The new models are coming up with the scale of the network
Additional services in insurance, capital markets, savings, access to credit & real estate areas are required
An exclusive interview with SYED HAMZA MATIN – CEO, EDP Services North America, Inc
Syed Hamza Matin has worked with large network of clients in Banking, Mutual Funds, Asset Management, Investment Banks, & Insurance. He has implemented over 500 projects for 100+ clients in 20 years in FinTech/FinServ with Fortune Clients in Pakistan, Middle East, North America, Singapore and Africa.
Mr. Hamza has deep knowledge of Automation, Software & Technology operations of Investment Banking, Treasury, Stock & Commodities Trading, Insurance, Core Banking, Risk Management, Mutual Funds and Capital Markets, with leading industry players and presently associated as CEO of EDP Services North America, Inc. having largest network of financial institution as clients.
He is an IBA graduate, a serial entrepreneur in Technology & Financial Services and member of one of the largest global network of Angel Investors/Venture Capitalist in North America. Socially, as Chairman/President of Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA), provided most energetic national-level leadership ever experienced by the technology industry in Pakistan. The efforts eventually culminated in bringing United Nations to partner with IT industry of Pakistan through a strategic cooperation agreement with UNIDO and P@SHA for joint promotion of Software Driven IT Industry in Pakistan. He was called on by special invitation to represent on Economic Advisory Board (EAB), the highest economic and fiscal strategy forum in Pakistan frequently chaired by the President of Pakistan and the Finance Minister.
He has been on IT Advisory Board of Ministry of Science & Technology and Provincial IT Boards of Punjab & Sindh Governments. Syed has represented Pakistan at several international exhibitions, forums and conferences such as COMDEX, GITEX, DCI, CeBIT, ASOCIO and eBizAsia over the years. He is regularly interviewed and featured in local and international business magazines, newspapers and television channels including CNN, BBC, Reuters, Voice of America, GEO, ARY, Dawn, Jang Group, Pakistan & Gulf Economist, Business Recorder and others.
PAGE: EDP has been in business for a long time, what are its key achievements?
Syed Hamza Matin: EDP Services have over a decade of experience with the largest network of financial institutions as clients in Pakistan, having done more than 500 projects for 150 clients in the last 25 years. According to one estimate, millions of transactions are concluded every second on daily basis for decades, managed under EDP Solutions and around Rs200 billion of funds/portfolio are managed under our software in Pakistan alone. EDP serviced over 100 financial institutions as clients in Pakistan, Singapore, UAE and North America, in insurance, banks, mutual funds, asset management companies, investment banks, brokerage houses, and stock exchanges including country’s central banks & exchanges. EDP Services is partner and representative of international financial services solution providers in Pakistan with access to international best practices in financial technology industry globally.
PAGE: Are there ways to integrate computer technology and telecommunication to improve the quality of life of people in Pakistan, particularly those living in rural areas?
Syed Hamza Matin: The people living in rural areas are deprived of basic necessities in Pakistan. The technology can play a pivotal role in their uplift. The access to healthcare, educations and employment opportunities can be provided with technology and telecom infrastructure. One of the reasons for financial exclusion is stated to be absence of bank branches in rural areas. In a country where number of cell phone users runs into over 100 million by some estimates, there are ways to go deeper for other financial services apart from just deposit, transfer and withdrawal of funds. Although the mobile access to banking and financial services is increasing at a phenomenal rate in Pakistan, the mobile technology has the potential to making commerce and trade easy for individual, but still there is big gap between what can be done and what we have achieved. These millions of mobile users can become clients of our businesses & institutions and be provided with additional services like insurance, investments, savings, trade, healthcare & education in their specific areas and localities.
PAGE: What are Fintechs doing for financial inclusion?
Syed Hamza Matin: One of the major areas of disruption in financial services industry globally is the new products and services provided by upcoming, small, disruptive Fintech companies. More and more banks had to acquire Fintech in different services to provide innovative services or create their own IT innovation departments. Companies like JazzCash, Finja, Tez, Konnect are active in payments, credit, transaction services primarily in banking and investments only. There are prominent players in ecommerce space like daraz.pk, mycart.pk, dawaii.pk, yahvo & ride sharing like Careem/Uber. The transaction volume and size has crossed billions of rupees already. Additional services in insurance, capital markets, savings, access to credit & real estate areas are required for massive growth & access to services for general population, as we have seen in other parts of the world. Upcoming tech incubators & startup culture is bound to effect the momentum. We still need more growth capital in this area.
PAGE: Has any major breakthrough achieved in using Urdu instead of English in undertaking transactions with banks?
Syed Hamza Matin: After recent decision of the Supreme Court to use Urdu as the national language, there had been effort by banks and other listed companies to provide financial statements/reporting with client in Urdu. Everywhere in the world the progress of access to information is primarily done in local language/mother language. The banks are required to use the Urdu interface to enable people to use their services. With the development of technology, it is becoming easier for these institutions to adopt local languages.
PAGE: How successful has been transfer of money through telcos?
Syed Hamza Matin: It is one the most successful stories. The recent example of EasyPaisa, JazzCash, Telenor Bank and other upcoming services like bank APIs are becoming acceptable. The size of transactions through these networks is growing at a phenomenal rate, actually the main drivers uptil now, but still long way to go.
PAGE: Is there any effort to bring down cost per transaction?
Syed Hamza Matin: The new models are coming up with the scale of the network, to reduce cost of transactions. These telecom based transaction platforms can use lower cost of funds and operations to generate more revenue instead of just charging on transactions to customers. The concept and regulations for Digital Banks are in the process with State Bank of Pakistan; these online initiatives can increase number of transactions daily with easy access & convenience and would eventually reduce the transaction cost and make it more & more assessable for masses.