By Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive at Standard Chartered
Here is a constant conundrum many of us in banking face. How do you make your online banking services as easy and accessible as possible while ensuring they are completely safe and secure? Making select investments in savvy fintechs that think laterally about the opportunities and issues facing online financial services is a core plank of our digital transformation.
We’ve made three recent investments, via our SC Ventures innovation unit, in companies that help protect all of us when we bank, and do business, online. Secret Double Octopus | Forget your Password not only one of the best named companies I’ve come across, but are at the cutting edge of online authentication. Like many of you, I struggle with too many passwords – Secret Double Octopus are at the forefront of developing a practical solution to remove the need for passwords, whilst enhancing protection against cybercrime.
Silent Eight impressed us with the ability of their AI-based platform to significantly enhance the speed and accuracy of our ability to spot financial crime risk across the transactions we undertake. We partnered with them in 2018, and made our first investment last year. The significant increase in online banking since the onset of COVID-19 has shown the importance of having these tools in your armoury. Silent Eight has doubled in scale since the start of the year, and I’m pleased that we’ve continued to support their research and development via further investment.
With the increasing complexity of cyber threats, our recent investment in vArmour allows businesses like ours to control operational and cyber risk across any digital platform in a single view, so security across the critical banking applications we use can be enhanced. Our investment will help vArmour expand its services globally.
I always find it fascinating to talk to start-ups and tech companies that think differently about improving safe access to financial services. Using our SC Ventures unit, I am proud that we can get directly support and partner with ‘the best of the best’ – some of the most promising fintechs shaping the future of safe online banking.