Finastra selects McKinsey for Banking Center of Excellence in Hong Kong

22 January 2018 5 min. read

FinTech company Finastra has established a new Center of Excellence for the banking industry in Hong Kong. McKinsey & Company has been tapped as the knowledge and consultancy partner of the wing.

Established in the summer of last year, following the merger between Misys and D+H, London-headquartered Finastra is with approximately 10,000 employees one of the globe’s larger technology providers for the financial services industry. On the back of its innovative suite of solutions – spanning retail banking, transaction banking, lending, and treasury and capital markets – the firm is positioned as one of the leaders in the rapidly rising FinTech scene, challenging incumbents with agile and flexible platforms. 

As part of its strategy to enhance its knowledge and innovation power, Finastra has opened a Center of Excellence for banking. “This strategic move is part of our worldwide programme to continue to build its innovation ecosystem and collaborate with strategic partners around the globe,” said Imad Abou Haidar, Managing Director of the Asia Pacific (APAC) region at Finastra. He added, “This significant investment further demonstrates our commitment to supporting our customers in Asia Pacific.” 

The company’s decision to pick Hong Kong as the location for its new arm follows from Hong Kong’s pivotal role in the global financial services landscape. Abou Haidar: “Hong Kong is one of the major international financial centres in Asia and serves as the hub for the provision of services to global investors.” The Chinese state further is home to the regional headquarters of many of the globe’s largest banks – Finastra is a trusted IT partner of 48 of the top 50 banks worldwide. “Hong Kong is a strong hub for Asia and the Belt and Road region.”

Finastra selects McKinsey for Banking Center of Excellence in Hong Kong

Meanwhile, Hong Kong is also touted to become one of Asia’s star performers for IPO’s in 2018, with forecasts of KPMG and PwC highlighting that the IPO market is set for a bumper year, with the latter Big Four firm even predicting Hong Kong will reclaim its premier mantle from the rival NYSE. 

Based in Cyberport, a location which brings together corporates with around 250 financial technology start-ups and FinTech investors, Finastra’s Center of Excellence will develop thought leadership and solution to help banks with transforming their business models, with a focus on digitalisation. The move comes at a time when corporate and retail banking businesses are facing major change amidst technology-driven disruption and innovation in the financial services industry. According to an analysis by Oliver Wyman, Asian banks are among the globe’s fastest growing banking institutions, with total assets held by the region’s players growing from around $37 trillion in 2010 to almost $55 trillion in 2016. Similar to their global counterparts however, Asian banks are feeling the heat of FinTechs and technology giants, which are moving fast to establish a position in the most lucrative segments up for grabs, including customer contact, payments and data sharing. 

“Banks are turning to technology solutions for end-to-end digital transformation to remain competitive, the Center of Excellence will facilitate this evolution, helping them to overcome business challenges and providing them with an immersive lab environment for innovation,” remarked Finastra’s APAC leader.

McKinsey & Company

As part of the Center of Excellence’s operations, Abou Haidar has brought US management consulting giants McKinsey & Company on board. Appointed an official knowledge partner to the innovation hub, McKinsey will provide its latest research and insights on business trends impacting the banking industry. Chris Ip, a 23-year veteran at McKinsey and a Senior Partner in the firm’s Hong Kong office, said that he is “pleased” with the vote of confidence from Finastra, and added that he looks forward to contributing ideas and insights for the FinTech investment and industry communities.

Quote Chris Ip

He added that he believes the launch of a dedicated Center of Excellence for the region is a step forward, citing McKinsey’s latest Global Annual Banking Review. “Our research introduces ‘ecosystems’ as the new basis for competition in banking. This Center of Excellence will help the Fintech industry community in Hong Kong and Asia to experience first-hand what is possible with today's new banking technologies.”

Welcoming the two partners, Lee George Lam, Chairman of Cyberport, remarked, “We are pleased to add Finastra and McKinsey to the Cyberport community. We firmly believe that the Center of Excellence will further reinforce our strategic role as Asia's leading Fintech Hub and raise market awareness of the importance of FinTech in transforming Hong Kong's economy.” 

Last month a former McKinsey consultant, Zoher Karu, was named Head of Data and Analytics for Asia Pacific at Citi Bank.