Co-Founder & CEO
Hi Alex, tell us a bit about your role at the FinTech Association of Hong Kong, and your background in the industry
Please don’t call me a dinosaur just yet but this year, it will be my 18th year in the industry. 16 of which in banking particularly in Prime Brokerage and Brokerage. In the last two years, I have set up two ventures. The first one, a blockchain consultancy that failed for many reasons (technology was not ready, banks were not ready to pay, I was a tad too early) but got me to be known in the region for talking about how the future of financial services in general and capital markets in particular would look like now, in 5 years or 10 years through the adoption of blockchain. It broadened my personal brand from being a mere post-trade specialist. The second, FinFabrik, has just passed it’s first year anniversary on the 22nd of August. It has been an amazing journey though I don’t want to celebrate too soon as we have a lot of work to do!
This is a relatively new venture for you and your fellow committee members. What inspired your decision to form the association?
2 other co-founders (Florian Spiegl our COO and Marcel Van Der Vliet our CTO) and I decided to join forces and our experience after having acquired the IP of an amazing start-up, Investlab, a retail brokerage who unfortunately got liquidated after the contract with their main client got cancelled. We are humbled to have started with such a platform from the get-go. We had our first client within the first three months and have spent our first year modularising and strengthening our solutions.
What are the association’s main targets and goals?
FinFabrik is at the heart a technology builder run by practitioners with deep experience in capital markets, technology, private banking, telcos and asset management. We build solutions in capital markets and wealth management. Current solutions are BrokerFabrik, a retail brokerage platform, AlgoFabrik, an algorithmic platform for smart execution, quantitative research and trade automation & WealthFabrik, a wealth management platform underpinned by advanced data analytics capabilities. We aim to not only help incumbents running leaner organisations through our SAAS based solutions, only consuming what they need through our modular approach but more importantly delight their end clients through the use of data analytics, great UX that will make them better investors.
The growth of FinTech has been substantial in recent years across the finance industry. How does asset management compare to banking and insurance when it comes to innovation and embracing change?
Asset management particularly in the alternative space has seen a lot of innovation deploying massive amount of capital and technology to find that elusive alpha. if we look at artificial
intelligence, the pioneers are hedge funds rather than banks. The more traditional “long only” firms didn’t have to innovate as much at least in terms of their tech stack but this is changing at a rapid pace. Disintermediation, unbundling by MIFID II, blockchain, robo advisory, Smart Beta etc. have raised the stakes for the industry and the main players have to make decisions that will most likely affect their future. For example, are they going to become the sole distributors of their products or just rely on third party platforms; how will they connect to the emotions of the end clients and deliver long term value.