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Banking and Capital Markets, Finance, Investment and Asset Management

FT Disruptech

Strategies for intelligent growth in a Big Tech world

London |
Speakers include:
David Knott

David Knott


Alison Rose

Alison Rose


Robert Swerling

Robert Swerling



FT Disruptech, part of the annual Banking Summit, will examine the very latest technologies driving seismic change across the financial services ecosystem. Join us to hear a range of banks, insurers, asset managers, start-ups and regulatory bodies engage in frank and timely discussions directed by expert FT journalists, and take advantage of networking opportunities within this very senior peer group.

fallback Add to my Calendar 12/04/2019 14:30:0012/04/2019 18:00:00falseFT DisruptechFT Disruptech, part of the annual Banking Summit, will examine the very latest technologies driving seismic change across the financial services ecosystem. Join us to hear a range of banks, insurers, asset managers, start-ups and regulatory bodies engage in frank and timely discussions directed by expert FT journalists, and take advantage of networking opportunities within this very senior peer group.FT-Disruptechb9d058524414ab75cf59ed08d57a6dcdMM/DD/YYYY

Full Overview

For the first time since 2008, financial services firms across the board are discussing – even expecting – business growth. Despite sluggish interest rates and razor thin operating margins, players across the financial ecosystem are optimistic. New technology has long been hailed as the solution for increasing efficiency and saving money – but while it can fuel growth, it can also camouflage poor processes and disguise a lack of

Installing new technology in the interest of growth is futile, unless the routine processes that are being automated are first closely examined and streamlined. Without a review and revamping of underlying processes, any digital banking initiative will fall short of full optimisation and, at worst, simply automate
already dysfunctional processes.

How can financial firms protect and expand existing revenue streams, while at the same time working out how technology fits into their overall strategy? Which technologies should they use, and where? Leaders in technology, operations and strategy are tasked with driving change across the business – so how can they separate useful technology from inefficient processes, and justify investment in technology to the top level of management? Is it possible to innovate without disrupting day-to-day business, or derailing the cautious growth that had eluded the financial industry for a decade?

FT Disruptech, part of the annual Banking Summit, will examine the very latest technologies driving seismic change across the financial services ecosystem. Join us to hear a range of banks, insurers, asset managers, start-ups and regulatory bodies engage in frank and timely discussions directed by expert FT journalists, and take advantage of networking opportunities within this very senior peer group.


Agenda - 4th Dec

  • 2:30pm
    Opening Remarks from the FT

    Izabella Kaminska, Alphaville Editor, Financial Times

  • 2:35pm
    The Bank of the Future

    Fireside Chat: an industry evolving

    The new CEO of RBS will discuss how the banking industry has changed during her career, the disruptive forces at play in today’s market, and how banks can embrace this disruption.

    Alison Rose, CEO, RBS

    In conversation with Joy Macknight, Managing Editor, The Banker


    Panel Discussion: is the true bank of the future built on data?

    It is no secret that financial services are awash with data. Customers, clients, partners, suppliers: new information is generated by the second, and financial services firms are becoming ever more adept at storing it. But data is often segregated by product line, with legacy systems often making it difficult to glean full insight from the numbers or develop agile new products with data strategy at their core. It is also impossible to assess and restructure traditional processes when relevant data is locked into heritage systems, siloed by product and hand-cuffed by channel.

    • Creating an enterprise data architecture is the key to organising enormous databases. Are there industry-wide standards for this? Which parts of the industry are doing this well, and which are lagging behind?
    • What data-led processes are in place at new, start up organisations? Can banks and other financial institutions learn from data strategies developed completely outside their own industry?
    • Each of a bank’s business lines  —  mortgages, loans, accounts, insurance, and so on —  has a different owner. How can technology and strategy professionals overcome internal politics and competition to build data-led strategy at enterprise level?
    • How does data strategy affect other new technological solutions? How can banks and financial services firms optimise their data to benefit other transformation programmes, like artificial intelligence, machine learning or automation?

    Marissa Kimball, Head of Financial Services, Palantir

    Sudhir Kesavan, Head of Design, Engineering & Transformation, Wipro Digital

    David Knott, Chief Architect, HSBC

    Graham Smith, Head of Data Innovation and Strategy, RBS

    Moderated by Joy Macknight, Managing Editor, The Banker

  • 3:45pm
    Build or Buy: the key issues

    Deborah O'Neill, UK Head of Digital, Oliver Wyman

  • 4:00pm
    Networking Break
  • 4:20pm
    Build or buy: what is the right balance when it comes to developing new technology?

    For legacy banks and financial services institutions, replacing or rebuilding core systems is costly and time inefficient. What new opportunities are there to fast track innovation through technology acquisition rather than in-house development? What can be done to harness business and cultural synergies and enable a more seamless integration post-merger? How can organisations best prepare for potential integration roadblocks?

    Andrew Ellis, Head of Ventures, Commercial and Private Bank, NatWest

    Vishal Garg, Founder and CEO,

    Michal Kissos Hertzog, CEO, Pepper Bank

    Deborah O'Neill, UK Head of Digital, Oliver Wyman

    Rob Swerling, Chief Operating Officer, Corporate & Investment Banking, Investec

    Moderated by Izabella Kaminska, Alphaville Editor, Financial Times

  • 5:05pm
    Tech Carousel: the new technologies revolutionising the financial ecosystem

    What does the financial landscape of tomorrow look like? Can financial services firms and big tech companies co-exist peacefully in the technology-optimised ecosystem of the future – or will one ultimately buy out the other?

    In this session, technology experts will give snapshot case studies illustrating a range of disruptive technologies, all of which look set to transform the financial industry forever. All experts will then join a panel discussion with Antony Jenkins, Founder & Executive Chair, 10x Future Technologies Group.

    Kevin Goldsmith, CTO, Onfido

    Alastair Johnson, Founder and CEO, Nuggets

    Joao Martins, CTO, Yapily

    Moderated by Joy Macknight, Managing Editor, The Banker

  • 5:40pm
    Closing Remarks from the FT

    Izabella Kaminska, Alphaville Editor, Financial Times

  • 5:45pm
    Drinks Reception

Speakers (14)

David Knott

David Knott

Chief Architect
Alison Rose

Alison Rose


Alison Rose is Deputy CEO of NatWest Holdings and Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Corporate, Commercial & Private Banking business. An influential member of the RBS Executive Management Team, she leads over 12,000 people and is accountable for market-leading brands such as Coutts and Lombard. She has worked at RBS for more than 25 years and prior to her current role was Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Markets & International Banking. Senior leadership roles with RBS have also included Head of Non–investment Grade Origination and Head of Leveraged Finance for the UK and Europe.

Previously shortlisted for the 'most influential woman in investment banking' award by Financial News, Ms Rose is a passionate supporter of diversity and executive sponsor for the bank’s employee-led networks.  Invited to lead a review of the barriers to women starting a business by the UK Government, she also champions NatWest’s Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, an innovative initiative supporting start-up businesses across the UK. 

Robert Swerling

Robert Swerling

Chief Operating Officer

Robert Swerling is Chief Operating Officer of Investec’s Corporate & Investment Banking division. His responsibilities include technology, data, change, legal, client lifecycle management, and lending, trading and securities operations. Prior to this, he was co-CEO of the Up Group, a private equity-backed talent advisory firm focused on the digital economy. Before that, Rob held the role of COO at Bookatable, a venture-backed restaurant technology provider which exited to Michelin. A former commercial barrister, Rob co-founded a credit derivatives software and data business which exited to CME Group, before leading Google’s retail partnerships team in Europe, Middle East & Africa. An investor in, and advisor to, a number of tech start-ups, and a limited partner in several venture funds, Rob is a regular speaker at technology conferences across the world. He has first class degrees from Oxford and Cambridge.

Antony Jenkins

Antony Jenkins

Founder & Executive Chair
10x Future Technologies Group

Antony Jenkins is Founder & Executive Chair of 10x Future Technologies Group, and defines the company's vision to make banking 10x better. His focus on driving innovation in the digital economy also extends to his role as Group Chairman of Currencies Direct, the leading UK non-bank provider of foreign exchange and international payment services, and his role as a board member of Blockchain, the world’s leading software platform for digital assets. He is also a Board Director of Fannie Mae, sitting on the US mortgage lender’s Strategic Initiatives and Technology Committee as Vice Chair, the Audit Committee and the Risk Policy and Capital Committee.

Antony is a strong believer in the need for businesses to support the future workforce to acquire the right skills to thrive in the digital era; his commitment to education is recognised in his role as Chair of the Institute for Apprenticeships, an employer-led organisation established to promote high-quality apprenticeships by 2020. He was previously the Group CEO of Barclays for three years until 2015.

Andrew Ellis

Andrew Ellis

Head of Ventures

Andy Ellis leads the bank’s proactive response to the tech disruption. He is responsible for building and scaling a portfolio of standalone digital businesses to generate new revenue streams across NatWest. These ventures use technology to create and launch innovative business models into the market and so far include a digital bank for SMEs (Mettle), a direct lender (Esme) and a merchant acquiring business (Tyl) plus a number of other banking and adjacent businesses. He is also on the Board of FreeAgent (cloud accounting software). Prior to this role, Andy spent a number of years leading business strategy teams across banking, following an early career in technology and consulting with Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting). As someone who believes in taking tangible action when it comes to improving diversity in banking, Andy launched the RBS Comeback programme for female returners in 2015 and recently launched a ground-breaking digital programme for young people from underrepresented area.

Vishal Garg

Vishal Garg

Founder and CEO

Vishal Garg is CEO and Founder of, a digital mortgage disruptor backed by some of the biggest financial institutions in the world, including Goldman Sachs, American Express and Citi. Vishal also serves as the Founding Partner of 1/0 Capital, a credit and financial technology incubator and the Chairman of Climb Credit, The Number, Penguin Pay and Phoenix Holdings. From 2000 to 2009, Vishal was the founder and CFO of MyRichUncle, which pioneered data-driven online student lending. He graduated from NYU Stern with highest honors.

Kevin Goldsmith

Kevin Goldsmith

Chief Technology Officer

As Chief Technology Officer at Onfido, Kevin Goldsmith is responsible for the research, development, and commercialisation of technologies such as machine learning and computer vision that enable Onfido to deliver a world class identity verification product used by over 1,500 companies. Formerly, Kevin was the Chief Technology Officer at Avvo; the Vice President of Engineering, Consumer at Spotify; a Director of Engineering at Adobe Systems; and, development lead at Microsoft. Kevin has been a developer, software architect, technology manager, and senior technology executive for over 27 years.

Alastair Johnson

Alastair Johnson

Founder and CEO

Alastair Johnson, an entrepreneur and innovator, believes the blockchain is about to transform relationships between individuals and institutions they interact with. He envisions a world in which individuals regain absolute power over their own data and profit from its value every day — both financially and through day-to-day conveniences. Alastair has led global integrated product development and product marketing for brands like Microsoft, Skype, Office, Xbox, Hololens, Disney, TED and the BBC. He is Founder and CEO of Nuggets, a blockchain ecommerce payments and ID platform that aims to redefine online security and privacy.

Michal Kissos Hertzog

Michal Kissos Hertzog


Michal Kissos Hertzog leads Pepper, Israel's first mobile-only challenger bank that was launched in 2017. Pepper, part of the Leumi Group, represents a revolution in how millennials think about and manage their money in a digital world. It is based on AI technology that helps customers better manage their finances and make the most of their money. Michal has over 13 years of experience in digital banking, strategy and corporate development within the Leumi Group. In her previous role, Michal served as Head of Innovation and Digital at Leumi. She was responsible for leading and implementing digital innovation across all business lines of the Group, alongside managing 'Leumi Digital' – the bank's digital banking channels. Michal also served as Head of Corporate Development at Leumi's Retail Banking Division and held several managerial positions at 'Leumi Card', Leumi’s credit card company.

Prior to joining the Leumi Group, Michal spent several years as an attorney at GKH law offices, one of Israel’s leading law firms, specializing in corporate and commercial law, securities and M&A transactions. She holds a B.A. in Economics and an LL.B. from Tel Aviv University, and an MBA from IDC Herzliya (Wharton Executive Program, University of Pennsylvania).

Sudhir Kesavan

Sudhir Kesavan

Head of Design, Engineering & Transformation
Wipro Digital

Sudhir Kesavan is Vice President and Head of Design, Engineering & Transformation at Wipro Digital. He is responsible for overseeing the IT transformation of Wipro’s largest clients and the building of design and engineering-led capabilities that are at the heart of the enterprise agility paradigm. Sudhir and his team focus on enabling clients to transform their IT division to become high-performance organisations. Sudhir has established scaled digital teams across the UK, US and India with an expanding presence in continental Europe.

Before joining Wipro Digital, Sudhir was the founder of his own fintech start-up, a customer journey platform that removed information asymmetries and discriminatory practices from automatic purchasing and financing. Prior to this, Sudhir was in Wipro and was leading the transformation of pioneering financial services clients. Sudhir holds a BSc in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Kerala, and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management.

Marissa Kimball

Marissa Kimball

Head of Financial Services

Marissa Kimball is the Head of Financial Services at Palantir Technologies, where she is responsible for Palantir’s work in areas including risk, financial crime, marketing, and digital transformation. Marissa has led Palantir’s largest partnerships in the US, Europe, Asia, and South America. Prior to joining Palantir in 2012, she worked at several payment and healthcare technology startups in Latin America and as a business consultant. Marissa holds a degree in Public Policy and Economics from Duke University, and currently resides in London.

Joao Martins

Joao Martins


Joao Martins is CTO at Yapily, an enterprise connectivity company.  Since joining Yapily in 2017, Joao builds agile teams, tools and technologies to deliver product excellence for both its customers and developer communities. For over 20 years, Joao has been working on the development of software and technologies across gaming, advertising and financial industries. Prior to his current role, he became the Tech Lead at VisualDNA, building a revolutionary way of understanding customers by combining psychology and big data. Before this he worked in engineer and product roles before joining Bossa Studios, where he developed the software for BAFTA winning Facebook game, Monstermind.

Deborah  O’Neill

Deborah O’Neill

Head of UK Digital
Oliver Wyman

Deborah O’Neill is UK Head of Digital and a partner at Oliver Wyman, where she leads complex digital transformations at the world’s largest companies. She helps her clients build out their engineering and delivery capability, making them self-sufficient and able to make changes more rapidly. An expert in untethering businesses from technology systems and approaches no longer fit for purpose, Deborah has recently worked on the build and launch of several Greenfield businesses. She is widely published on issues relating to how financial services companies can free themselves from legacy IT infrastructure, use data to strengthen connections to customers and better use analytics to prepare for AI.

Deborah’s work as a female leader has been recognised with numerous accolades. She is a committed advocate for gender equality who seeks to create mentoring and sponsorship opportunities for future female technologists both within Oliver Wyman and the industries she operates.

Graham Smith

Graham Smith

Head of Data Innovation and Strategy

Graham Smith took on the role of Head of Data Innovation for RBS in 2017, where his focus is on using AI and Machine Learning to drive a range of transformational outcomes for customers and the bank. Prior to this he was RBS’ first Chief Data Officer, responsible for the data management agenda within RBS, having joined RBS Group in 2009 as Chief Operating Officer for Risk Management in the Corporate Banking Division.

Before RBS, Graham spent 12 years at ABN AMRO where he held a number of senior positions including Head of Risk Systems and Head of Bank-wide Basel 2 Programme. He began his career in financial services with Prudential, before moving to Coopers & Lybrand where he worked on the restructuring of Lloyds of London following its near-collapse.


FT Co-Chairs (2)

Izabella Kaminska

Izabella Kaminska

FT Alphaville

Izabella Kaminska joined FT Alphaville in October 2008 and reports and blogs on technological, collaborative and digital trends, central banking, money, commodities and markets. Before joining the Financial Times, she worked as a producer at CNBC, a natural gas reporter at Platts and an associate editor of BP’s internal magazine. She has also worked as a reporter on English language business papers in Poland and Azerbaijan and was a Reuters graduate trainee in 2004. She studied Ancient History at University and has always been interested in central banks, commodities and market structure.

Joy Macknight

Joy Macknight

Managing Editor
The Banker

Joy Macknight is Managing Editor at The Banker, having previously been Deputy Editor and Technology Editor, covering transaction banking, fintechs and technology. Previously, she was Features Editor at Profit & Loss, a foreign exchange and derivatives magazine and conference producer. Before that, she was Editorial Director at Treasury Today and Editor at gtnews, which cover corporate treasury. She also worked as a staff writer on Banking Technology and IBM Computer Today, as well as a freelancer on Computer Weekly. She has a BSc from the University of Victoria, Canada.


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