August 16, 2019
Digital Finance

WeBank, China’s first strictly digital bank creating fintech ‘research centre’ with NTU


Malta is not the only country in the world where you can find a thriving fintech and crypto industry. China is quite active too, and it has WeBank which is a 100% digital bank, and it’s now partnered up with the NTU (Nanyang Technological University) of Singapore to create a fintech research center. Both institutions hope for the research to deliver machine-generated insights tailored to individual clients, so the service is more personalized and better suited for the bank’s customers as individuals.

The partnership will last for at least five years, as it was announced a couple of days ago. The research team will be comprised of 35 researchers (engineers and scientists) from both institutions, and they will work together in the common projects. From NTU’s side, the researchers will come from several departments across the board such as the School of Social Sciences, the School of Computer Science and Engineering, and the Research Centre of Excellence in Active Living for the Elderly, so the team is multidisciplinary and versatile.

That variety in researchers answers to the partnership’s goal which is to create a personalized wealth administration advice service for customers on the go built on advanced analytics and tied up with behavioral science.

It is an effort to keep WeBank competitive in an industry in which some other players (such as those that offer and secure bigger loans and give wealth management advice) are still doing business physically, one on one with clients, even as more services are becoming digitalized and are available online.

This policy will make wealth management advice available to every customer in the bank, and not to the wealthiest only, which remains the rule currently for most of the world’s banks, digital or not. The new partners explained the idea in this way:

“Traditional finance theories assume that people are rational when making financial choices. On the contrary, behavioral finance suggests investors are not always rational and are influenced by their own biases. The research can lead to new insights and ultimately, more effective advice to individuals”

The blockchain technology will also be part of the research that the team will carry out.  They will study ways to adopt blockchain in new digital financial services based on the Internet of Things and machine learning technology.

NTU’s president, Subra Suresh told the media that  “Our collaboration with WeBank aims to tap NTU’s research expertise in finance, behavioral science, and deep tech to create more opportunities for all.”

And WeBank’s CEO, David Ku had something to say as well “We believe fintech could bring more possibilities for inclusive finance. The same belief (shared by) NTU Singapore and WeBank will propel both to further drive innovation and optimize the financial services space. The joint research centre can also add to the diversity of the world’s fintech eco-system.”

The joint research centre is located at NTU, and it’s already up and running. The launch was presided by Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, and it happened last Thursday.

[Image courtesy of PixaBay]

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