Trust with Money in the Embedded Finance era

Efi Pylarinou
4 min readMar 2, 2021

Trust and Money have been always tightly connected and the only thing that may change is the way Trust is established around finances.

A new study by Oracle and personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi was published just a few weeks ago providing a variety of insights around Trust and financial affairs.

The study surveyed 9,000 end-consumers and business leaders in 14 countries, asking questions about the degree of Trusting `robots` to manage finances, for what specific processes is Trust in robots higher, what are the Trust trade-offs between one-self, a professional, or a `robot`, etc., additional more detailed questions regarding the trust to personal financial advisors or corporate finance professionals, supported by tech tools like AI or not.

The overall conclusion from this Global study is that People Trust Robots More Than Themselves with Money. `Robots` is an umbrella term for technologies that automate processes, and `People` refers to both end-consumers and also in a business setting.

These findings gave me an opportunity to discuss these topics with two executives of Swiss publicly traded companies and listen to their point of view.

Swissquote is a pure-only Bank and a digital-only investment provider that serves roughly 350,000 clients in over 40 countries. I spoke to Serge Kassibrakis, Head of Quantitative Asset Management at Swissquote about Trust with finances, People, and Robots. I knew about Swissquote`s Robo-advisor offering, which is not only used by individuals but also by asset managers. Swissquote`s Robo offering is not a plain vanilla one, which means that the user can and has to choose several parameters for the `robot` to manage the user`s portfolio.

Segre said to me that `Users Trust robots for certain parts of the investment process nearly 100%, as if it is nature`s way`. An example is with account opening.

At the other end of the spectrum, lies the digitalization of investment advice. Serge confirmed that technology is being trusted more and more for client profiling and financial advisors & asset managers that use such technology can know their client better than the client knows himself or herself. Swissquote is committed to AI/ML research for ways to digitize investment advice and will soon be releasing a service that is a kind of Netflix — recommendation `robot` with investment opportunities that Machine learning curates to match a person`s investment interests.

This can be seen as a digital way to develop a relationship with the client, which can also increase the trust in ‘robots` for short listing investment opportunities.

Wisekey is another Swiss-based tech company focused on security solutions in the physical and digital world for the 4IR. I spoke to Carlos Moreira, CEO and founder of Wisekey, about Trust with finances, People, and Robots. I knew of the WiseKey Token that is used for machine-to-machine transactions. One of its basic applications is in the Electric Vehicle sector, where the EV pays itself for parking, for electrical charging, and for maintenance. This is an IOT example, in which people can trust the EV operated by the Wisekey token, to take care of the tasks currently processed with human intervention.

Approving the execution of a Digital payment, processing it, obtaining the receipt and filling it where it is needed; could be completely digitized in a trustworthy way. Drones delivering goods could be a basic application.

Wisekey`s vision is at a much larger scale in terms of establishing Trust in digitized ways. Wisekey is Building the infrastructure needed to allow individuals to trust machines in the 4IR era which is not yet here but is being built as we speak. Carlos strongly believes that a Digital ID designed as a human right (in the UN spirit) is the essential infrastructure needed. Wisekey is involved in making this happen. Such an ID would allow individuals to have full control and give consent for any and every use of their data. The Value of Consent becomes core in this design.

For now, Wisekey is focused on connecting all the hardware devices that are core to the 4IR — computers, robots, drones, EVs etc. — with Digital IDs so that they can be trusted to process tasks which in many cases include basic consumer banking tasks (payments, deposits, loans).

Both Carlos and Serge, highlighted the importance of making sure that we design `robots` that have human interests as their priority and value proposition. People`s trust in `robots` is an increased necessity for the 4IR and it is our responsibility to avoid designing `robots` against human interests.

Embedded finance is booming and there will be more and more financial services offered where the customer is, an e-commerce site, or a drone delivering goods, or a social media platform.

`Robots` with embedded money-related tasks will be the norm sooner than expected. Let’s make sure that we maintain the trust of consumers and business leaders while designing better `robots` for managing our finances which are the means to our goals.

Disclaimer: Oracle is a client.

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Efi Pylarinou

№1 #Finance Global Woman Influencer by Refinitiv 2020 & 2019. Top Global #Fintech Influencer, Futurist, #AI, #Blockchain +: 30yrs FINANCE —