Robert van Kerkhoff (BNP Paribas), Bert Boerman (Governance.com), Davide Martucci (Next Gate Tech): Enhancing the human component of technology
When a major Bank like BNP Paribas teams us with two Fintechs like Governance.com and Next Gate Tech, you might expect a highly technical conversation. In reality, human transformation and satisfaction seems to be their main focus. Interview.
Mr Van Kerkhoff, could you present your strategy?
BNP Paribas has a very ambitious 2025 strategy focusing on three main pillars: growth, technology and sustainability, or GTS as we call it. Today, this interview focuses on the “T”. On the one hand, we want to improve both our clients’ and employees’ experiences; and on the other hand, we want to find ways to improve our operational efficiency. There are several ways to do that, but if you compare our approach today and ten years ago, we are now partly outsourcing specific developments. Good fintechs have great teams and are strong at putting efficient innovations to market quickly. Together, we get more things done.
“Data plus technology equals power” - Davide Martucci
Could you present the partnership between BP2S and your companies?
Davide Martucci: In short: data plus technology equals power. Next Gate Tech is specialized in Data management and analytics. Our technology will help for example the depositary bank to perform the oversight of the NAV calculation. It will also enrich and harmonize the data while performing analytics to identify anomalies and potential mistakes. BNP Paribas is a transformational client for us because it is the first service provider of this size adopting our solution. Think of it as a double partnership: firstly, we leverage big amounts of data to improve our model through machine learning. Clearly here: the more data the better. Secondly, we learn about all the processes involved: tech improvement, training, workflows.
Bert Boerman: The alliance between a Fintech like Governance.com and BNP Paribas is like a musical harmony where everyone does what he does best to produce beautiful music together. Our company digitalizes processes such as investors’ onboarding. The regulator keeps adding more and more controls to fight fraud, which is very cumbersome but more valuable for any service provider. We help BNP Paribas automate and shorten the process, so that asset managers coming to them can be sure that the experience of their investors will be smooth. We offer a portal where information is exchanged and where an algorithm calculates a risk score of the counter party. This triggers specific procedures and workflows. Our partnership here lies in our ability to select standard building blocks and to adapt them to the specific needs of the bank. Regulation requires to interpret rules. It says “Know you client”, but you need to understand it in a meaningful ways.
Robert van Kerkhoff: the trend in Luxembourg is that Management companies are looking for more substance and decision power in Luxembourg. We adapt to that client need. BNP Paribas - unlike several of its competitors- has selected the Grand-Duchy as a very important jurisdiction in its global strategy. Our company is supporting the efforts of the government and of the whole financial ecosystem to contribute actively to the future of banking, fast! The partnerships with Bert’s and Davide’s companies illustrate our will to leverage the power of our core systems and excellent teams while actively looking for ways to harness our data in the optimal way. The local ecosystem is well equipped to help us manage these challenges. Together we share experiences, cultures and of course, technological expertise. Today, between the Bank and Fintechs, it is no longer David, nor Goliath. Each of us contributes to a sustainable world.
“Data has been digitized for a while; we need to digitize processes.”
- Bert Boerman
How do you see the future of finance?
BB : The future is digital. Data has been digitized for a while; we need to digitize processes. Clients expect things to go fast. They have been remarkably patient with financial institution, but the time has come to deliver an enjoyable experience. We need to automate the boring tasks in order to enhance the human expertise.
Davide: I agree with Bert. Digital, transparent, digital, sustainable. Once you feed machines with huge amounts of data, machine learning and artificial intelligence can produce spectacular results and empower employees. Those who used to calculate NAVs on an excel sheet can now focus on anomalies, machine learning and client satisfaction. Cloud technology is very transformational in Luxembourg. Small companies like ours can rely on the robust infrastructure of IBM for example to meet the standards of banks. A massive transformation has started, segment by segment. You can already by stocks in one click. Soon, this magic will apply to loans, KYC and so on.
Robert: The future is very promising. People start to realize the positive impact of banks in supporting our economies. This is different compared to the previous crisis in 2007-2008. The challenging period we are going through shows the importance of banking players in financing the transition to a sustainable world.
“Together we share experiences, cultures and of course, technological expertise” - Robert van Kerkhoff