DataFest – Data Challenges and Opportunities for Fintech

Last Tuesday morning we hosted a DataFest fringe event looking at data challenges and opportunities in the Fintech sector.  This is our second year of supporting Data Lab’s DataFest week – which saw several events taking place last week to celebrate Scotland’s data driven innovation and creativity.

With the arrival of Open Banking, the countdown to GDPR coming into effect and the shift towards the cloud, data is very much on the agenda for Fintech and financial services organisations.  One of the key challenges for the Fintech industry, and with all data driven innovation, is to ensure that the organisations data gathering and processing practices are GDPR compliant.  

The key themes of GDPR are transparency, fairness and accountability.  These are all themes that resonate clearly in relation to the news reports that have broken in relation to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica’s alleged data abuses.  Were users  really aware of what was happening to their and their friends data?  Is it fair that personal data may have been used for hidden purposes?  Who, if anyone, should be held accountable for the consequences? 

The financial services industry has suffered from a trust deficit over the last few years following the credit crunch.  All Fintech businesses need to be mindful of the position of trust that they hold in relation to their customers and others personal data.  However, there is a real opportunity for innovative and creative Fintech businesses to use the changes brought by GDPR in a positive way – to build on and develop customer trust and buy-in so as to improve customer experience and outcomes.

Personal data is increasingly being seen as the fuel that powers so much of what makes our businesses, our private life and our public services function.  The challenge for the Fintech industry is to embrace GDPR and look to re-balance the relationship between individuals and organisations so as to ensure that privacy rights are respected and their organisations are transparent and accountable – at a time when even the largest global technology businesses data collection and processing activities are under increased scrutiny.

By David Goodbrand
Partner, Burness Paull

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