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Fixed Income Trading: New venues

A simple question came up recently in a conversation – how many new Fixed Income trading venues are there?  [145]  I could not think of an...

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Fintech Innovation, Improvisation and Kelly's Heroes

Fintech Innovation within large companies can be challenging. Why? 

The mindset of heavily regulated financial firms is generally that the default answer to any question is a resounding no.  This brought to mind the film Kelly's Heroes...


Let me explain without spoiling the plot for those unfortunates who may not have seen the film.  Kelly (played by Clint Eastwood) has a superb plot for personal enrichment.  He brings onto his team a diverse set of people with different skills.  One of them is Oddball (Donald Sutherland). Oddball and his team of tanks have to cross a bridge to deliver their part of the plan.  But (see below) the bridge is destroyed.  
What happens now?

The team realise that they need to improvise and so bring into their plan a bridging team
Improvise...
With the aid of the bridging team, they make it over the river and can continue with their plan.  In a final twist, the team have to do a deal with a Nazi tank commander.  A deal is done, to make a 50:50 split of the loot between Kelly and his group and the tank commander.

Cutting a deal

So, what does this have to do with Fintech Innovation?

Kelly is someone who has been a soldier but sees a better opportunity for him outside of the regular military structure.  He builds a cross-disciplinary team of experts and empowers them to improvise to solve knotty problems.  And right before the big pay-out is due, he does a deal to cut his share by half, in order to get the deal done while it's still viable.

Kelly, therefore, is a prototype Fintech Entrepreneur.

Throughout the film a recurring theme is that of the relationship between Oddball and Moriarty and the fact that Oddball repeatedly tells Moriarty to be more positive - "quit with the negative waves".

So, is the problem that large financial institutions have too many "Moriarty" personalities and not enough "Oddball" personalities? And that the Kelly types are tied down by the problems of operating within a heavily regulated environment where risk taking is frowned upon?

"More negative waves..."

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