Uplifting the Canadian Fintech Ecosystem: Insights from Payments Canada Summit

FISPAN’s Founder and CEO, Lisa Shields, attended the Payments Canada Summit 2024 in Toronto. Lisa spoke on an all-female panel of industry leaders to discuss ‘Uplifting the Canadian Fintech Ecosystem.’ She shared the stage with Shirley Hsu, VP of Payments at FreshBooks, Jen Rodrigues, Head of Open Banking at TD Bank, and Layial El-Hadi, Executive Director at Fintech Cadence. 

The session, which took place on Thursday, May 30, delved into the collaboration between major financial institutions and fintechs, highlighting how such partnerships can rapidly and innovatively transform businesses and address customer pain points effectively.

 

Insights from Lisa Shields

Lisa brought a wealth of experience and insight to the discussion. Reflecting on her extensive career in the fintech industry, Lisa emphasized the importance of openness and collaboration between fintechs and financial institutions. She noted that the Canadian fintech ecosystem, while robust, still has room to grow, especially in fostering mid-sized innovators compared to markets like the United States.

Lisa underscored the need for Canadian fintechs to be more open and proactive in their engagements with financial institutions. She recounted her own experience with FISPAN, where from the start, the business model was designed to be FI-friendly. This strategic alignment with financial institutions has been crucial in navigating the competitive landscape and achieving success.

 

The Importance of Collaboration

The panelists collectively emphasized the transformative power of collaboration. Jen Rodrigues shared insights from TD Bank's perspective, discussing the role of TD's Enterprise Open Banking team. This team focuses on enabling fintech investments and fostering partnerships that support the broader fintech ecosystem. Jen highlighted how open banking and strategic partnerships are essential for driving innovation and meeting customer needs.

 

Regional Differences and Market Strategies

One of the key discussions revolved around the regional differences in fintech ecosystems. Lisa pointed out that the U.S. market is notably more competitive and advanced in terms of API externalization and banking as a service (BaaS). This competitive edge has led many Canadian fintechs, including FISPAN, to initially target the U.S. market. Other panelists agreed, noting that while Canadian banks are making strides, there is still a lag compared to their U.S. counterparts in embracing embedded finance and open banking strategies.

 

A Bright Future for Canadian Fintech

Despite the challenges, the panel ended on an optimistic note, expressing confidence in the potential of the Canadian fintech ecosystem. By fostering greater collaboration and embracing innovative business models, there is significant opportunity for growth and transformation.

Lisa Shields and her fellow panelists left the audience with a clear message: the future of fintech in Canada is bright, but it requires a collective effort to push boundaries and embrace new ways of thinking. As the fintech landscape continues to evolve, such discussions are crucial for driving progress and ensuring that Canada remains at the forefront of financial innovation.

The Payments Canada Summit panel was not just a discussion but a call to action for all stakeholders in the fintech ecosystem to work together towards a more innovative and collaborative future.

 

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