By Maimun Mustafa
The first Bangladesh Fintech Summit 2019 was held on November 23, 2019, to bolster the growth of the Fintech Industry in the country. The promoters of the event, the Bangladesh Fintech Forum believes that fintech will be one of the key industries that will play a role in the development of Bangladesh towards its goal and thus the Fintech Summit 2019 will act as a catalyst in that space. The day-long event was organized by Bangladesh Brand Forum and was attended by more than 300 financial professionals across the country.
The theme for the summit was ‘Shaping the Future of Finance for People’ with the goal to provide collaborative space to fintech companies to exchange learning, success, and failure with present and aspiring fintech companies. Additionally, it provided a space for entrepreneurs to initiate policy dialogue for the right policy framework for future fintech companies to thrive sustainably. Overall this initiative envisioned to nurture the fintech ecosystem so that the nation reap the full benefits of Global Fintech momentum.
4 keynote sessions were the primary highlights of this conference with two additional 2 Insight Sessions and 5 Panel Discussions involving international and local industry leaders. Moreover, the itinerary included 1 Insight Session, 1 Case Study presentation and two Breakout Sessions. In the opening speech of the summit Sanjoy Datta, Financial Services Industry Leader, Deloitte South Asia stated,”Fintechs have changed how financial services are structured, provisioned and consumed, they have laid the foundation for future disruption and set the pace with which incumbent financial institutions need to respond to customer expectations.” Shariful Islam, Founder & Managing Director of Bangladesh Brand Forum reaffirmed this by adding, ”Fintech and financial innovation will play a pivotal role in pursuing inclusive and sustainable progress for Bangladesh.”
The 4 international keynote speakers for the summit were: Sanjoy Datta, Financial Services Industry Leader, Deloitte South Asia who spoke on the ‘Global Fintech Trends’, Jaspreet Bindra, Digital Transformation & BlockChain Expert, Author of the Tech Whisperer stating his keynote on “Blockchain & Cryptocurrency”, Shilin Wu, Global Business Manager of Zoloz Solution Architect, Ant Financial Services Group and Lauren Liang, Head of Strategic Partnerships – Innovation, LumenLab, MetLife Innovation Centre. Jaspreet Bindra captivated the audience by demystifying blockchain technologies but mentioned that they were not a here-and-now technology yet. Nevertheless, companies should invest in to benefit in the coming years.
Some of the eminent panel members of the summit were: Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Coordinator, Sustainable Development Goals, (SDG) Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Anubrata Chakrabarti, Partner Deloitte Touche, Tohmatsu, India LLP, Rahel Ahmed, Managing Director and CEO, Prime Bank Limited, Mashrur Arefin, Managing Director & CEO, City Bank Limited, Md. Arfan Ali, President & Managing Director, Bank Asia Limited, Ali Reza Iftekhar, Managing Director & CEO, Eastern Bank Limited had a lively discourse on Banking in the Digital Age where issues such as trade-offs between regulatory guidelines and bank high overheads came to light. The other sessions discussed fintech trends, future of payments, digital lending, financial inclusion, digital identity, and ideal regulation issues.