G20 on Digital finance, financial inclusion and financial literacy

27 Jan G20 on Digital finance, financial inclusion and financial literacy

By Don Ginsell, CEO, Holland FinTech

Wiesbaden 26 January 2017: Financial inclusion policy is embracing FinTech, with caution

It was great to be invited to the G20 Germany meeting on this important topic, and with such high esteemed delegates present. It brought me to a great international crowd, that represented not only the G20 but also many delegations and guests from other countries all over the world. I was very curious about the way policy makers (from a broad background) were looking at Fintech from the financial inclusion perspective. Financial Inclusion is the modern follow up of micro-finance as approach to empower especially people that are often excluded from financial solutions.

Looking at Fintech to drive democratisation of finance, is what drives Holland FinTech since its inception. However, for policymakers technology is often a foreign element and poses quite a challenge to understand and keep up. It is in my view very important that we see financial services and it’s innovation as a key empowering element for the economy and society as a whole and not as an industry like many others. It’s crucial infrastructure, and should be treated that way.

I am quite positive about the ideas and level of understanding I found at the G20 conference. It is clear to most that Fintech is essential for financial inclusion and the realisation that the level of disruption is similar to earlier technology enabled shifts. But today, changes come much faster, due to the distribution power of the technologies already in place. Not clear to all delegates and speakers was that even though companies deal with the speed of change in their own way, Fintech is not about startups alone. It is a change process that touches the full financial value chain and every party in, including many new entrants.

The recognised potential of FinTech to empower and include people is great, especially with the support from the high officials present, led by HM Queen Máxima, that was admired for her work by all speakers and delegates. She has really mastered financial inclusion and is opening doors and minds worldwide for this cause, and strongly advocates investigating the use of technology.

However, most speakers did put a lot of stress on the risks that come with adopting new technologies and some even claimed that ease of use should be waived for security. However, it should be better noted that the risk of technology adoption will not rise from actions by policy makers, rather by the lack of action. But I believe policy makers needs to become more familiar with the topic to understand this better.

The digital world is similar to the outside world, in opportunities and threats, as we are still dealing with humans. And as these consumers are becoming more empowered everyday through technology, they will most likely seek seamlessness before anything, avoiding effective but difficult security measures. The most secure solution only works if it is at least just as easy. Cyber security was a very hot topic that fortunately more and more people are willing to dive into and get their heard dirty. Most governments are really behind on reducing cyber risk.

That also ties in with financial literacy, which actually didn’t get that much attention, that could play a very important role in helping people get access to financial solutions that help the, but also in making them less vulnerable for fraud, security breaches and privacy issues. It is actually very closely tied in with digital literacy, as we are again talking about infrastructure. Want secure roads: get people to learn for a driver’s license.

The learning aspect should get more attention, not just for citizens, but also for policy makers. People at the G20 conference were all convinced that the tides are changing faster than ever, but I heard no policy maker about speeding up their engagement with these developments. We cannot afford to be late with rules and regulations, so policy makers need to start learning… fast. From that perspective, next time more representatives that work in FinTech should be invited to speak, to help policy makers really understand how technology works in practice.

All in all it was very enlightening to hear different views from all over the world, see some very high profile (and smart) people together, and being able to meet and speak with many in a warm and open atmosphere. Thank you Germany as president of the G20 for putting this topic on the agenda. Thank you Deutsche Bundesbank, for organising it so well. And thank you Jens Weidmann for kindly inviting me. And finally: thank you Queen Máxima, for leading this movement with so much spirit.

Looking forward to the follow up!

2017-01-25 17.04.53 2017-01-25 14.41.28 2017-01-25 14.18.57 2017-01-26 09.01.30












Some more info:





Speaker list:

  • President Dr Jens Weidmann, Deutsche Bundesbank
  • Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, UNSGSA for Inclusive Finance for Development, Honorary Patron of the GPFI
  • Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, German Federal Minister of Finance, and Prof Hasso Plattner, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP
  • Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies
  • Prof Thomas Jordan, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank
  • Dr Agustín Carstens, Governor of the Central Bank of Mexico
  • Dr José Manuel González-Páramo, Executive Board Director of BBVA
  • Felix Hufeld, President of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bafin) of Germany
  • James Lau, Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of Hong Kong
  • Dr Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and Chairman of the FSB
  • Dr Thomas de Maizière, German Federal Minister of the Interior
  • Tony Cole, Vice President and Global Government CTO, FireEye
  • Hon Scott Morrison MP, Treasurer of Australia
  • Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland and Minister of Economic Development and Finance
  • Volker Bouffier, Minister President of the State of Hessen
  • Daniel Mminele, Deputy Governor, South African Reserve Bank
  • Dr Patrick Njoroge, Governor, Central Bank of Kenya
  • Dr Wenjian Yu, Director-General of Financial Consumer Protection Bureau, People‘s Bank of China
  • Juan Carlos Izaguirre, Senior Financial Sector Specialist with the Global Policy Architecture team, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP)
  • Kennedy Komba, Head of Member Relations and Strategy at Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)
  • Prof Bernd Skiera, Chair of Electronic Commerce, Goethe University Frankfurt
  • Tony Cole, Vice President and Global Government CTO, FireEye
  • Prof Rainer Böhme, Department of Computer Science, University of Innsbruck
  • Prof Danny Dolev, The Rachel and Selim Benin School of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Carolyn Wilkins, Senior Deputy Governor, Bank of Canada
  • Anders Borg, Chairman of the Global Financial System Initiative of the World Economic Forum
  • Álvaro M Enríquez, Lead Economist of Digital Regulation, BBVA Research
  • Ronit Ghose, Global Sector Head for Banks, Citi Research
  • Rupert Keeley, General Manager for PayPal’s businesses in Europe, Middle East & Africa, PayPal
  • Jan Sijbrand, Executive Director and Chairman of Supervision of the Governing Board, De Nederlandsche Bank
  • Jakob von Weizsäcker, Member of the European Parliament
  • Prof Douglas Arner, Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong
  • Thorsten Seeger, CEO, Funding Circle Germany
  • Dr Andreas Dombret, Board member, Deutsche Bundesbank
  • Prof Steffen Kern, Chief Economist and Head of Risk Analysis, ESMA
  • Prof Annamaria Lusardi, Denit Trust Chair of Economics and Accountancy, George Washington University School of Business (GWSB), founder and academic director of GWSB’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC)
  • Flore-Anne Messy, Head of Financial Affairs Division, OECD, Executive Secretary, INFE
  • S.S. Mundra, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
  • Jane Rooney, Financial Literacy Leader, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, Canada‘s representative and National Coordinator for INFE
  • Shannon L. Schuyler, Principal, Chief Purpose Officer & Corporate Responsibility Leader at PwC, President, PwC Charitable Foundation
  • Anna Zelentsova, Head of Financial Literacy, Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation
  • Carolyn Wilkins, Senior Deputy Governor, Bank of Canada
  • Christian Hoppe, Founder and CEO main incubator, Head of Credit Solutions for Commerzbank’s SME Banking division, Commerzbank
  • Prof Lars Hornuf, Juniorprofessor of Law and Economics, University of Trier
  • Robert Karlsson, Deputy Executive Director, Swedish Supervisory Authority
  • Ekmeet Singh, CEO, LendBox
  • Claudia M Buch, Deutsche Bundesbank