SocietyOne CEO says fintechs are asking the wrong questions

Elizabeth Barry 16 November 2016

fintech summit keynote

"Does your business model address a real customer problem?"

Jason Yetton, CEO of peer-to-peer (P2P) lender SocietyOne, says the question of fintechs disrupting or collaborating with banks is not the right one to ask. Giving the keynote at the third Fintech Summit event held in Sydney, Yetton spoke about the changes taking place in Australia as well as making a case for digital disruption.

"What should fintech startups do? Should you compete with the established players or would you collaborate for success? I think that’s the wrong question," he said.

"What I look for in fintech startups and with any business model is does your business model address a real customer problem; do you have the people in the company to deliver on the potential offering; and is there a way in which you can get paid?"

A former senior executive at Westpac, Yetton became CEO of Australia's first P2P lender SocietyOne in March of this year. Delivering the opening keynote at the summit, the new CEO discussed the myriad changes that are enveloping the fintech sector and Australia as a whole.

"We can all accept we’re in a period of profound change, economic change, demographic change, technological change, regulatory change, customer behaviour change and seismic change," he said.

"The mining investment boom is well and truly behind us...every business in every industry is transforming."

While he detailed the ageing population as well as the need for fintech companies making ties with Asia, he spoke more broadly about Australia changing its outlook.

"We need to shift our mindset as a country, from the lucky country mindset to the innovative and smart country mindset, where services and knowledge-based industries are the key drivers of our future economic success and prosperity."

He says Australia is well-placed to deliver on this and to progress ourselves in the second great machine age of the modern era, the first being the invention of the steam engine.

"This one is driven by the microprocessor, that small, inconspicuous-looking device that’s generally in everyone’s pockets, jackets and handbags and that is something we simplistically refer to as a phone, but in reality it’s much more than that."

Yetton believes that the changes occurring in Australia and globally represent an important shift which places the power with the end customer.

"Innovation and growth are imperative, not just nice-to-haves," he said.

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