Nasir Zubairi (LHoFT): Digital Pandemic Panacea

Nasir Zubairi, CEO, says LHoFT rapidly adapted to the pandemic using digital platforms to support its own activities while also rising to the challenge of meeting the digital needs of banks in the spheres of regtech and payments.

What have been the main developments of the LHoFT in 2020?

The main development in 2020 was our Digital connectivity and distribution strategy. The LHoFT was fast in responding to the pandemic, switching to a digital platform. We focused on marketing, events, content and support activities via the internet through webinars, seminars and workshops. We set up a professional studio at our facility to be best in class when it comes to web content delivery. We also launched the LHoFT App last week. The App will become central to content delivery and brand development locally and internationally over the coming years. Once you are connected you choose from broad sectoral categories. then, via IBM Watson using artificial intelligence, it learns through your behaviors to tailor content for you. 

"Luxembourg fintech benefitted in areas where we are strong: regtech and payments." - Nasir Zubairi, CEO, LHoFT

Can you describe the Luxembourg fintech success stories in 2020?

Luxembourg fintech benefitted in areas where we are strong: regtech and payments. The Covid-19 pandemic forced banks to focus on business continuity with their people working remotely and communicating digitally. There was a realization of regtech’s importance when banks could not get signatures or verify KYC details or hold board meetings, so they looked to digital signatures, documents and meetings. Those businesses within our membership have done very well. Lockdowns forced people to resort to electronic payments , and electronic transaction volumes surged. The LHoFT has ended the year with more members and residents than we started, be it that most are still working remotely. 

What trends do you see emerging for 2021?

We expect a continuation of the trends we saw this year with financial institutions focusing on cost savings and efficiency to drive productivity. These are likely to create opportunities in the regtech sector. This will include technologies like artificial intelligence and big data as well as the continued acceleration of tokenization and blockchain. tokensisation lowers issuing costs of securities,which, in particular, could have benefits for the growing focus on ESG and green finance because there are considerable additional costs to issuing green securities. These arise as a result of all the reporting requirements, so if we can drive down the overall costs it should make green securities more interesting. We are also starting to see tokenization in the fund sector and real estate. I think we'll start seeing some private equity issues as well.

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