Maureen Burns and Head of Strategy, Digital, Innovation, and Enterprise Payments at Wells Fargo, Ather Williams III, to take an in-depth look at one of the biggest retail banks in the world to understand how it continues to innovate and embrace new technologies, despite a myriad of influences. Discussing the question “How do you keep innovating in the largest financial institutions?” they’ll explore the answers, including staying as close as possible to the customer and flipping the script on how banking has evolved to date. The group will also discuss top challenges to innovation in large financial institutions and how best to surmount them. Our guest finds that by looking at what is changing in the macro environment and customer needs, large financial institutions are using their capabilities, knowledge, and new technologies to deliver the outcomes customers are looking for, rather than using a product-centric approach to selling customers products they already have.

Guests: Ather Williams III, Head of Strategy, Digital, Innovation, and Enterprise Payments

Episode 12: In this special episode, LIVE from Money20/20 in Amsterdam, we explore why large financial institutions are seeing value in making investments in 2023, and where they’re looking to place their bets. The group will get under the hood and explain the strategic decisions of large financial institutions to either consolidate and innovate organically or make acquisitions to yield instant capability uplifts, accelerate time to market, and launch new ventures. In a lively debate with our expert guests, we will dig deeper into the type of FinTechs that are being acquired, the positioning of VC and PE learnings from 2022, and the macro-economic environment more broadly. 

Guests: Janine Hirt, CEO, Innovate Finance; and Shannee Braun, Director, EQT

Episode 11: During the spring of 2023, you couldn’t have missed the headlines about the banking sector … wherever you live around the world. Years of fiscal stimulus, loose monetary policy, and banks’ handling of excess liquidity have put new stresses on banks, not just in the US but into Europe and beyond. In this episode, an all-Bain & Company lineup of experts come together to explore whether there’s currently a crisis when it comes to banking liquidity. They’ll outline perspectives on the issues we’re seeing, potential solutions, and where this could lead. The group will discuss expectations for when the banking system and broader economy will find their footing and what the new reality will look like—marked, at least initially, by high rates and greater volatility. All in all, the unfolding liquidity issue across banking has been benchmarked in some quarters against the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. The question this episode will explore: Is this a fair assessment? 

Guests: Joe Fielding, Partner at Bain & Company, Maria Teresa Tejada, Expert Partner at Bain & Company and Giulio Naso, Partner at Bain & Company

Episode 10: In this episode, we explore the future of the rich, growing industry that is retail payments. Not only are alternative payment methods such as account-to-account services and digital wallets seeing major growth but traditional credit card and debit card volumes are also seeing growth, thus continuing the replacement of cash in many markets. As the balance of power continues to shift between traditional players and new entrants, we’ll discuss what it takes to stay relevant in this fast-changing industry. Bain & Company experts and our knowledgeable guests will delve into the market’s current state of play, discuss our outlook concerning the future of retail payments over the next decade, and break down a future-back approach to strategy with perspectives on how to outperform in this ever-changing market.

Guests: Kelly Devine, President – UK and Ireland, Mastercard; Colin O’Flaherty, Managing Director – Head of SME, Barclaycard Payments

Episode 9: In this episode, we deep-dive into the world of insurance—namely, how the traditional premise of providing capital to cover risk and reimburse claims doesn’t necessarily satisfy anymore. Increasingly, customers want insurers to redefine their role. This provides tremendous opportunity for insurers to drive more customer engagement and help build loyalty in what has typically been a low-touch business. We’ll discuss the ins and outs of loyalty in insurance and the current landscape for insurers and insurtechs through five key lenses: customer engagement, preventing consumer risk, leading with purpose, building and scaling, and outlook. Ultimately, over the next 5 to 10 years, will a significant share of consumers use services beyond coverage from insurance providers? Will insurers achieve an increase in adoption?

Guests: Prashant Agarwal, Head of Digital, Customer & Ecosystem Marketing, AIA and Ben Luckett, Chief Innovation Officer, Aviva

Episode 8: In this episode, we explore the shift from open banking to open finance, the material contributions we’ve seen to innovation provided by open banking, what the future state of open finance may look like, and how far away an open finance utopia really may be. The scope of open banking has been gradually widening from banking to finance in several countries across the globe, and we’ll discuss the current and future state of this shift. We’ll also consider the introduction of open banking and open finance in the US as well as the move from open banking to open data economies—and what this means for banks and other financial institutions as well as consumers.

Guests: Charlotte Crosswell OBE , Chair, Centre for Finance, Innovation, and Technology (CFIT); Keith Grose, Chief Operating Officer, Sequence; and Alex Johnson, Creator, Fintech Takes

Episode 7: In the final episode of 2022, Deciphered hosts Adam Davis and Jeff Tijssen are joined by Bain colleagues Karim Ahmad, Michael Cashman, and Michael Smith to discuss the top trends in fintech going into 2023. These guests bring together their diverse expertise as we explore how the turbulence of this past year—from geopolitical conflicts to rising interest rates and threats of a recession—will impact and shape the fintech ecosystem into 2023 and beyond. Key themes the group will discuss include consolidation and acquisition in the market, the regulatory environment, tokenization and chain adoption, and the continuation of embedded finance and other 2022 trends spilling into the new year.

Guests: Karim Ahmad, Expert Partner at Bain & Company, Michael Cashman, Partner at Bain & Company and Michael Smith, Partner at Bain & Company

Episode 6: In this episode, recorded live at Money20/20 in Las Vegas, hosts Adam Davis and Jeff Tijssen are joined by Simon Taylor of Sardine and Laura Spiekerman of Alloy to discuss the outlook for fintechs over the next 18 months. With rates on the rise, many neobank and fintech C-suites haven’t experienced life in a high-interest-rate environment. We’ll delve into the effects of the macro headwinds we’ve been seeing and some products and innovations we’re excited about, despite (or because of) the current macroeconomic climate. We’ll also explore whether long-term strategies should be cast aside for short-term gains and immediate revenue, and whether a seamless pivot is even possible.

Guests: Simon Taylor, Head of Strategy, Sardine and Laura Spiekerman, Cofounder and Chief Revenue Officer, Alloy

Episode 5: In this episode, we explore how macroeconomic trends have affected crypto as an asset, separating the opportunists from the “purists” in the industry. We’ll discuss the opportunity for purists who have been quietly building—away from the volatility, away from the hype and hope, and using underlying blockchain technologies to power new use cases that can meet systemic problems within our financial system. We’ll explore where institutional adoption of blockchain is right now, some of the most applicable use cases, and where it might go in the future. 

Guest: Morgan McKenney, CEO, Provenance Blockchain Foundation  and Todd McDonald, Cofounder and Chief Strategy Officer, R3

Episode 4: In this episode, we explore what the future holds for neobanks, with so few currently profitable in the face of a current economic downturn. We’ll discuss the challenges of setting business strategies over the next couple of years, answering key questions such as whether neobanks should pursue growth at the expense of unit economics, how they can continue to differentiate their revenue streams from one another, and ultimately what they should do as rising rates pressure investors to stay clear of potentially “riskier” assets.

Guest: Valentina Kristensen, Director of Growth & Communications at OakNorth and Nik Milanović, Founder of This Week in Fintech

Episode 3: In this episode we dive deeper into what embedded finance means for the traditional banking value chain. We’ll discuss how big the opportunity could get, some of the most pertinent use cases, and how wannabe players in the new value chain can start thinking about their participation choices and how to build the necessary capabilities to serve customers.

Guests: Matt Harris, Partner at Bain Capital and Sophie Guibaud, co-founder and CCO at Fiat Republic.

Episode 2: Almost halfway through the year, macroeconomic headwinds are significantly affecting the valuations of private and public fintech companies. With a possible recession looming, higher inflation squeezing consumer spending, and interest rates on the rise globally, it’s a stark contrast to only a few months ago, when fintech valuations were at their peak.

In this episode, we’ll dive deeper into what these headwinds mean for fintechs, where investors could and should look for growth, and how long this period of instability might last.

Guest: Tim Levene, Partner and CEO of Augmentum Fintech plc and Sarah Kocianski, Head of Strategic Insights at Founders Factory

Episode 1: 2021 was the year of explosive growth for BNPL, but in 2022 macro-economic factors and regulation will impact its course. The BNPL industry has seen a proliferation of players entering the market on thin margins. With our analysis suggesting the revenue is likely to ~3x for BNPL players over the next 5 years, is there room for everyone or will the unit economics, regulatory changes and macro-economic environment only allow for a small amount of players to emerge in a big way?

Guest: Nigel Verdon, CEO at Railsbank and Alexandra Lang, GM, Director of Product for Debit+ at Affirm

Featured Insights

Featured Experts

Adam Davis Expert Associate Partner London

Fintech: Identify new growth opportunities with digital propositions

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