An interview with Stuart Stoyan, Chief Executive Officer, MoneyPlace
FST Media: What are your priorities for the next 6 months?
Stoyan: We have had four months of being fully in market now and running our operations. What we are focused on over the next six months is continuing to build on that.
FST Media: What are your priorities for the next 6 months?
Stoyan: We have had four months of being fully in market now and running our operations. What we are focused on over the next six months is continuing to build on that. As an early stage start-up, we are working on growing as fast as we can, but as slow as we need to. We are incrementally putting volume on things month-by-month and continually de risking it, adding enhancements and adding and building on our technology and value propositions. Our business focus is now about bringing on partners that will bring in additional followers and investments. We are now focused on the borrower side and now the we have the operational risking out of the way, we can really focus on our partnerships, which will the bring more volume to the platform and enable us to grow. We are a new business in a new market, so it is really about month-to-month proof points and showing continual growth and acceleration, which is really important to us.
FST Media: What technology or innovation is proving to be the single biggest game changer across the finance industry?
Stoyan: What we are seeing is that fintechs have a singular focus. For example at MoneyPlace, we are focused on consumer lending and investment. With that singular focus, you can have a purpose built system and process, meaning we don’t have legacy and we can really push the thinking around what we do. That becomes the key point of innovation in fintech and robo-advice – the challenge for the broader industry is working how to keep up. A bank will have several hundreds of fintechs coming in at various niches of their business and as a whole, there are so many across Australia innovating the entire original business model and trying to put you out of business and make existing models redundant. Across the industry, it’s really about considering what key leaders will unleash efficiency. Banks need to identify where the priorities are , knowing now that there are so many hungry and focused fintechs that are more innovative in singular respective spaces.
FST Media: What are the most significant challenges MoneyPlace faces as it develops?
Stoyan: Our biggest challenge is being a new business, because we do not have any existing data sets or an existing customer base. Everything we do is new, which is a challenge from a development perspective because we are unable to do a lot of back testing. Fortunately, we have a number of key partnerships which enable us to work with different data sets, which is very advantageous. The agility that we have from being a new business with a singular focus is offset by the fact that we do not have a corporate history and promotion behind us. Bring agile is far better than not, but what we are seeing is the need to build our platform sustainably. That is not actually different to any other business and the advantage of being a fintech is that it can happen quicker – there is much more rapid deployment because of the singular focus.
FST Media: What specific insight does MoneyPlace bring to the wider investment and lending sectors?
Stoyan: It is really around the way the consumer credit decisions are made and the use of non-traditional data sources. Banks mostly only use existing customer information and then application form information for assessing credit. That is highly constrained because there are a whole pile of people coming to the industry who are new to the market or who don’t have much credit history, meaning traditional lenders are saying no to them. MoneyPlace is really demonstrating the power of this additional data set and nearly half the information we have is not being used by banks in the way that they assess credit. Our thesis is built around saying that the information from that is more valuable and enables us to make better credit decisions to really get our risk assessments of prospective borrowers correct and then price our loan on a risk-based pricing. That is the innovation that MoneyPlace is really brining to the space because borrowers are getting fairer rates. Investors also have greater confidence because they know that we have better assessed the risk, which reduces the risk of volatility and gets them more returns. Banks have not yet needed to bring in these additional data resources and are now concerned with balancing prioritisation.
FST Media: What is the next big thing for MoneyPlace and how will you measure its success?
Stoyan: The aim is to keep on improving on month-to-month growth, keeping on enhancing the system and keep adding new features. There are also some exciting new partnerships we will be announcing in coming months. The next 6-12 months is about growing and scaling the business and focusing on the expansion of MoneyPlace. We are building an ecosystem with borrowers on one side and investors on the other.
FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation in your team?
Stoyan: The excitement is always there because we are now getting data and seeing how we are performing. Now we have a customer base and data sets, we are able to test things and see what works as expected, what needs improving and what is going really well, then adjust things accordingly. A lot of our team are ex-bank and when asked the question of whether they would go back into banking, the answer is always a resounding, ‘no’, which has a lot to do with the pace, agility and empowerment we have to make decisions in our respected space. The ability to run experiments is also very important.
FST Media: How does P2P lend itself to a new generation?
Stoyan: It is really interesting because there isn’t the affinity with Gen Y that their parents had to stay in one job for an entire career. There is more choice and more optionality and it’s about you as an individual and what you want. Traditional incumbent business models have not kept up with the way that Gen Y in particular are wanting to do things. This is where businesses like MoneyBank come in – if you have just graduated and never held a full time job an never taken out a loan or had credit, it’s very hard to get a loan. We can better assess you and get you that loan. These are new innovated models that are really catered towards millennials and from a P2P lending perspective, it’s about you as a customer having a choice over your data, having a say in the process and how you engage with us and being able to go through everything seamlessly.
FST Media: What career would you be in if you worked outside the finance industry?
Stoyan: It would have to be something involving people and communities! The idea of working in the not-for-profit sector is also quite appealing. Many people in society are disadvantaged purely because of how rules are constructed and the ability to work with those select groups is something I would find really interesting!