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Technology Updated: 30 Aug 2017

Latin America's fintech sector meets in Miami

At the cl@b 2017, the region's leading experts will analyze how to apply innovation in the Latin American financial sector given the challenges of digitization, the need for new regulation, and the intensive use of technology in present and future banking services.

claob 2017 bbva

Beginning today, Miami, “the capital of Latin America”, is hosting a new edition of the cl@b, the Latin American fintech summit, which this year will include close to 1,000 participants from 37 countries, in addition to broad representation from the United States and Europe.

The event, which is organised by the Latin American Banking Federation (Felaban) and the Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA), will include tech giants such as PayPal, Facebook, and Microsoft, as well as leading fintech companies such as Coinbase and Xoom. They will be joined by a large group of executives from 130 banks in the United States and Latin American, including Bank of America, Visa, Citibank, and Bank of Brazil.  Fernando Moreno, head of Global Business Development for NDB, will represent BBVA at this international meeting.

The organizers of the cl@b believe that Latin America is at a crossroads and needs to embrace financial technology and digitize its banking services. With this goal in mind, the participants will, over the course of three days, discuss the benefits of exponential technologies such as the blockchain , big data , and artificial intelligence, as well as advances made in each country in the region, and they will also review the main trends in areas such as payments, cybersecurity, and financial inclusion.

David Schwartz, President of FIBA, says that we are at “a time of great anxiety for the banking industry in which incumbents realize that complacency is not an option. Emerging technologies and innovative business models must be part of the solution. But the answer will probably not come from within: collaboration with external entrepreneurs and startups will invigorate existing paradigms, generate faster solutions and improve customer experiences that are so vital for traditional players to thrive.”

Giorgio Trettenero, Secretary General of Felaban, says that the cl@b aspires to be a show window for the most relevant issues banks will have to examine in the future: “We are a forum for high-level, topical debate designed to promote technological change and transformation in Latin American banking, and among the more than 620 banks that belong to our federation.”

Regulation will also be a topic at the meeting. The countries in the region are pushing hard to adapt their regulations to the new reality, as shown by efforts in countries such as Mexico, which now has a draft fintech law . The debate will also address the experience in European countries and the benefits of adopting “regulatory sandboxes”, i.e. controlled frameworks that promote innovation and mitigate risks.

Miami is hosting a new edition of the cl@b, the Latin American fintech summit

Business, security, and inclusion models

At this year’s meeting, the cl@b will hold plenary sessions, technical chats, and meetings focused on the topics such as the use of APIs, adapting banks to the new business models, and the future of payment systems. As a prelude to the event, FIBA will also present FIBAtech, a space in which banks can make connections with leading fintech companies who can help them accelerate their transformation.

Some of the cl@b’s most prominent workshops include “Competitive collaboration between banks and fintechs or how to move into a future with permanent innovation”, with the participation of Paypal; “Banks and the blockchain: perspectives for the financial industry”, with Michael Casey (MIT Media Lab), Gustavo Fosse (Bank of Brazil), and Robleh Ali (Bank of England) and Carlos Kuchkovsky (BBVA); “Women, technology, and Latin America”, with the participation of Silvia Pavoni (The Banker), Laura Gaviria (Citi), and Francesca de Quesada (Facebook); “The API economy: an open financial system that promotes innovation?”, and “Responsible innovation or how to promote economic growth and social and environmental issues sustainably and inclusively”, with the participation of Alejandro Picos (Paypal), Santiago Perdomo (Scotiabank), and Fernando Moreno (BBVA).

Chris Skinner, one of the global fintech community’s gurus, will give the event’s closing address. He will analyse the current “financial revolution”, and provide a vision of how technology will change the financial sector, and many other sectors, in the next decade.