Emmanuel Daniel, Founder of The Asian Banker: Financial & Investment Industry Challenges in a Covid-19 New World

Emmanuel Daniel, serial entrepreneur, financial expert and founder of The Asian Banker joins Dinis Guarda in this new series interview for citiesabc. As the COVID-19 crisis deepens in the West, both experts discuss potential economic consequences for nations, cities and companies, the impact on the financial industry and how the economic prominence can shift from West to East once the dust settles.

As the founder of The Asian Banker, one of the most prominents consultancies in financial services research, benchmarking and intelligence, Emmanuel Daniel is savvy in financial industry synergies, and he expects financial services to play a key role in dealing with this coronavirus crisis. Likewise, he shows some concerns about how well prepared the industry was to face a crisis like this, especially regarding digitisation and adoption of new technologies. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that the world banking has failed. With the advent of FinTech and emerging technologies, they have had no excuse to move their operations to the digital,” he said in the interview.

However, this won’t let the financial industry be one of the industries that will utterly benefit from this pandemic. “The financial industry is one of the few industries in the world that is going to benefit from this pandemic. They are at the center of all monetary and financial activity and as such, they are the tools governments use to provide loans and other benefits to companies and people. And in the event of a potential debt crisis in the near future, they will be backed-up by nations as we saw in the past.” This idea comes from one of the basics in the financial industry: where the risk sits. In this pandemic, as the expert pointed out, the risk sits on citizens, companies and nations, while financial services are not carrying any risk at all.

Emmanuel Daniel is a digital advocate. He believes that technology, if well developed and implemented, can make a huge difference in the financial industry. FinTech startups are one of those examples. Many of these have created better and closer relationships with their consumers and as such are creating value for them. The problem comes, as Emmanuel said, with regulatory frameworks. “FinTech players are hand-tied to legacy systems and regulations, even if they are digital-only banks. That makes that they (and users) can’t actually benefit from digital systems and innovative ideas. That is why it is so important for new fintech players to build ecosystems around our legacy systems to completely bring innovation.”

FinTech and innovation is one of the main concerns for Emmanuel Daniel, especially when the conversation moves to geopolitics waters. Asked by Dinis Guarda how he sees the post-COVID-19 financial world, Emmanuel is cautious about it. He doesn’t see a traumatic shift from West to East. “I couldn’t say that the future belongs to Asia because there are still many challenges to overcome. In India or China, for example, these are more related to more mature economies where leaders will have to face the basic dichotomy: they will have to hold the country together along with all their internal disputes or drive innovation and lead the world’s economy.”  

One advantage, though, lies in the early adoption and development of financial technology applications, especially in non-financial platforms. “Platforms in the West, like Facebook for example, haven’t embraced FinTech opportunities (like payments, etc) until recently while in the East they have done that since the beginning,” said Emmanuel in the interview.

But in the end, Emmanuel is optimistic about the future. “The real message of hope and one of the takeaways of this crisis is that the economy needs to be relevant to the individuals and meet their promises by catalyzing them. The economy needs to bring prosperity to them through social capital.”

About Emmanuel Daniel

Emmanuel Daniel is an entrepreneur, train enthusiast and writer. He is the founder of The Asian Banker in 1996, one of the most respected intelligence platforms in the financial services industry that now operates across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He is also the founder of Wealth and Society, a London-based programme focused on impact investment and philanthropy and Bankquality.com, the world’s first site for capturing consumer feedback on financial services. Likewise, he founded The Banking Conversation, an online repository of interviews with a wide range of leaders and shapers of the global economy from a financial perspective.

He won the Citibank Excellence in Business Journalism for Asia in 1999 for his work on the internet in banking. “The Asian Banker Summit” won the best finance conference from the Asian Conference and Summit Awards in 2012.

In fact, Emmanuel has an established reputation for incisive commentary and analysis of critical issues affecting the industry and emerging markets in general. He interviews and has direct access to a broad spectrum of CEOs, decision makers and significant players in the industry. He is the principal author of several reports and surveys that are widely used by practitioners.

He has served in various government advisory committees on the financial services industry. He was previously a member of Council on Corporate Disclosure and Governance in Singapore. He also served as the non-accountant in the Ethics Sub-committee of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.

As an entrepreneur, he previously served as a committee member in the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO), a prestigious grouping of young business owners worldwide. He has served or is serving in advisory or consulting roles for various governments and institutions, and is a well regarded confidante in leadership circles. He was an associate member of The Asia Society.

He is a trainer, coach and also a well regarded global speaker on the future, the financial services industry, Asia, China and the march of civilisations. He is interviewed regularly on BBC, Bloomberg and CNBC.

He was trained as a lawyer, has degrees from the National University of Singapore and the University of London, and attended a course on economics at Columbia University in New York.

He is an avid scuba diver and it is not wise to start a conversation with him on any of the train rides he has done around the world. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he currently divides his time between Singapore and Beijing while not on one of his extensive travelling schedules.