Stewardship and Security: The Importance of Trust in FinTech

A guest post by: Pulak Sinha, CEO Pepper and Paras Shah, CEO LAMR Group

In the world of Business and Technology, two areas are drawing a great deal of attention- FinTech and Security.  It’s no surprise- they are deeply connected and causally related areas.  The connection between the two reminds us of the apocryphal story of Bank Robber Willie Sutton who when asked why he robbed banks, replied sheepishly, “Because that’s where the money is.”  So too with Fintech.

In our experiences- very different experiences that is—the issues of Security and Financial Services converge neatly and can be summed up with two core conditions:  Stewardship and Trust.  When the “product” being dealt with is peoples’ money or other core assets, the absence of trust is a death-knell; conversely, the existence of trust creates a bridge to success.  For the FinTech dealing with money, the role of stewardship is critical- they have to be dutiful stewards of both money and data related to that money.

Stewardship is of course not simply about intent.  It is also about having the systems in place- and the processes, culture, and personnel- that allow for the enactment of that stewardship.  Good intentions are wonderful, but insufficient.  Stewardship is not about a point in time, either.  It is about ongoing resiliency and an “always on” culture of proactive behaviors that ensure the proper handling of money, data, and other assets.

Financial Services as an industry has a mixed record here.  For the most part, things are good.  Most people interact with the industry on a daily basis and do so with ease.  Of course, when things are almost always good, we take them for granted.  As such, when a lapse or breach does take place, it becomes the defining characteristic, the Achilles heel of an otherwise useful and productive company.  In addition, since we are talking about money, data, and personal information, such lapses can have outsized impacts on peoples’ and companies’ lives.  It’s great to be good 99.9999% of the time.  But if that .0001 % possibility is an “extinction event,” then even that is not tolerable.

The responsibilities here are joint.  In the world of, for example, Asset Management, the AM company has to take the issue seriously and invest in the right systems and platforms to ensure that ROI doesn’t come at the cost of impossible risk or regulatory breach.  But the investors who entrust their money to the AM company also have to demand of its executives to invest in these systems, processes, and people.  The passive approach by any party is a non-starter.

Massive advances have been made in Security but just as they’ve been made, the attack vectors have multiplied exponentially.  The Security industry has done a fine job of elevating Security to a top business issue, but many companies still honor that notion only rhetorically.

We need a new paradigm.

Trust in Fintech is key.  So too is stewardship.  A flexible and powerful security stance helps get us to both.

Written by Paul Dunay
Paul Dunay is an award-winning B2B marketing expert with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating awareness for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Paul is the global vice president of marketing for Maxymiser a leading web optimization firm, and author of four “Dummies” books: Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009), Social Media and the Contact Center for Dummies (Wiley Custom Publishing 2010), Facebook Advertising for Dummies (Wiley 2010) and Facebook Marketing for Dummies 2nd Edition (Wiley 2011). His unique approach to marketing has led to recognition of Paul as a BtoB Magazine Top 25 B2B Marketer of the Year for 2010 and 2009 and winner of the DemandGen Award for Utilizing Marketing Automation to Fuel Corporate Growth in 2008. He is also a finalist for the last six years in a row in the Marketing Excellence Awards competition of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), and is a 2010 and 2005 gold award winner in Driving Demand. Buzz Marketing for Technology, Paul’s blog, has been recognized as a Top 20 Marketing Blog for 2009 and 2008, a Top Blog to Watch for 2009 and 2008, and an Advertising Age Power 150 blog in the “Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs.” Paul has shared his marketing thought leadership as a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, BtoB Magazine, CMO Club, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and ITSMA. He has appeared on Fox News, and his articles have been featured in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, BtoB Magazine, MarketingProfs and MarketingSherpa. Paul holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Ithaca College.