Konsentus Powering Trust in Open Ecosystems

Meet Paul Love Twelves our VP Consulting, Konsentus

Paul Love Twelves talks with our VP Head of Marketing, Nicky Valind, about the conversations he's having with Konsentus clients to help them prepare for the transition to open finance.

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Paul is no stranger to the world of payments, having over 25 years’ experience spanning cards, mobile, instant payments and open banking with processors, vendors and fintech start-ups. In his role as VP Consulting, Konsentus, he is working with our clients across Europe to prepare them for PSD3, the PSR and FiDA.

So, tell us a bit about your role at Konsentus and how long you’ve been with the company?

Yes, of course. I work with existing and prospective Konsentus clients, ensuring they can provide their customers with safe access to open banking services. This typically focuses on helping them build their business case, finding the best technical implementations, making sure the right checks and balances are in place from a security perspective, and streamlining any processes to remove any friction in the experience for the end user.

I’ve been at Konsentus for over 5 years, joining just before PSD2 open banking fully came into force in Europe in 2019. In the early days of PSD2, banks were focused on compliance rather than recognising and exploiting the value of open banking. Five years ago, the ecosystem was still quite small, and many banks implemented “technical” solutions, often requiring manual intervention and support, especially for onboarding. As the market is maturing, particularly with the increase in passporting and cross-border transactions, banks are now looking to manage the increasing volumes and complexity in a more automated way. With the transition to PSD3, the Payment Services Regulation (PSR), and open finance (FiDA), the complexity in the ecosystem will soon increase beyond recognition.

What is it you like about your role?

My role is hugely varied. It’s a real mix of problem-solving and helping our clients prepare for the change ahead. So, as well as guiding them through current challenges and queries, I work with them to ensure their systems and processes are ready for a smooth transition to open finance. For our clients, it’s all about understanding their current systems and whether the tools they have in place are sufficient to cope with future increased scale. That’s where I can add value as I understand the technical aspects as well as the business and operational drivers.

I really enjoy client-facing activity, talking to the people on the ground whose primary focus is working towards making the financial data they hold accessible and easier to understand – efficiently and more importantly, safely! Open banking has been a real step change for payments and I’m excited by what the future holds as the scope and number of players grows.

What do clients talk to you about?

No two conversations are the same, so I’m constantly kept on my toes! Of course, many want to know how banks can provide better protection for authorising and checking third parties and ways they can seamlessly integrate any technology solutions into their current processes. I mostly speak to product owners and the systems and architecture teams who are responsible for their bank’s solutions. They want to know about the changes they need to make on their side to prepare for open finance and how these can be made with as little disruption as possible to their business-as-usual activity.

Passporting, where non-bank TPPs must apply to passport their services across Europe, is the topic that causes the most queries. I’ve had some interesting conversations recently about TPPs who are set up as foreign branches rather than “passporting” their permissions, which means they are not reflected harmoniously in the registers across Europe. It has been good to have been able to help our clients with that.

We also had an example with non-banked third parties not showing as “authorised” on the EU registers. If banks weren’t using Konsentus services, they wouldn’t have been able to easily verify the third parties concerned.

It’s very much a mixture of understanding the business challenge but also supporting the technical team with touchpoints and integration support.

There’s also an educational element to my role as many people aren’t aware of the magnitude of the change ahead with new European regulations. What we’ve seen to date is just the tip of the iceberg. In a few years, it won’t just be payment account data that third parties will be requesting access to, but data across the complete financial spectrum – so savings, pensions, mortgages, insurance etc. That will be a lot of third parties who can potentially access data. We’ll be working with our clients to ensure this can be done in a safe and secure way.

What are the different approaches banks are taking to prepare for open finance and tell us about some of the challenges?

We see different approaches by banks. They’ve either built their own systems or are looking for a partner – but what they have in common is that they all need stronger checks. The challenge is that people who’ve built something initially now need to add additional security around their solution because volumes are growing. At the moment, people are thinking and planning how they should adapt their infrastructure for PSD3, the Payment Services Regulation (PSR), and open finance (FiDA).

People from all over Europe have proactively come to us saying their volumes are growing and can we advise them on what to do? They want a reliable provider they can trust to provide accurate data on the identification and authorisation of third parties rather than having to invest their own time and effort in sourcing it themselves. They can rely on us – this is our area of expertise.

What is it that keeps you here?

Open banking is an exciting area, and already transforming into open finance which will bring new challenges. Konsentus is a recognised and trusted brand with a key role to play. We also have solid and resilient services, so I never have to worry about calls from clients saying that the systems aren’t working!

What do you do when you’re not at work?

My activities are very much weather-dependent – I love sailing dinghies and yachts, but only in the warmer weather and, in the winter, I still try to keep up with my medal-winning children on skis. Now we’re coming into summer, outside of work you’ll find me close to home sailing a Laser on our local river. It’s both physically and mentally challenging, yet also relaxing as it requires a real focus to keep the boat upright as well as going fast.

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