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Interviewed By Foo Boon Ping
Alex Manson, head of the fintech investment and venture arm of Standard Chartered Bank, talked about how SC Ventures is out to transform the role of banks in the innovation space and how the future of finance is more collaborative than competitive as the relationship between fintech providers and financial institutions blur.
Alex Manson helms the fintech investment and venture unit of Standard Chartered called SC Ventures. He described the four-year innovation journey of the company as a quest to turn a traditional bank into a builder of disruptive financial solutions.
Founded in 2018, the company is a fully-owned subsidiary of the bank. It acquires stakes in various fintech firms through its $100 million venture capital fund. Some of its first projects were solutions that addressed the immediate needs of the parent bank itself. To date, it has built 31 ventures and has separately invested in 20 partner fintech companies.
SC Ventures grows its portfolio at a time when banks are seeking dominance in digital services, with many conventional lenders now setting up their own digital banks. As financial institutions expand their digital footprint, they also want to bring in solutions that increase efficiency and drive down business costs, a gap that the company intends to cash in.
All ventures entered into by the company are set up to be commercially viable on their own, Manson stressed. This as a so-called fintech winter, when available funding for fintech companies becomes scarce amid tight financial conditions, looms on the horizon. “We’re just at the beginning of distinguishing between models that will survive in the next decades from the ones that will be discarded by the markets and the investor community,” he said.
As the company scales its portfolio worldwide, Manson also pointed out the importance of encouraging diversity in the workforce to bring in ideas for solutions that will be “relevant in the decades to come.”
The following key points were discussed:
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