Technology innovation has always been intrinsic to the changing role of treasury, and been instrumental in creating opportunities for enhanced efficiency, control and capacity building. In some cases, such as electronic banking, technology has been delivered by banks while others, such as treasury management, payment, collection systems and some trading portals, have been developed by third party technology companies. As Bruno Mellado, Head of International Payments & Collections, BNP Paribas comments,
“Fintech is not new for treasurers, although the name has been coined relatively recently: treasurers have benefitted from innovations by banks and technology vendors and the partnerships between them, over many years."
If you were to believe much of the rhetoric that has circulated over the past three years or so, however, you would think that financial technology was invented in around 2014, discarding two or more decades of treasury technology evolution to gaze starry-eyed at new ‘fintech’ companies with their ‘disruptive’ technologies, edgy branding and designer casual dress code. Today, however, the rhetoric is starting to wane, with more sensible conversations now taking place about the role and potential of new technologies. In reality, these conversations are far more exciting than the somewhat vacuous claims of a brave new technology world in which the ‘little guys’ break down the ‘establishment’ (a direct quote from a fintech CEO).