- Green Growth
- Your Consultant
|Ly Nguyen – country managing director of Opportunity Network|
UK-based Opportunity Network is striving to set a firm niche in Vietnam by cooperating with local banks. Nizami Namazov, vice president of Channel Sales, and Ly Nguyen, country managing director of FinTech, spoke with VIR’s Thanh Tung about this.
What sets Opportunity Network apart from other rivals?
Opportunity Network is a UK-based FinTech company providing a digital business matchmaking platform where members can find trustworthy counterparts for any deal above $1 million and which allows banks to grow their market share.
Members and key decision-makers selected by financial institutions from all over the world post opportunities anonymously that vary from mergers and acquisitions (M&A), commercial partnerships, and investments to joint ventures.
Opportunity Network, backed by The Boston Consulting Group, has now a valuation of around $180 million and is in on-going partnerships with top financial institutions like London Stock Exchange Group, CaixaBank, and Intesa Sanpaolo, Citizens Bank, and YPO—the largest global CEO network.
You ask me what makes Opportunity Network different from our Vietnamese rivals. In general, there is no company in the world that does something similar to Opportunity Network. So what makes us different from other disruptors is that we take the “trust factor” in business very seriously. We believe that when we trust each other, we can successfully co-operate with each other. For us, “trust” is the most important thing in doing business.
Via the “trust factor,” we enable banks to better serve their corporate clients by understanding their current needs and by giving the clients access to quality deal flows from around the world.
What we offer is to make the co-operation process much faster and much more efficient, while at the same time ensuring the “trust.”
You say “the trust factor” separates Opportunity Network from other rivals in Vietnam. But what about product quality as a factor?
We start with the idea that each company is worth as it has its own products and services. If they do not have these, they will not be able to compete and seize opportunities, and expand their co-operation network either.
Our business strategy ensures that only the highest-quality products and services come to be on offer, building up the “trust factor” in our business. That’s why there are 13,500 companies on our platform today, at lower costs than other platform providers.
How important is the Vietnamese market to Opportunity Network?
Vietnam is one of the most dynamic economies not only in Southeast Asia but around the world. The Vietnamese economy has grown at an average of over 6 per cent over the past many years, which is far higher than in many economies. Vietnam is also a very export-oriented economy, with double-digit annual export turnover growth rate year after year.
In addition, Vietnam is now seeing remarkable M&A activity in many sectors, such as aviation (Vietnam Airlines, for example) and banking and retail (supermarket chains), with the appearance of many new foreign firms. This has made Vietnam attractive to foreign firms, including Opportunity Network.
Moreover, the banking sector is also attractive. We have met with several commercial banks and many small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We see many opportunities for co-operation, as the Vietnamese government is trying to create a more accommodating business climate, so that the number of private enterprises in Vietnam can double from the existing 500,000 to about 1 million by 2020.
Why do local firms and banks need Opportunity Network?
I would like to stress that Opportunity Network has a very impressive track record. Currently, it serves thousands of companies across 128 countries and has hosted over $38 billion in opportunity deal flow. Hundreds of connections have been made on Opportunity Network’s platform, making a key contribution to sustaining global economic development.
Opportunity Network is a bank–FinTech collaboration platform digitalising deal matchmaking on a global scale by working with leading financial institutions worldwide and leveraging digital tools as strategic enablers for banking transformation.
We are helping banks leverage financial technology to deliver more value and create a better experience for their corporate clients, especially the SMEs who are looking for trustworthy partners to expand their growth both domestically and internationally and gain market share while saving time, money, and effort. This is absolutely in line with the Vietnamese government’s policy line to promote the growth of the private sector with a strong focus on SMEs, and facilitate trade, investment flows and M&A opportunities.
Connections on Opportunity Network generate business deals between members that banks can then serve and benefit from. Opportunity Network acts as a deal origination tool for clients and banks alike. Opportunity Network also acts as a tool that helps achieve key performance indicators in risk management by targeting the right client at the right moment and the right products.
You say the Vietnamese market is full of potential for Opportunity Network. What will the firm do in the years to come in Vietnam?
We will continue working with the domestic banking industry. We will further our co-operation with local banks to help enterprises, especially SMEs. Opportunity Network has been effectively supporting companies in 128 countries and we consider Vietnam a very important one of them.
What about Opportunity Network’s FinTech solutions, what are the benefits for Vietnamese banks and partners?
Our FinTech solution is a business-to-business digital platform supporting local businesses. It is in line with the development policies endorsed by the Vietnamese government. In this regards, we will continue working with the government and local banks, and other stakeholders as well.
FinTech can play a fundamental role in preserving banks’ supremacy in the financial services industry. The rapid evolution of financial services technology and the potential for disruptive entrants to the market should spur banks to develop their own technologies. While innovation in banking is always difficult - according to studies, 96 per cent of bankers agree that the industry is evolving towards a digital ecosystem, however, 87 per cent say their core banking systems cannot support it - FinTech companies are pushing the boundaries of customer experience and digitalisation and we are seeing obvious trends in payments and lending.
There is a wide scope of imaginative new approaches through which FinTech may serve to strengthen banks’ quality and deepen their relationship with their clients—the core competitive advantage in the banking sector/industry.
Partnering with FinTech companies, with a focus on collaboration and client relationships, and harnessing the respective strengths of each partner, could be the smartest way to gain leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.