CPI’s annual Europe Summit is taking place 5-6 March 2019 at the Hilton Canary Wharf in London. Each CPI event begins with an advisory board meeting, when commercial payment leaders provide us with industry insights, helping us build the programme. Common themes from this year’s advisory board were:

Regulation
The past few years have sent many of Europe’s institutions realing as they’ve endeavored to keep up with GDPR and PSD2 compliance, late payments directives, money laundering rules and potential commercial card interchange fee regulations, all with the UK on the brink of Brexit. Dealing with new rules and regulations is often cited as the single greatest challenge among those in the room.

In particular, many are contemplating the business models to support the growth of commercial payments and compensate for the potential losses from lower interchange income. In answer to understand how EU/UK regulation is shaping the industry, we’ll be sure to create opportunities for in-depth conversation and engagement during the March conference.

Talking tech
In a PSD2 world, fintech/bank collaboration is all the talk, but how is that being put into practice? And when fintechs dash out on their own, are they driving greater competition in the financial services space, and how is that manifesting itself in the commercial realm?

In terms of specific technology, some board members wanted to know how tech like AI is being applied to fraud and risk management. Tokenization, also came up within this context. Moreover, technologies that help corporates access data analytics generated by payments was identified as a huge opportunity. It’s no doubt that tech will be at the center of many of the conference’s conversations.

Payments convergence
Request-for-payments, faster and real-time payments, virtual cards and traditional commercial cards. Will newer technologies disintermediate cards, or is there an opportunity to create a convergence strategy, where value through an integrated approach utilizes the attributes of each payment type? What is the opportunity from a strategic perspective to bring these together for treasurers, procurement, and platforms?

Furthermore, as banks discuss the value of payments, they’re looking to incorporate this into a holistic, solution- based approach for clients, addressing working capital, supply chain finance, data capture/visibility and process efficiency demands.

Client needs, big and small
The board has always acknowledged that at the heart of their products and services is addressing the needs and pain points of corporate customers. Banks want to know how their customers think about payments, how this will continue to evolve, and how they can be the best partner when it comes to providing value through payments.

This doesn’t just apply to the large corporate client, but also for SME customers. Increasingly, banks are eyeing the potentially highly profitable segment, but their structures and needs differ vastly from their larger counterparts, and it seems that a flood of fintechs, including challenger banks have created services that have resonated with this segment. Those in the room are looking to learn more about how and whether SME customers will gravitate toward smaller, niche fintech players, or look to incumbent financial institutions.

Role players
Because of the nature of payments and the various intermediaries and key players involved, of keen interest is hearing from a wide variety of those that have a direct impact on the industry’s business models, its growth, and the competitive landscape. Hearing from an industry group like IATA, given their own payments initiatives, would provide an additional perspective on the changing payments landscape. Another key perspective is the acquirer and its role in driving commercial card acceptance.

Register for CPI’s 9th annual Europe Summit and join the only event dedicated to commercial payments.

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