NEW services, SAME trust : creating the bridge between technology and business Written by Alexandre Keilmann on April 26th, 2017

The Grant Thornton Technology HUB stems from the ambition to complement the current consulting offering for financial institutions with dedicated advisory services in domains such as Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Innovation.

Our clients understand more and more everyday that they must improve their processes through emerging new technologies, in order to develop their business model and keep their strategic advantage.

For this reason, they are looking for a professional advice and a strategic vision that provides them with the necessary tools to define their technology needs in the short, medium and long term.

The technology HUB dedicated advisory

Blockchain services are developed to answer the following questions :

What is Blockchain and is the Blockchain the right solution to adopt in view of my business environment?

How can I take advantage of this technology for my business?

What is the evolution of the Blockchain and is it mature enough to replace and / or connect my legacy systems?

We believe that our customised awareness trainings, our assistance and guidance on Blockchain feasibility and strategy development studies, our Blockchain roadmap co-elaboration and implementation services provide an answer to all these questions and bring the necessary knowledge to achieve clients’ objectives.

Cybersecurity services are provided in collaboration with Grant Thornton Business Risk experts : design of IT Governance Solutions, Data Privacy Assessments, Risk Management and /or CISO as a service, in addition to preventive services such as Penetration Tests, IT forensic, Incident Response Management and advice on Cybersecurity software solutions.

The Grant Thornton Technology HUB is also an incubator for Fintech companies, giving access to a full array of services : from funding to office spaces and connectivity, from definition of the business model to networking meetings with potential clients / partners , from authorisation as a regulated entity with the CSSF to on-going services (e.g. accounting, regulatory reporting, payroll, tax advisory, internal audit) in an outsourcing and / or co-sourcing model.

An example of a business model definition withy one of our Fintech clients : the White Label E.M.I.

Electronic Money Institutions (“E.M.I.s”), EU Passporting rules and new technologies are enabling alternative payments solutions and creating new customer needs, as who has a smartphone has an-e-wallet.

New business models are also becoming available to merchants, facing the challenge of :

  • Developing new strategies for customer retention by understanding and retaining their differentiating factors, such as exit barriers and switching costs (for customers) as well as entry barriers (for new providers) have been demolished by available technology;
  • Creating new revenue streams with a clear pricing scheme for customers, necessarily by creating added valuethat customers are willing to pay, such as : provision of fast, easy, secure payment methods, of ease and freedom of transferring money, of ease to store information and documents (e.g. tickets, seasonal tickets, fidelity cards, member cards), of ease to aggregate transactions from different sources (e.g. bank accounts, credit cards, other e-wallets..);
  • Improving the quantity and perceived quality of contacts with customers, in order to collect valuable behavioural data and fine-tune future commercial actions;
  • Minimising the costs and maximising the effectiveness of operational processes in general, such as transactions processing and management, AML / KYC checks, risk fraud management, accounting and invoicing.

This vision led the GT Technology Hub to conceive a unique, mutualised, standard, immediately customisable, e-wallet-based Payment Circuit independent from IBAN numbers and credit cards (usable, among others, just as means for loading e-wallets).

The creation and profitability of such an initiative depends on three main factors:

  • The large diffusion of a standardised payment solution, enabling profits generation through increasing volumes of small transactions as well as cost savings (i.e. independence from credit card circuits and related fees);
  • The convenience and ease of use for customers, who should be given complete freedom in choosing their favourite means to load the e-wallet;
  • The ability to manage efficiently and cost-effectively the whole “back office” aspects of the service (e.g. issuing and management of e-wallets, accounting, AML / KYC checks).

Therefore, the best setup is represented by a « White Label » E.M.I., co-participated by several entities, providing with :

  • The highest degree of customisation allowed by the selected e-wallet platform such as KontoKloud by Contoworks , in terms of logos and layouts available to customers, as well as of products parametrisation available to merchants (e.g. allowed transactions, cash-in / cash-out limits, special promotions, charged fees, risk management indicators and alerts);
  • A unique technology standard to ensure large diffusion and economies of scale, enabling an efficient management of growing volumes, that could be leveraged to provide payment services from a strong negotiating position with credit card circuits.

 

Communicated by Grant Thornton