Privacy vs Personalisation Breakfast 13th February 2019

In our 4th Privacy versus Personalisation session, we looked into the UK’s £250bn per annum mortgage market and discussed how, as an industry, we can create better outcomes for consumers by using data responsibly and respecting privacy in an increasingly digital environment. Our core areas of discussion included examining what trust really means to the consumer, the gap between what firms say they can do with data and what they deliver in practice, the implications of accelerating transparency and also how together we can improve accessibility and address vulnerability in the mortgage space. More below.

Background to the breakfast:

What: On Wednesday 13th February 2019, META Finance, in association with Instinctif Partners, brought together a broad group of industry experts, consumer champions, start-ups and established firms to discuss how the mortgage industry can build digital trust with consumers. As one of the largest financial commitments people make in their lives, trust is essential to the mortgage process and we sought to explore the role of personal data in both the propositional and operational aspects of this market.

Why: All around us, personal data plays an ever-increasing role in customer engagement and operational efficiency – bringing risks and rewards for financial services firms as they navigate the fine line between privacy and personalisation. Global research suggests nearly 90% of consumers say they are concerned about data security and privacy, but 80% demand a personalised service. While financial regulators press the need for suitability and good consumer outcomes, the media frequently highlights stories of data misuse – further eroding public trust in the sector. Our breakfasts bring together a small gathering of guests from established firms, start-ups, technology providers and consumer groups. Our goal is to promote debate and help all parties collaborate to build a better, more trusted, financial services sector.

Where: Instinctif Partners, 65 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7NQ

Who: Intro and welcome by Ben Leonard (META Finance) and Andy Lane (Instinctif Partners), followed by a keynote speech by Marc Plato of ID Co.

Ben Leonard – Founder, META Finance
Touched on the culture of change in the digital economy, and how this needs to be progressed alongside the technology that enables that change. Gave context on the Digital Trust campaign that META Finance is leading on, why we are doing it and how firms can help us to progress this.

Andy Lane – Partner, Instinctif Partners
Discussed recent media and regulatory attention on the opportunities and risks emerging from technology and data use in financial services, drawing on Instinctif Partners’ insights and client work to build and protect brand reputations with consumers, industry, policymakers and their influencers.

Marc Plato – Senior Client Executive, The ID Co
Gave an overview of Open Banking and The ID Co’s approach to enabling businesses to access ‘Open Banking’ API data to address the challenges of affordability, risk and compliance. This sparked a debate around the competitive advantage of providing a personalised and streamlined UX which enables customers to maintain control of their data, and how “digital data can be used to create trust and loyalty, and to ensure that you are not over paying on your mortgage”.

Breakfast synopsis
Over the 90 minutes we discussed four main themes connected to the role of personal data in the Mortgage market. Below are some of the points raised and issues covered:

  1. What does trust really mean?
    ● Rewarding consumer loyalty, the data “value exchange” and building a relationship with customers are all things that firms often fail to do. “Trust starts with getting the basics right”.
    ● How firms respond to data tragedies can play a big role in building consumer trust. “Firms should turn more often to their PR firms than their lawyers when things go wrong”
    ● Open banking is a year old yet is already providing solutions that help inform consumers about what financial products they could use and how much they should be paying for them. “The power of digital data to use it in a way to create trust and loyalty to ensure you’re not overpaying on your mortgage”.
    ● Open data offers a broader opportunity to make mortgages “a higher engagement product over the customer lifetime” and potentially could help people pay it off more quickly. Firms could, for example, offer tailored advice/guidance based on a customer’s circumstances delivering insights (e.g. potential savings and forecasted pay-off periods) and creating trust
    ● Trust is not just a consumer issue and some firms may delay adoption of open data due to the evolving regulation and question marks over the rate the adoption of data sharing. This could lead to a two-tier market and “a growing gap between perceived [data] proposition and operational capability”

2. Mind the [data] gap
● In building out both an operational framework and a consumer proposition, firms need to “be sure not to overpromise and underdeliver on the value-add that data sharing will enable”. It is important to understand the marginal gains that the data would provide in order to engage with it in a way that provides the customer with a personalised product.
“Data is a black hole if you don’t know what you want”, and the current data landscape can be compared to collecting bricks to build a development when you are not yet sure what overall purpose it has to serve. Some feel that banks and other financial service providers have yet to allocate resources to analyse data and use the resulting insights to truly understand what customers want from products and services; rather, they just want to build a data lake for an unspecified end.
● Experience over Compliance – the way that banks have historically interacted with customers has largely resulted in an information overload of emails, letters and calls, “driven by compliance or product marketing rather than addressing a genuine customer need”.
Firms like Monzo are attracting customers because  they offer a better experience focussed on marginal gains from data and improving operational efficiency. FirstHomeCoach is another example of personalising a product to the consumer using their data to help them first and foremost and then to provide a gateway to financial products.

3. Transparency is a 2-way street
● Richer data can be both a good and a bad thing, because how you manage your records is paramount to the service you receive. “Imagine having two doctors, one you see when you are sick, and one you see when you are healthy, and you only share your records from the healthy doctor with your insurance company”. The same goes for bank accounts. As we move towards more open data and connectivity, the ability to personalise products will grow but equally, the ability to hide information will fall away. Both firms and consumers will need to go on this journey together.
● Data isn’t about technology, it’s about understanding. “The intermediary market is much
more data rich than the provider.” Intermediaries tend to understand customers better than lenders, but only at a point in time.
● This raises the ethical question around whether people are aware that their information (around their spending habits etc) is being used, and how it is being used to tailor their products. When does this become a problem?

4. Accessibility & Vulnerability
● Data is not an interface; the power of personalisation can be consumed face-to-face or via mobile so we should be ensuring we make data work for all in society rather than thinking about digital as a proposition just for millennials. With a growing trend of gig economy workers, shared households and job mobility there is also a growing need for systems with greater flexibility.
● Consideration must be given therefore by firms about how to make the opportunity that data
presents accessible to all. “Data is not just about interacting with the internet (some people don’t want to or simply can’t)”.
● The self-employed present a good example of how data accessibility can lead to a better experience: As one of the 5 million self-employed individuals, “how can you guarantee that you can pay the same amount towards your pension each month when you’re not sure what you’re going to earn that month?” The same could be said for mortgage affordability.
● As an extension of our transparency discussion, we also observed that “Personalisation may put some people at risk as they become unattractive as a commercial proposition” (e.g. DNA screening provides risk profiles for cancer prevalence, which could ultimately make life cover more expensive for the consumer). As an industry we need to be alert to the evolving nature of vulnerability in a digital world and how this can work to accommodate and respect privacy.

These are the prevailing themes which came out of the breakfast session and we hope provided a useful starting point to stimulate further discussions around data and the digital landscape.

To sum up, people don’t buy a mortgage; they buy a house. A mortgage is a component and we need to
work together to support the user experience which helps to fulfil the consumers ambition. Put another way “market infrastructure and consumer outcomes should be the focus; not brokers and lenders.” We should also acknowledge that some firms want to build customer affinity and loyalty, while some simply want to sell products. Both ambitions are fine but we must work together to focus on better outcomes for consumers.

What next:
META Finance will continue to host its breakfast discussions and build a community around this topic. We are also happy to speak at events and provide bespoke workshops or board presentations to support clients on their own journey.
Our next session will be on Pensions which we will be running on 30th April 2019.

Links to contact us or sign up for updates.
Twitter: @Meta_Finance @the_idco @InstinctifPtnrs #PrivacyVsPersonalisation #DigitalTrust

Privacy vs Personalisation Breakfast 25th Sept 2018

Privacy vs Personalisation Breakfast 25th Sept 2018

We held the second in our Privacy vs Personalisation breakfast series on 25th September. Focusing this time on the General Insurance space we drank coffee, ate croissants and explored how the world of personal data can be used to help deliver better outcomes to people.

A special thanks to Nathan Kinch and Xaio Ma for being our guest speakers this time – some great insights around how to engage the consumer in a way that they trust and also what’s needed to build a trusted enterprise platform for industry in this space.

Some of our main take-ways are below and, as with past breakfasts, please continue to use the META Finance community to raise ideas, meet new people and challenge us on how we accelerate the work being done by big business in this space…sign-up for updates on this link

What were we trying to achieve?
– Our mission at META Finance is to bring people together to discuss how to use data to deliver better consumer outcomes within Financial Services. We believe all firms, big and small, have a role to play here and our breakfasts act as a convening tool to progress the conversation
– We aim to bring thought leaders together with representatives from established firms and start-ups, together with the META Finance Associates, to debate what we can better

Who presented?
– Ben Leonard, Founder of META talked through the Digital Trust campaign that META Finance is leading on, why we are doing it and how firms can help us to progress this (link to slides)
– Nathan Kinch, Co-Founder of Greater than X talked through their Data Trust by Design (DTbD) framework, the customer feedback to date and also their experience in trying to work with organisations to embed this thinking into their design and proposition approach (link to slides)
– Xaio Ma, Co-Founder of HAT talked about their work with insurance providers to enable a better approach to how they manage personal data (link to slides)

What did we discuss?
– The concept of Finance as a Service, an evolution from the world of today where most of us go to a Financial Services provider to get a product or service. We debated how Insurance as a Service changed the way of thinking about distribution, partnerships and the competitive landscape with Motor being a good example. A Digital Trust framework is key for this.
– How larger firms think (or don’t think) about Trust, who owns it and how do we bring together the different components of Privacy, Security and Transparency    
– The extent to which the level of “burningness” (insufficient opportunity or threat) within Financial Services firms means that don’t feel the need to act on this.
– Whether consumers actually care about this and if they don’t how do we make progress…”just because consumers don’t seem to care doesn’t mean this doesn’t matter”

Some of the ideas to take forward?
– We need to use baby steps, as outlined in the Data Trust by Design framework, to evolve the Digital Trust agenda in firms and create more opportunities to experiment
– Focus on Mobility as a specific area within General Insurance to develop the Digital Trust narrative perhaps through a coalition of different organisations
– We need to embed new ways of gathering and connecting behavioural data from digital engagements with existing actuarial and consumer research perspectives to drive action.

What next?
– META Finance is seeking to define an industry strategy and potentially a chartermark for Digital Trust. We are:
     1) looking to hold a CEO Roundtable and run a Hackathon in December/January to evaluate the desire and approach to deliver progress in 2019
     2) continuing to run these breakfast forums alongside our practitioner workshops ahead of our Digital Trust Summit in June 2019. These breakfasts will inform the Summit agenda.
– Our next breakfast will focus on Consumer Lending (primarily Mortgages, Credit Scoring & Credit Cards) and will be held on Wednesday 5 December
– We will be rescheduling the Data Trust by Design workshop during December. Please register your interest through our Contact Us page


How can you help?
– Please spread the word and support us in building the Digital Trust community
– Find people who disagree that this is important. We want to better understand the naysayers and address their arguments
– Help us help you…what could META Finance be doing to support your firms?

Privacy vs Personalisation Breakfast 27th June 2018

Privacy vs Personalisation Breakfast 27th June 2018

META Finance discuss whether Personalised Services are delivered at a cost to personal Privacy

27 June marked the launch of our Privacy vs Personalisation breakfast series, with the first session focusing on the Wealth Management space.  We were joined by friends from across the sector to over breakfast explore how the world of personal data can be used to help deliver better outcomes to people without violating their rights to and sense of privacy.

Special thanks go to our guest speakers Julian Saunders and Sam Seaton, who provided some great insights from their own experience of engaging consumers in a way that they trust and also what’s needed to build a trusted enterprise platform for industry in this space.

Some of our main take-ways are listed below.

We’re hoping that the attendees will continue to use the META Finance community to raise ideas, meet new people and challenge us on how we accelerate the work being done by big business in this space and that others will join us in this quest over time. You can sign-up for updates by following this link

What were we trying to achieve?

  • Our mission at META Finance is to bring people together to discuss how to use data to deliver better consumer outcomes within Financial Services. We believe all firms, big and small, have a role to play here and our breakfasts act as a convening tool to progress the conversation
  • We aim to bring thought leaders together with representatives from established firms and start-ups, together with the META Finance Associates, to debate what we can better

Who presented?

  • Ben Leonard, Founder of META opened the discussion by opened by describing a past in which we have created products, marketed and sold them to customers, before collecting data about them during the ‘onboarding’ process.  He contrasted that with a world in which customers control their own data, and businesses shape products and services around them. This, he said, challenges organisations to view the recently introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) not as a regulatory burden, but as a commercial opportunity.
  • Vaughan Jenkins, also of META Finance, then discussed the tension between privacy and personalisation and how this has been driven by technology from its inception. After citing a number of examples, he concluded by asking whether GDPR would be enough to get customers to understand the risks and benefits of sharing their personal data, or whether the temptation of “free stuff” would always remain too great.
  • Julian Saunders, CEO of Port.IM, talked us through his experience concluding that the best way to create meaningful, data-rich relationships with customers is by providing them with a proposition that they value. He contrasted this with businesses who simply pay customers £5 for their personal data.
  • Sam Seaton, CEO of MoneyHub, talked us through how different customers responded very differently to different ‘nudges’ with which MoneyHub’s AI engine presents them on a scale from ‘brilliantly helpful’ to ‘creepy’.


What did we discuss?

  • Businesses still ‘protect’ customer data as ‘their asset’ instead of recognising that it belongs to the customer, and becomes more valuable when shared in a trust-based relationship.
  • Legacy incumbents face numerous challenges:
    • Legacy systems are not up to the job and expensive and difficult to change.
    • Legacy incumbents spend most, if not all of their change budgets trying to keep pace with the regulatory change, leaving little if any capacity to invest in finding ways to innovate by using data more effectively and to develop new propositions.
    • They don’t have enough sources of rich data to feed machine learning algorithms in any meaningful way.
  • Even early adopters like Google and Facebook struggle to get the information they really need – only the customer knows when they’ve bought that product they’ve been researching!
  • Increasingly, the winners are those who develop their products and services as open and connected players, instead of as closed environments. Think of Slack, who has almost completely supplanted Basecamp as the collaboration platform of choice, by enabling customers to connect Slack to just about anything else they are already using.

Some of the ideas to take forward?

  • We need to get the debate around data and privacy out of the IT and compliance departments and into the boardroom.
  • We need to reposition the discussion away from the cost of regulatory compliance with GDPR and the financial and reputational risks of getting it wrong towards the commercial opportunities for building more data-rich, trusting and value-adding relationships with customers.

What next?
META Finance will continue to host its breakfast discussions and build a community around this topic. We will also be looking to develop more concrete ways in which businesses can engage.

How can you help?
Please

  • sign up for updates here
  • share your insights and experiences with us through our Contact Us Page 
  • help us help you…what could META Finance be doing to support your firms?
Consultant to show advisers how to use data to grow business

Consultant to show advisers how to use data to grow business

Financial advisers need to see the business opportunity in upcoming European rules on data protection, rather than just treating them as a compliance issue, it has been claimed.

Ben Leonard, the founder of consultancy firm Meta Finance, said the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect in May, would give advisers the opportunity to improve their business models.

Read more…

META Finance launches to help financial services adapt to rapid industry evolution

META Finance launches to help financial services adapt to rapid industry evolution

Customer-centric strategic advisory firm helps organisations to understand and deal with
changing industry landscape

19 January 2018: ​META announces the launch of META Finance, a strategic advice and
solutions provider to leading financial institutions and software providers. META Finance
coaches financial institutions in a rapidly evolving world driven by increasing consumer control
and expectations. The launch follows pilot projects, comprising strategic advice and coaching
services, with Aegon UK, Arachnys, Brooks Macdonald and Redington.

The impact of years of fintech development on new customer experiences, combined with
increasing regulation, makes accelerating change in financial services inevitable. 2018 is an
important year for this and developments include Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), the
introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), further government
announcements on the Pensions Dashboard and work to move GOV.UK Verify into the private
sector. To thrive in this evolving market, financial services firms require ecosystems, not just
their own brands and propositions.

META Finance believes these developments represent an opportunity to help the industry
become more customer-centric. By empowering their clients to use personal data and
technology, META Finance helps them to improve their customer experiences whilst updating
their operational infrastructure. Services include strategic planning as well as supporting on
innovation and culture across three core areas of expertise: using personal data for growth,
establishing digital innovation labs and running proofs of concept. This is delivered through
coaching, community forums and technology, such as dashboards and diagnostic tools.
The leadership team at META Finance consists of Ben Leonard, who led the UK Financial
Services Team at HSBC, Shaul David, lately fintech lead at the UK Department of International
Trade and Paul Carse, who was head of IT at the Racing Post. Vaughan Jenkins, a former
Partner in management consultancy firms and who currently sits on the UK FinCap Advisory
Board, is working with the team in an Associate role. The META Finance team has been
presenting at industry events and in December 2018 held a wealth community roundtable event
with Industry leaders, fintechs and the regulator to discuss the role of data as a force for
change.

Michelle Cracknell, Chief Executive at The Pensions Advisory Service, ​said: ​“Helping
people manage their money is a win-win-win for Government, industry and individuals and it is a
growing need. The ability to think of effective and efficient solutions needs breadth of thinking
combining man and machine to create the emotional drive with the advantages that technology
can offer through collection and management of data.”

Adrian Grace, CEO of Aegon UK​, commented: “We asked Ben to present at our Strategy day
as he brought to the table a great combination of in-depth industry experience, familiarity with
our own business and a strong grasp of relevant technology developments. The ‘Data,

Disruption & Innovation’ session was very well received by executives and non-executives alike.
We will be looking to work with META Finance again. It prompted us to accelerate how we
embed technology and data into our strategy given developments such as PSD2 and GDPR will
be game-changing for our industry.”

Ben Leonard, Founder & CEO of META ​commented: “The META Finance vision for financial
services puts the customer and their data at the heart of every product and service. Our blend of
advisory, technology and coaching, which includes connecting financial services firms with
fintech innovators and working with a series of market leading partners, differentiates META
Finance from the mainstream consulting market and is central to our proposition to help firms
help themselves.”