The future is here

4 June 2019

It has been an amazing six months.  I was privileged to attend the JP Morgan Research Summit In October 2018 in Taipei where I got an insight at where Asia is now and where it is heading in terms of its economic development. What an exciting part of the world we are privileged to live in. You can see further discussion about that conference in earlier blogs.

Just a few weeks ago in May 2019 I was lucky enough to participate in the Israeli leg of the Netwealth fintech summit. For those who don't know what fintech means, it relates to all things technology that relate to financial services. What I was hoping to find were better, smarter ways to provide quality financial services to our clients. What I found was much more.

Before getting into any detail, my overall impression was how exciting Israel is as a centre of innovation and a high-performance technology hub.  The technologies they are developing makes me optimistic about the future. At a time when we seem to be overwhelmed by negative messages, this was a welcome breath of fresh air. In a country of just 9 million people which is extremely limited in land and mineral resources and surrounded by political enemies, Israel is the prime example of survival against the odds.  Such obstacles seem only to have focussed the Israeli people to make the most of what they have.

One example of this is in the health arena.  The Israeli scientists have figured out a way to clone human collagen cells and grow them on to tobacco plants.  Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is widely used in medical treatment for bones, tendons and muscles.  The animal collagen most often used in medical treatment has significant downsides which the cloned human collagen does not. In addition the cloned human collagen can be manufactured at a fraction of the price.  These scientists are now working on using this same virgin human collagen grown on tobacco plants to 3D print lungs. What an irony.

We also went to visit the head offices of Monday.com, also in Tel Aviv.  Monday.com is a team management software solution which has taken the corporate world by storm.  It helps teams work more co-operatively together, improves productivity and performance tracking through better communication.

We also went to see Pepper, a new breed of digital bank.  When similar offerings come to Australia, it is going to revolutionise how we manage our finances and interact with our financial institutions by providing us with much more information about what we spend our money on (in real time), more efficient processes in dealing with banks including simpler, more efficient loan processing.  If our banks don’t take up this new technology, they are going to be sidelined.  Even if they do, they will experience significant margin pressure on their core offerings. After many years of taking advantage of their huge market share with little real competition, the big four Australian banks’ day in the sun may be over.

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