Financial IT an exclusive interview with Neville Roberts, CEO of Fintech organisation Planixs.
Financial IT: Could you please tell us briefly about your background and career path that brought you to launching Planxis?
Neville Roberts (NR): I worked for Accenture for 18 years as a partner in technology working in multiple industries and eventually specialising in the Retail sector. I then joined Best Buy as their Enterprise CIO running their global IT function for 4 years. I witnessed the transition from mainframe and client/server technology when I was at Accenture and on joining Best Buy I saw the beginnings of technology solutions and services migrating to the cloud. Both of these transitions saw the “art of the possible” change and new opportunities come about for what technology could enable for industries. The rise of cloud capabilities saw the opportunity for industries to migrate their insight to become both real-time and intelligent. These intelligent insights are having a profound effect on the IT industry and what software solution providers can offer their customers. I launched Planixs to leverage this new technology trend and develop new software solutions that legacy technologies could not support.
Fintech was an obvious industry choice, especially after a chance meeting with an ex-Managing Director from Credit Suisse who explained the challenges that existed with real-time (intraday) cash and collateral liquidity management, including the upcoming banking regulations. This challenge was a technology one - suited to our technology stack and one we knew existing technology providers could not build.
Financial IT: How is vital migrating to the cloud for the financial sector?
NR: The financial sector has been slower than most industries in migration to the cloud but it is now well underway. Data privacy and security, in addition to regulations and bank policies, caused the uptake of cloud technologies to be slower than other industries. However, the major cloud vendors have matured and have worked diligently with the regulators to ensure concerns over cloud-based technologies have been mitigated. This has resulted in many more solutions now being provided in the cloud in a SaaS delivery model. Banks typically have very significant legacy systems on old, on-premise technology with a high cost of ownership and are very difficult and costly to update and change. This is giving the advantage to the challenger banks and allowing them to service customers in a more nimble and flexible way. It is vital that banks embrace the migration to the cloud and compete with the latest banking propositions in the market.
Financial IT: Definitely, the cloud transition is affecting fintech companies. How exactly is Planxis helping companies to deal with the industry challenges?
NR: Planixs technology platform, Graphite, is cloud-native and can be deployed in a SaaS or on-premise model. Our modular solution set is fully containerised to enable rapid deployment and upgrading. Our built-in AI and data science engine enable us to rapidly deploy new capabilities to the market reflecting what the industry needs. As part of this, we are working with the major cloud vendor to ensure we can answer all the relevant question and challenges that our customer banks have in using cloud-based technologies.
Financial IT: What are your plans for Planxis in 2020 and beyond?
NR: What a year 2019 was! We knew from late 2018 that the market for our Realiti Product Suite covering real-time, intraday cash, collateral and liquidity management was growing but the explosion of demand has been quite dramatic.
We started 2019 with the completion of our investment round with BGF (Business Growth Fund) who are the pre-eminent growth capital fund in the UK and backed by the four major UK banks. This has allowed us to expand across all areas of our business from sales and marketing to product development and customer implementation and support services.
Significant landmarks in the year included winning our first deals in North America, doubling our customer base and hiring some of the most talented banking industry experts, engineers and implementation consultants in the industry. At the end of 2019, we launched Realiti Essentials, our latest market offering comprising a SaaS only, all-inclusive, low-cost solution for SME banks and financial institutions to ensure regulatory compliance and help firms manage their intraday liquidity. The reception to this launch has been fantastic, with our first customer signing up within days and a doubling of our pipeline almost overnight. Realiti Essentials has really landed well in the industry and gives us the opportunity to serve many more small-medium banks in the industry across the world.
We were busy across all geographies at banking conferences including SIBOS, New York liquidity events and real-time treasury events in London, New York and Poland amongst other locations.
Meetings and interactions with members and associates from PRA, FED, ECB, MAS and other regulatory bodies once again confirmed that our offering covers the global needs to meet BCBS248 compliance and provide control through real-time liquidity analysis and control. We remain the only real-time solution suite that covers these needs and can provide SaaS or on-premise implementations.
Customer wins in the UK, North America, Europe, and covering banking operations in Asia/Pacific has enabled us to prove our sales and implementation model globally. Planixs now has by far the strongest customer pipeline in our industry space and we are fully focused on providing our current and new customers with all the service, support and exciting new capabilities that we have promised.
We started 2020 with our first win in Germany. LBBW, the largest Landesbank in the region, became a customer of our full Realiti Suite covering real-time liquidity management and analysis, funding and forecasting, regulatory reporting and real-time reconciliations. Combined with stress modelling capabilities, auto sweeping, throttling and real-time predictive balance forecasting the Realiti Suite will provide LBBW with the most advanced real-time treasury management solution in the market.
Our 2020 vision includes some major commitments throughout the year:
The development of our Collateral module that will result in the Planixs’ Realiti solution being the only real-time liquidity suite covering all banking assets and providing the only complete view of liquidity in the industry.
Working with channel partners across the world to accelerate our growth and penetrate all geographies. Over time, this will be backed up by onboarding new banking customers in other locations around the world.
Providing deeper functional and technical capabilities in our products including AI and data science, throttling and advanced BI/MI capabilities.
The provision of liquidity capabilities for major corporates. The market for our Realiti product now extends to large corporates as the need to control liquidity grows.
The launch of a major internal HR initiative to ensure we provide our employees with the best working experience and become the go to place to work in the banking software industry.
Within a few months, we are planning to announce and launch one of the most exciting, global opportunities in our history. This will revolutionise liquidity analysis in the banking industry…stay tuned!
I am proud to lead the most talented group of banking industry, sales, product, engineering and support professionals in my career and we are set for a year of tremendous growth. Buckle up and enjoy the ride…
Neville Roberts is the CEO of Fintech organisation, Planixs - the leading provider of treasury software.
Prior to establishing Planixs, Neville was the Enterprise CIO at Best Buy for 4 years, the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer, present in 14 countries and with a turnover in excess of $50bn.
Previously Neville spent 18 years at Accenture, the global management consultancy firm working across a number of sectors including government, banking and insurance, utilities, manufacturing and retail. As a senior partner in the Retail practice, Neville worked with many of the world’s leading retail companies.