Meet Ghela Boskovich a self-proclaimed Fintech fanatic and Founder of FemTechGlobal™, a network dedicated to challenging the status quo, and improving the inclusiveness and diversity in Financial Services.
A frequent keynote speaker and editorial contributor, Ghela focuses on how to fast-track internal innovation, specifically on the practical application and commercialization of fintech/bank collaboration. She has a distinct preoccupation with modernizing legacy banking systems, disruptive business models, and facilitating banks’ emerging technology consumption. Her primary focus and expertise is in constructing Proof of Concept/Proof of Value scenarios and experiment design, including tech sprint mapping and process solutions for commercial pilot programs.
Boskovich’s regulatory background makes her a careful observer of regulatory changes in the industry. According to Continuity’s Banking Compliance Index, the second quarter of 2019 saw 56 regulatory changes for the financial services industry in the U.S. But as Boskovich notes, administrations in both the U.S. and Europe are seeking to roll back certain regulations, such as portions of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. These are not just esoteric details — regulation can play a crucial role in fostering — or stymying — bank-fintech collaboration.
An advocate of nurturing Customer Lifetime Value for both banks and those they serve, Ghela is a confirmed evangelist for adopting technology to transform the Financial Services industry for the greater good.
Tell us more about what you do and how you moved into your space.
I started my career as a regulatory economist focusing on pricing models for deregulated industries. I came full circle when I was recruited by a fintech that specialized in dynamic pricing solutions for financial services. It was the perfect fit for me and sparked my interest in tech, banking, and pricing. Years later, I am still infatuated with fintech and its impact on banking business models – especially as banking is going through its own form of deregulation.
What role do you play in the tech ecosystem and why is that role important?
I’m pretty much a provocateur and a bit of an agitator. My work focuses on bringing fintechs and banks to faster commercial collaboration. I spend most of my time designing pilots that solve existing bank challenges. I see a LOT of tech; I see a lot of problem statements across bank’s lines of business. I get to see both side’s frustrations – which in turn frustrates me. My frustration is that most of what we’re working on solving today doesn’t actually change the business model. And frankly, the business model must evolve. So every chance I get to speak out about it, I advocate for that evolution, even though it is uncomfortable. I speak often, and I’m not interested in reassuring anyone about what’s to come. So I provoke, I poke, and I hold up uncomfortable truths in hope that we can better adapt, lest banking die a death by a thousand little cuts.
How has technology impacted your industry and why is this important?
Tech has transformed how efficiently money can move, as well as how risk is financed, and capital distributed. Money underpins everything, and tech is enabling us to democratize access to it more broadly, giving more people the chance to access credit, become insured, and make their money work for them. Tech is also allowing us to redefine value and assets and redirect the flow of capital in a way that helps generate more value for more people. Tech is changing the nature of money – and if that isn’t important, I don’t know what is.
What do you believe is the most exciting tech trend for 2019 (as it relates to your industry)?
Artificial intelligence, and tokenization. AI for the way it’s helping us refine risk and ultimately helping more people get access to credit. Tokenization for the way it’s smoothing out payment and exchange systems, and how it’s allowing us to create new asset classes and move value more efficiently. I’m particularly excited about these new digital asset classes taking us away from traditional commodities based exchange and allowing us to price ideas, concepts, and intelligence. That’s revolutionary.
Who is a person that inspires you? Why?
I’m inspired by a lot of people: Gavin Littlejohn, who’s setting up a Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence to work on fair access to credit and customer data rights; Marta Krupinska, who co-founded Azimo, a cross border remittance fintech, who now is supporting fintechs all over the world to grow as she heads up Google’s UK fintech division; Nikhil Kumar, an original member of the iSpirit team who built the India Stack, giving 1 billion people digital identity and access to financial services they never had before; Julia Streets, who’s a prominent and vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in this industry. There are so many inspiring people doing good things in this space, too many to list them all.
What advice would you give for someone who wants to get into your space?
If you come from outside financial services and tech, we want you. Don’t be intimidated – your fresh, unbiased and non-traditional perspective is critical. You’ll challenge our assumptions and demand we look at things differently. We need you.
Also, your network will be your greatest advantage. Create it by following fintech on social media – it’s an active, and supportive, community, where you’ll learn a lot, form connections, and get caught up on the latest. It’s the best way into the industry, and it’s the best way of tapping into the network.