Ria talks innovation and technology at Global Money Transfer Summit

Fintech (aka financial technology) is hot right now. Investors are looking toward both established online money transfer companies and savvy start-ups – the latter of which have caused some disruption to the traditional banking model of late.

Despite the disruption, the traditional money transfer industry model is still working well. And in the case of Ria, which operates with a diversified business model, technological advances and changes are welcomed. But the message is clear for anyone operating in this space: be flexible and adaptable, or face potentially stiff future competition from those within the Fintech sector.

It was the topics of technology and cross-border payments that saw money transfer representatives, industry experts, consultants and regulators from around the globe meet in London on November 11-12, for the 9th Global Money Transfer Summit (GMTS).

Hosted by the International Association of Money Transfer Networks (IAMTN) the event was held at tech accelerator, Level39, in Canary Wharf – a location which boasts stunning views of the London skyline. Despite the appealing vistas, the seminar topics were engaging, with some content sparking lively debate.

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Ria staff from our London and the European HQ, based in Madrid, attended the 9th GMTS at technology accelerator Level39 in Canary Wharf, London. © IAMTN

The two-day seminar included speakers from the World Bank, NCA, HMRC, Accel Partners, Earthport, Ria, Bitcoin Foundation and more. Topics ranged from the current role of the traditional money transfer model, and what impact the ever-evolving digital landscape may have on it in the future, to an investor’s outlook, plus best practices and tricks of the trade for obtaining licences to operate in the US.

Regulators and Compliance officers mixed with Entrepreneurs who own – or champion – crypto-currency websiteswhile online money transfer operators shared their views about the state of the market, and the new types of customers they are attracting to use their services.

The event was hosted by IAMTN Chairman Mohit Davar, who kept the questions flowing – posing some of the tougher ones which others may not have dared to ask.

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Leaders from the remittance industry from far left, Ria, MoneyGram, Moneytrans and Small World discussed the topic Is the Traditional Model Dead? Hosted by Mohit Davar (far right) © IAMTN

Veronica Studsgaard, CEO & Co-founder of IAMTN said of the event: “The 9th Global Money Transfer Summit included some of our most vibrant panelists yet. A range of engaging speakers examined both the successes and challenges facing the money transfer industry today, and how it may look 10 years from now. We are delighted with the high calibre and seniority of presenters, together with the amount of business that was undertaken during the breaks.”

On the role of new technology in the money transfer business she added: “Technological advances are driving changes as well as discussions in the industry, though the traditional model remains strong for now. Operators are facing many transitional changes; some are around regulation, but other challenges are in creating market awareness or building an eco-system to  support emerging technologies. From a technology point of view, the industry is at a unique point in time. For that very reason we chose to hold our 9th GMTS2014 at Level39 in Canary Wharf, a renowned technology accelerator space for those in Fintech. We look forward to welcoming everyone back for the special 10th anniversary of GMTS2015.”

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L-R: IAMTN CEO & Co-founder, Veronica Studsgaard with IAMTN Chairman Mohit Davar, who hosted the London event. © IAMTN

The rise of online and use of apps to transfer money may also be reflective of changes in the demographic and profile of a traditional migrant worker. There has also been a shift in the migration patterns of workers from low to mid-income countries in the past decade. However, the contribution of remittances to low-income countries as a percentage of GDP is still higher than to those of mid-income countries, and will likely remain that way for some time.

After attending the GMTS, it was clear that one of the key challenges facing many in the money transfer industry, is the evolution of customers’ habits in relation to technology. In some cases the technology is available, but not the eco-system – or the awareness around the product or service – which is required to make it a success.

Overall, the 9th GMTS included a valuable exhange of ideas and open discussion. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for money transfer, and you can be assured that Ria, with its Agile business practices, will keep pushing forward, with a front row seat in the technology sector. We are heavily invested in this area, which is why we have a dedicated Digital team focused on product development and design. Our online money transfer service is currently available for customers in the US, with several launches in the pipeline for 2015.

The next game-changer in money transfer could be just around the corner. Who knows… it might even be us who brings it.

To view more photos from the 9th GMTS, follow the link.

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