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November 6, 2018

2018 Canada FinTech Forum: The Dawn of a Revolution in Financial Services

Investissement Québec was at the sixth edition of the Canada FinTech Forum, held at the Palais des congrès de Montréal on October 29 and 31, 2018.


FinTech Mtl 2018 - Photo of a person using a financial app on a smartphone


This event, intended to facilitate the development of business opportunities for the financial services and information technology industries, is a chance for new talents and trends to be discovered and expertise to be promoted.


Pierre Gabriel Côté, President and CEO of Investissement Québec, took the stage at the forum to highlight the huge potential represented by this sector, while Sebastian Boisjoly, Vice-President, Venture Capital and Investment Funds, served on the jury for the Start-up Pitch Contest Open a new window.


FinTech for dummies
Imagine a future where you won’t have to take time off work to meet with your financial advisor… Whether you want to renew your mortgage, manage your investments or simply benefit from more efficient banking transactions, FinTech promises to revolutionize the way you manage your financial activities.


The adoption rate for these technologies for financial services has reached an average of 15.5% worldwide, and China leads the pack with its rate of 29.1%; meanwhile, Canada is dragging its feet at just 8.2%.


Adoption rate in Canada
EY Open a new window, FinTech Adoption Index 2017


While innovative solutions to simplify fund transfers, electronic payments and insurance transactions are already at the top of the list, savings, investments and financial planning could become more popular.


The study Accelerating development in Montréal’s FinTech ecosystem Open a new windowcarried out by EY in collaboration with Finance Montréal, reveals that in Canada in 2015 more than 44 companies in the FinTech attracted investments. Moreover, the percentage of investments grew by 300% between 2014 and 2015.


Increase in investments between 2014 and 2015
EY Open a new window, 2017


According to the study, mentoring, the creation of a sandbox environment, the development of a university curriculum and the formation of a hub to support businesses in the sector are four solutions that would position Montréal as a global centre of excellence.


2018 Start-up Pitch Contest
Selected from 118 applicants, 10 start-ups from the UK, France, Canada and the United States were the finalists. Of this group, four Canadian start-ups earned top honours Open a new window, OWL.CO Open a new window , Nesto Open a new window, Lendified Open a new windowet Symend Open a new window.


The only Québec start-up in the running, Nesto Open a new windowwon the $15,000 public’s choice prize awarded by Mackenzie Investments for its technology that makes it possible to screen the whole market in seconds and compare the best mortgage rates.


Stimulating innovation
FinTech responds to a crying need on the part of clients who are looking for increased efficiency and flexibility in managing their many financial operations. It is this growing need that forced the ecosystem to innovate and players to offer better solutions.


The financial support role played by a corporation like Investissement Québec is based on a start-up’s development potential. But how can this potential be assessed? Among other things, by answering a few questions:


  • How big is the target market?
  • Is the solution replicable in other banking institutions and other countries?
  • Does it respond to an important problem?
  • How can the service be monetized and who will pay for it?

Although Québec still has a long way to go in adopting more open technological solutions, the 2018 Canada FinTech Forum brought together young companies that have plenty of ideas on how to solve some persistent problems in the financial industry. Among other things, the increasingly widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI) represents a key element emphasized at the forum. Trends worth monitoring in the future concern solutions to enhance the client experience and AI involvement in decision-making.