Beyond the Boardroom - Digital Disruption featuring Westpac CIO Dave Curran

Date: 
Friday, August 21, 2015

AIM hosted the third of our Beyond the Boardroom Series of events at our Sydney Campus recently. Joining the Editor of The Australian, Clive Mathieson to discuss digital disruption we were lucky enough to have Westpac CIO Dave Curran, EFTPOS CEO Bruce Mansfield and SocietyOne CEO Matt Symons.

The discussion began with an interview with Dave Curran of Westpac as he discussed how innovation and the structure of the nation’s major banks will provide some measure of protection against digital disrupters and challenger banks. With the majors now stressing there are opportunities as well as threats in the rapid switch to digital channels, Mr Curran said that hubris was a “dangerous thing” in the current environment.

“I have a personal view that in the next 10 years we’ll see those banks that both could and did do something about this disruption, and then there’s going to be a group of banks that either couldn’t or didn’t do something about it,” Mr Curran said.

“At that point, they will wake up and go: ‘What happened’? ”

The CEO of Society One, Matt Symons said the peer-to-peer lender will start investing for growth through the launch of a customer awareness campaign in coming months, as referrals pick up strongly from its free credit score website. As rivals including Melbourne-based MoneyPlace and RateSetter, the biggest P2P lender in Britain, join the fray, Mr Symons said there were advantages in being the sector’s first mover.

“You have to prove that your model actually works, in that it ­attracts creditworthy customers who repay their loans, and investors are able to earn the kind of ­returns that you’ve promised them,” Mr Symons said.

“And we happen to be the only guys with a three-year track record. I think that’s a significant advantage.”

Eftpos Australia Managing Director Bruce Manfield said Eftpos is “about to be SMACd” as it faces an unprecedented ­challenge by new players in digital and ­mobile payments. The term SMACd refers to social, mobile, analytics and cloud disruption.

The new-age competition includes upcoming digital wallets by Apple and Samsung, and other peer-to-peer payment solutions through apps. Mr Mansfield said past innovation had taken time to take hold.

“The contactless stuff primarily came from the incumbents — the Visas, the Mastercards of this world,” Mr Mansfield told the forum. “PayPal came along and built through analytics and ­smarter technology a better way for consumers to shop.

“So historically we’ve seen long tail innovation, either through external disruption or through ­internal efficiency gains.

“We’re now at this cusp — whether it be a cliff or a cusp — where it’s just all going to change dramatically.”

He predicted disruption would be huge. “We don’t know how much impact this is going to have over the next two years. Whatever you think, it’s going to be much bigger than that.”