True Battleground for Startups and Incumbents? – Helene Li

To give a short personal impression: let us know what are your top 3 books everyone today needs to read and top 3 tech gadgets one needs to have?

Being a devoted yoga practitioner, my reading list falls into 2 main categories – mindful wellness and personal development. The top 3 recommendations from my reading list:  

First, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Harari (available in Germanyin the USin the UKin Italy and in Spain), truly insightful for anyone trying to navigate the quicksands of digital age disruptions.

Second, Start with Why by Simon Sinek (available in Germanyin the USin the UKin Italy and in Spain), perennial wisdom of starting with good basics that so many of us could overlook in the hectic day-to-day pace.

Third, Moments of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh (available in Germanyin the USin the UK),  a set of guided mindfulness practice and quotes from this Zen master that is very practical for anyone keen to balance that inner peace with the crazy schedule that works often dictates.To give a short personal impression: let us know what are your top 3 books everyone today needs to read and top 3 tech gadgets one needs to have?

Say a 10-year-old asked you what is Digital Transformation, Impact Investment, and Sustainable Finance. How would you make sure he will understand?

That’s a great question! I would start with the “why” then showing the “what” and “how” in this sentence:  We need to make sure our Planet Earth can survive all that we do to make a profit,  Sustainable Finance is how we can achieve that goal for a better world, Impact Investments and digital tools are what we can use to bring about this change.

Hopefully the 10-year old gets it ok!

Any use cases over the last 12 months about the effects of digitization in the Fintech industry? How about developments in Insurtech industry?

Over the past 12 months,  we have seen an accelerated pace in how the “tech” is adopted to drive the “fin”.  Various cases to shed light on this,  including the robust trajectory of Starling Bank who recently raised 100 million pounds growth capital to fast track their offering to SMEs that are the lifeline of British economy; the Virtual Banking licenses in Hong Kong which will be formalised in the first quarter this year draw applications from BigTech like Ant Financial (Alibaba Group), incumbent financial institutions like Standard Chartered Bank, and insurtech rising stars like Zhong An Insurance.  

Increasingly we witness that Customer Experience (CX) is the true battleground where challengers and incumbents alike,  either make it or break it.  This applies to Insurtech industry as well.  Aviva launched end of 2018 the first digital-only insurance platform here, Blue.  All these will no doubt re-define the efforts everyone is making around a more seamless and frictionless customer journey that will be a key success factor going forward.

How would you see the effects of digital transformation in the next 5 to 10 years? What are your predictions for finance and fintech and the effects in blockchain and the effects on the current business model?

Aah… I don’t have a crystal ball and there are many predictions flying around social media already…. One observation I could share is that tech is not the silver bullet or end game in itself,  whether we are looking at AI, Blockchain or other verticals.  It is ultimately the enhanced human experience that will define business growth, no matter you are a new bank,  insurtech or incumbent financial services giant.

It is not only the millennials but the older generations Boomers, GenX etc. who are demanding convenience and agility in their banking and insurance interactions.  Customer Experience (CX) in a holistic manner is still a pain point for many,  and it goes way beyond a few shiny new things or another level of chatbots or apps.  In fact,  re-wiring the organization DNA to leverage tech for better CX is a huge lesson that we are all learning for Future of Work!

How would you describe the current association between insurtech and fintech? Do you see a renaissance of bankassurance?

I will not go so far to call this a renaissance of bankassurance, but the hard and fast line between fintech and insurtech is blurring.  There are also many rising stars that use this well to drive Financial Inclusion and Impact,  such as Credit Ease.

Digital Transformation is making it more accessible for newcomers in fintech and insurtech to look at a broader, more holistic offering,  with the customers’ needs in mind.   We can expect to see more examples like this in the near future.

You have an outstanding Twitter profile (@helene_wpli), how do you manage this and your other social media channels together with your work and personal life?

Thank you! I am very grateful to be learning and exchanging on a daily basis on Twitter with so many outstanding leaders in such a vibrant community.

There are tools to help you schedule your posts and tweets,  and when your key topics are the ones you passionately believe in and are committed to,  then it is not stressful at all….  Of course,  a regular dose of yoga and mindfulness has always been a big help for me,  whether I was in a demanding role with a large corporation, or building a platform to drive Impact and Sustainable Finance as I am doing now.

Helene Li – a leading voice in Sustainable Finance,  Impact Investment,  Fintech, and Digital Transformation,  Helene is an evangelist combined with laser-sharp execution.   

She has harnessed her skills in the finance industry gained through decades of experience at top management roles with bulge bracket global financial institutions,  as well as a stellar network across sectors in the Sustainability area to develop the platform of GoImpact  – aiming at bridging the great divide between “talk” and “action”, to accelerate and scale capital for Impact.

Thanks Helene for your great thoughts and kindness to accept our invitation for this Interview – all the best from all of us here in

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