D.Day for Fintech: Finance will transform with a bang in 2018 – Finland will need more AI experts

Tekes 12.12.2017 11.52
Press release
The digitalization of finance requires companies to update both their operational models and the knowhow of their staff. Finnish companies have an outstanding opportunity to use new technology to make it to the top – but it requires cooperation with large companies, startups and the science communities.

New technologies such as AI or machine learning will change the world. According to Risto Siilasmaa (photo below) who spoke at D.Day event on 5th December, all companies involved in the finance sector should understand how new technologies work.

"Many business people still think it’s unnecessary to learn new technologies. They rely on those around them, who are familiar with the technologies", Siilasmaa, board chairman at F-Secure and Nokia said.

The finance sector is going digital – fast. According to Siilasmaa, the most difficult part of change is not learning new technologies, but changing the whole business culture.

"You need to redesign the organizational model of your business. Decisions can’t be made the same way anymore. If businesses refuse to change their way of thinking, being successful in the new beginning will be difficult", he says.

New digital technologies are visible in the trends of the investment sector, too. Siilasmaa says that investing in software has trebled in ten years, and there’s no stopping the growth.

Payment directive shares light on customer data and increases the availability of services

For consumers, the technological transformation of the finance sector will mean better service. According to EU’s payment directive (PSD2), banks will need to give customer information for third parties to use, if the customer accepts this. The directive will take effect in January 2018.

In practice it will mean massive growth for applications and new services. Banks will face more competition. But change also presents collaboration prospects.

"Because of the change in law the market will become more effective and faster, there will be more innovations and, because of those innovations, new services", Jarkko Turunen from Nordea bank group says.

Nordea wants to be involved in developing the new ecosystem.

"We’ve already organized fintech meetings and workshops. We really want to see what we’re able to accomplish by cooperating with other companies", Turunen says.

Machines don’t replace humans – AI will learn from humans

OP bank group has been preparing for the payment directive, and is cooperating with other organizations.

"Every year we develop new products with 200 startups", Anders Stenbäck from OP says.

Using data with help from AI is an important part of the new development. According to Stenbäck, not enough people in Finland currently realize how AI can be used in everyday life.

"Banks and insurance companies have immense amounts of data regarding people’s health, exercise and insurance. With data, digital services can be better targeted at everyone using them."

Tero Ojanperä from Silo.AI described the benefits of AI. It’s not only about data, but also about how AI will be able to use it more and more all the time. In order for data to be useful, it needs to be cleaned, modified and given explanations.

"A machine doesn’t replace a human: humans are necessary for the machine being able to learn."

Experts give AI feedback so that the equipment can develop.

"This way, AI also introduces new work for humans", Ojanperä says.

Blockchain speeds up virtual money transfers

Heather Abbott from Nasdaq spoke about technology trends that affect fintech. She described how cloud services and blockchain affect the finance market. Blockchain can, for example, speed up virtual money transfers when third-party services become obsolete. Alexandra Bådenlid from Fortum highlighted the benefits of blockchain for the energy industry. Fortum has been involved in blockchain development, using it for charging electric cars, for example. Blockchain technology is also great for solar electricity distribution.

"If you want to sell your neighbor energy that has been produced using solar panels, you need to do that with a third party. Blockchain can solve that problem."

Reboot Finland D.Day for Fintech event was organized on 5th December at Nokia Executive Experience Center in Espoo. The event gathered companies and experts to discuss and participate in workshops that deal with how digitalization can be used in the finance sector. www.dday.fi

Team Finland Tekes