Temenos has been expanding its digital capabilities as it continues to strengthen its position in Asia-Pacific. The banking software company allocates 20% of its earnings to research and development, and when asked about some of its latest developments, its Managing Director for APAC, Martin Frick, quickly replies: “I could talk for hours about that.”
Martin says Temenos’s main investment is in open application programming interfaces, which pave the way for an open style of banking. “We’re presenting our own technology in a way that everyone can really see the fantastic benefits that come from collaborating with Temenos,” he says.
Open banking is an increasingly popular trend in which businesses are shifting away from traditionally closed, vertically integrated models towards systems that allow third-party fintech companies, start-ups, insurers and retailers to do business with particular banks. Customers share access to their financial information with these third parties, and that in turn creates an enhanced banking experience via apps or other services.
The next big thing
On the back of open banking comes another major development: the Temenos Marketplace. “You can imagine it as something like an app store,” Martin explains. “We have partners who write software that connects to our own Temenos software, and they then promote and sell this software on the Temenos Marketplace."
"We essentially facilitate the meeting between the banks and the innovative fintech companies. But at the same time, we guarantee that when a bank is interested in the offerings or services of a fintech company, it works properly with our systems which the bank has already purchased or acquired. We are kind of an intermediary between the fintechs and banks.”
Temenos is based in Switzerland and provides solutions for retail, corporate, private banking, and wealth businesses to clients across 145 countries. All solutions provide end-to-end digital capabilities, combining sophisticated channels solutions with business intelligence and real-time capabilities.
Martin shares that the business already has a significant presence in APAC – “We’re in almost every country,” he says – but acknowledges that it’s a region he wants to continue to strengthen. He comments that Temenos is prioritising its operations in four countries in particular: Australia, Japan, Singapore and China.
“It’s good that we are strong across APAC, but on the other hand it also dilutes the efforts and the focus a bit when you cover so many countries. Thus we need to have a clearer priority of the countries we want to target,” Martin says.
A major step forward for Temenos in APAC was when its technology supported the development of O-Bank. “That was the first pure digital end-to-end bank in Taiwan, and it’s using Temenos technology,” Martin says proudly.
Meanwhile, Temenos’s expansion in Australia has been aided by its acquisition of the Australian banking software company Rubik. The deal was closed in early 2017 after the two companies had been partners for 10 years. Martin notes the merger has resulted in accelerated growth for Temenos in the key market segments of wealth, core banking and fund administration.
There is growing wealth in this region. The economies are doing well, and there are these pockets of wealth growing in countries like China.
To handle its ever-increasing digital capabilities, Temenos intentionally hires people with sound experience in the IT space. “Everybody wants to go digital. This means many things for different people,” Martin explains.
“What we did, which was quite a clever move, was hire a few people with real banking experience in the digital space and not just rely on the existing tech-savvy Temenos staff. For example, we brought in people who could combine their knowledge of Temenos products along with banking experience in order to guide clients as they developed their own meaningful digital journeys. This has proven to be quite a success for us. Nowadays we can provide the technology to the banks and also give them a bit of guidance on what we see working or not working in other parts of the world. We’re able to help clients develop a digital roadmap.”
A key trend that has proven advantageous for Temenos has been the prosperity of the middle-class population in APAC. “There is growing wealth in this region. The economies are doing well, and there are these pockets of wealth growing in countries like China, the Philippines and Indonesia. People have more money for savings and investment, and that’s a big trend that has accelerated over the past three to four years,” he says.
Martin asserts that capitalising on this and helping Temenos on its continuous growth journey will remain the key focus for him over the coming years. “I think we have a very broad portfolio of geographies and technologies we can offer to the market, so there’s no doubt that Temenos will continue to grow in APAC.”