Fintech – never an overnight success

By Anthony Rafferty, CEO, Origo

At the beginning of 2022 everyone was breathing a sigh of relief as the worst of the two year pandemic appeared to be behind us. We looked ahead to 2022 as a year when we could get back to ‘normal’ again.

A year on and the world is looking at a global recession, we have a war in Europe and in the UK, high inflation, rising interest rates, falling GDP and an austerity budget which will see many people and businesses pay more tax.

With the Bank of England’s warning of a two year recession ringing in our ears, there is plenty of negativity in the atmosphere.

Which is why I believe every company every year should look back on their achievements and celebrate their successes.

The tenets of success, certainly as I have found them in my many years in the financial services industry, are that it takes a lot of hard work and it takes time. “Overnight successes” are rarely ever that, but the cumulation of many hours of hard graft by a dedicated group of people, propelled by a vision, a passion for what they do and a resilience to make it work.

This is no better evidenced than in Fintech.

Origo has a long history of working collaboratively with the industry to deliver ground breaking technology. This includes the Origo Transfers Service, our current work to establish the pensions dashboard central digital architecture and our Origo Dashboard Connector, as well as Unipass Identity, Unipass Mailock, Unipass Letter of Authority and the Origo Integration Hub.

Every one of these are developments offering industry-wide benefits, helping to make the industry more streamlined and efficient, helping companies to achieve their ESG goals, as well as delivering better service to the end consumer.

Yet, despite the considerable efficiencies, cost savings and other benefits they bring to the industry, none of them have been overnight successes.

If we take the Origo Integration Hub as an example, it was launched in 2016 as a service for products providers, platforms and software houses in the savings and investment market.

We had spotted that we could help these participants achieve considerable efficiencies, cost, time and resource savings by doing away with the need to undertake resource heavy, time consuming and costly point-to-point integrations with the companies with which they needed to exchange data. Instead we built a centralised hub to which they could link once and then connect to any other user of the hub for key services such as investment valuations, bulk valuations, account opening, remuneration, transfer tracking and bulk transaction history.

It is a common-sense strategy for the industry, fulfilling the very real need for companies to be able to integrate with each other as quickly and as easily as possible. In addition, it meant the industry could become more efficient and competitive, as integrations did not depend on having deep pockets or a significant business case.

Genius, right? Everyone told us so and yet by August 2020, only 21 firms had joined the Hub.

There were plenty of good reasons for it, not least the incredible drain on resources, time and money caused at the start of the pandemic.

But having been in the market for 30+ years we were not fazed by this, as we know with projects of this kind it can take time for momentum to build. You often need your early adopters to demonstrate the benefits before the rest of the industry will come on board.

And this is what happened. As we go into early 2023, we will be looking at over 50 companies, including top industry names, who will be using the Origo Integration Hub, with others in the pipeline.

To achieve success, we have learned that along with the hours of hard graft, dedicated people, a vision, passion and resilience, it also helps to have a little patience.

So, as we head towards the end of the year, we are celebrating our successes, bit by bit and no matter how long they take to come to fruition. I recommend you do the same.