Insights from Nordic FinTech Summit – 2024

By Evita Lune, PhD, Partner, Global Head of the FinTech Practice Pedersen & Partners

May 20, 2024 - Helsinki

Evita Lune, PhD - Nordic FinTech Summit, 2024

Nordic FinTech Summit is on my agenda every year due to an opportunity to see my Nordic clients and candidates all in one place and learn what’s cooking. Thank you, Ola Sundell and Janne Salminen for making this happen!

The most successful Finnish Fintech Multitude was announcing superb quarterly results today, so it was very challenging to juggle between the two events. My humble suggestion would be to bring someone from Multitude or CapitalBox to the stage to hear real achievements from the best. Jokela Jorma, Mantvydas Štareika, Antti Kumpulainen, and Kristjan Kajakas actually developed a profitable, well-funded, well-governed group of challenger companies.

Some promising ventures to watch in Finland: Coinmotion led by Antti-Jussi Suominen educates crypto enthusiasts to work with crypto for long-term wealth creation. Luckily, with MICA regulation in the upcoming years, the platform will be available for European investors from outside Finland. While one may think that more is better, Coinmotion scrapped the cards and payments business to focus on the core.

It was good to see Latvian FinTech entrepreneurs like Armands Liseks taking the stage and kicking off new ventures. The success of Latvian online lenders and associated businesses is underrated, probably due to their focus on other markets than Nordics. There is a lot inGain can offer to non-finance industries looking to innovate their offering with financial products.

Georg Hauer reconfirmed the future of banking being customer-centric, with consumer retail brands in front and BaaS solutions in the back and that emerging markets have jumped over the branch banking stage: from unbanked directly to mobile banking. The banks, which choose to ignore the trend will most likely end up like Nokia phones versus Apple. Juha Keski-Nisula from XMLdation discussed how to view CBDCs from a Fintech Perspective and finally taught us all what FinTech really means: Finnish Technology 😊.

Insights from Money 20/20 Summit – 2024

By Evita Lune, PhD, Partner, Global Head of the FinTech Practice Pedersen & Partners

June 6, 2024 - Amsterdam

Evita Lune, PhD - Money 20/20 Summit, 2024

AI and Generative AI are high on the agenda both with incumbent banks and FinTechs. AI is used for daily functions in client onboarding, CRM, collections, and customer proposition development, while generative AI makes the internal processes easier and more tools become available, as highlighted by Marnix van Stiphout, ING and Joanne Hannaford, Deutsche Bank.

In the era of personalization when all different service providers know so much about everyone, there is a risk of overpersonalisation, or the phenomenon that we never like about our mothers – they tend to wand to know too much. Mastercard hosted a stage about that.

Baltic regulators are particularly favorable for FinTech ecosystem development including crypto exchanges, EMI-licenced companies and neobanks. Jēkabs Groskaufmanis (Invest in Latvia) as well as neighbors from Finance Estonia and Invest in Lithuania were there to convey the message.

Bunq announced on the stage a partnership with Mastercard open banking. Now all Bunq customers will be able to add all their banking Apps on Bunq and manage their expenses and budgets with the support of AI assistant Fin.

Incumbent banks are pretty happy about their achievement in digital transformation and do not seem to be disrupted by FinTechs. From several stages I heard the same message: FinTechs never really disrupted us and never will. They are nice support to the system, ecosystem players, suppliers, and nothing more.

Evita with Emin Can YILMAZ, Founder and CEO, Param; and Amit Malik, Associate Director at EBRD, Member of the Supervisory Boards at Aion and Vodeno.

*On the photo: Evita with Emin Can YILMAZ, Founder and CEO, Param; and Amit Malik, Associate Director at EBRD, Member of the Supervisory Boards at Aion and Vodeno.

How to find the best CEO? Partner Evita Lune interviewed by serial entrepreneur Matiss Ansviesulis

March 29, 2024 - Riga, Latvia

Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of Pedersen & Partners’ FinTech Practice, was recently interviewed in a podcast hosted by serial entrepreneur Matiss Ansviesulis regarding our approach to executive search and the process of finding the best CEO.

*Note: the interview is in Latvian language.

Here are a few highlights from the interview:

1. In effective networking, I prioritize adding value in every conversation. For me, networking is not spontaneous but rather systematic within relevant business circles.

2. After years of working with corporate clients, I found my niche in working with FinTech scale-ups due to their openness to novelty, direct and authentic culture, global ambition, and technological advancement.

3. In completing assignments, the maximum number of candidates on the long list has reached 700, while in more usual cases it is around 100-150 candidates. Despite the abundance of candidates, only a few are truly successful and talented.

4. For CEO mandates, I develop an individualized pitch based on the specific candidate's soft spots and why it would be relevant for them to change jobs and join our client.

5. While we assist in developing the Executive Value Proposition within each mandate, the ability of the hiring manager/body to pitch their company and the position is crucial for attracting shortlisted candidates.

6. CEO profiles and types of FinTechs vary significantly depending on the form of ownership. Firms owned by financial investors focus on growth towards the next valuation cycle, while privately-owned firms often bootstrap and focus on profitability. They are less affected by financial market cycles.

Riga Board Room Lunch 2024

Hosted by Pedersen & Partners, in partnership with the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, this event offers a unique opportunity to gain inspiration and broaden your horizons.



Our distinguished executive Board Room Lunch speaker will address the topic of "The return of Geopolitics in Europe: Reshaping Baltic and European Markets in the shadow of the war in Ukraine"

  • How Baltic and European business are navigating the uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine?
  • Has the new geopolitical situation affected attractiveness of the Baltic status for foreign direct investment?
  • How are companies circumventing trade relations with Russia and complying with sanctions?
  • How corruption in Ukraine causes additional risks and uncertainties?


Dominik Gerber is Associate Professor at SSE Riga and a Research Associate at the Baltic International Centre of Economic Policy Studies (BICEPS). Previously he held doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Geneva, as well as a research fellowship at the University of Rochester, NY. His research and teaching intersect public policy, economics, international relations, and political theory, with a special focus on corruption, welfare, and democracy. Besides his undergraduate- and EMBA-level courses at SSE Riga, Dominik is regularly taking on teaching responsibilities abroad, recently at the University of Geneva.

Join us for an intellectually stimulating two-hour session where you can temporarily step away from your daily operations and engage with charismatic speaker, gaining in-depth insights and meaningful connections with global business leaders.

Participation: This event is by invitation only.

Investment: There is no participation fee, but attendees are responsible for covering lunch costs, which amount to 50 EUR. Upon registration, you agree to settle these expenses at the conclusion of the event. A comprehensive menu, including options for dietary requirements, will be provided to registered participants prior to the event.

Event host: Evita Lune - Partner and Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners.

We value your time and expertise and hope to have the honour of hosting you at the event. Let's share knowledge, foster connections, and further our collective professional journeys.

Evita Lune will be speaking at the FinTech Board Members Academy

Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners, will be speaking at the FinTech Board Members Academy workshop: Empowering Excellence, on January 25-26, organized by the Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance and Fintech Latvia Association.

Evita Lune speaking at the FinTech Board Members Academy


The inaugural edition of the "Fintech Board Members Academy: Empowering Excellence" will be held on January 25-26. This meticulously crafted, two-day, in-person event is tailored for industry leaders, bringing together over 10 local and international speakers to provide comprehensive insights into critical topics shaping the future of the fintech industry in Latvia.

The Academy is organised by the Fintech Latvia Association in cooperation with the Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance and will help you understand the expectations of the Regulator and get insights from industry professionals as well as established market participants on how to fulfill those expectations in a compliant manner, including topics like establishing a compliance and internal control system, creating an effective governance structure, risk management, etc.

For more information about the Academy and to register: Admissions open until 22 January.

Eva Alberte has received accreditation from the BICG

We're pleased to announce that Eva Alberte, our Country Manager for Latvia, has received accreditation from the Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance (BICG).

Eva Alberte certification from BICG


"The accreditation received from the BICG strengthens our competence to support clients in selecting both Supervisory and Executive Board members in the Baltic region and abroad."

The Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance is a non-profit, non-governmental association that engages businesses and political leaders in encouraging best corporate governance practices in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Good corporate governance promotes competent oversight, transparency and accountability in private, listed and state-owned companies, which builds transparent and accountable business environment and helps attract investments, strengthen economies, and benefits societies.

The BICG delivers value to its stakeholders by providing education programs, policy advocacy, governance assessment, and other initiatives. The BICG is also a member of the European Confederation of Directors’ Associations (ecoDa), which unites institutes of directors in over 20 countries, acting as a corporate governance expertise sharing network and a credible voice in the development of corporate governance related policies and recommendations across Europe.

Evita Lune and other Jury members awarded new winners of the University of Latvia (UL) Business Incubator program

Evita Lune at the University of Latvia


This week Evita Lune, a Partner, and Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners had the honour to evaluate the ten most focused teams who completed the eight-week phase of the pre-incubation program at the University of Latvia. The jury awarded 3 teams a cash grant to further develop their ideas: ReCyclone, Purefy and Kyukvi. 

“I would like to thank the Business Incubator of Latvijas Universitate for inviting me to be a patron and a mentor for this program. I am looking forward to seeing the progress of the teams in the next 12-week stage, which will start in January 2024. I am also excited to meet the new batch of aspiring entrepreneurs joining the incubator soon. 

I believe that supporting the start-up ecosystem is crucial for Latvia's economic and social development and the region. I encourage other individuals and companies to donate and act as mentors for the Business Incubator at Latvijas Universitates and help the next generation of innovators succeed."

Vietnam FinTech Market - Growth and Challenges

By Evita Lune, PhD, Partner, Global Head of the FinTech Practice Pedersen & Partners

Insights from Evita Lune, PhD

The past couple of weeks in Vietnam have been incredibly intense, marked by a rich cultural experience and eye-opening business encounters. I've been collaborating with my FinTech client here while also connecting with our team.

On one hand, Vietnam stands out as a rapidly expanding economy with a youthful population of 97 million, drawing significant interest from American, Japanese, and Chinese investors. Moreover, there's a substantial number of underbanked customers, widespread smartphone usage, high internet and social media penetration, all against a backdrop of a notably low GDP per capita at $3,757.

On the other hand, it's important to acknowledge that recognizing an opportunity doesn't necessarily guarantee success, as seen in the case of a few neobanks; in fact, quite the opposite.

The National Bank of Vietnam refrains from issuing licenses to neobanks. Consequently, most FinTech scale-ups must function under the license of a universal bank. This intricate regulatory framework hinders the establishment of true neobanks, mainly due to the sluggish processes involved and reliance on third-party procedures and approvals. There's an oversaturation of wallet and app-based offerings, primarily focused on brokering discounts. Therefore, the development of neobank wallets seldom presents a promising business case.

The lending sector, on the other hand, holds substantial potential. However, obtaining the necessary license comes at a steep cost, approximately $40 million, rendering it unaffordable for many. Those who venture into lending without the proper license have faced severe consequences, including imprisonment.

Both wallets and traditional banks have delivered suboptimal user experiences, marred by bugs in service delivery, limited operating hours (lacking 24/7 availability), and a significant bank run incident in 2022 due to severe liquidity issues. These events have eroded the trust of potential clients.

For foreign investors, the recommendation here aligns with that for other emerging markets: it's essential not to be reliant on the legal system. In the event of a dispute with a local company, winning a court case is highly unlikely. For most of local businesses, the shareholding structure might be: someone from the tax office, someone from the police, someone with the money and someone who knows how to run this business.

Despite these challenges, I am undeniably planning to return, not only for the market opportunities but primarily for the people. Despite a relatively recent tumultuous history, the majority of the Vietnamese people are exceptionally kind, optimistic, and forward-thinking. The expat community, too, has been welcoming and eager to collaborate, fostering a special bond that can be truly appreciated when you're so far from home.

FinTech Industry Pulse – Instant Payments, Open Finance, BNPL

Evita Lune

Evita Lune, our Global Head of the FinTech Practice Group, attended the FinTech Forum in Amsterdam and gained valuable insights into Europe’s payments ecosystem. Key topics included the upcoming regulation for instant payments, the open finance framework, and the SEPA Payment Account Access scheme. The event also covered the state of FinTech funding in Europe, the impact of the ECB interest rate hike on banking and neobanking business models, and the consolidation in the BNPL sector.

Amsterdam is always a good idea! Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the FinTech Forum in Amsterdam. It was a great opportunity to network with FinTech professionals and experts who are passionate about expanding their business out of the heart of Europe. Here are some of the key takeaways:

🌍 Instant Payments Regulation: The EU Commission is working on a regulation that will ensure that instant payments are available across the EU by 2024. This will create a level playing field for payment service providers and enhance consumer protection and convenience.

🚀 Open Finance Framework: The EU Commission is also working on a framework that will go beyond open banking for payments and enable data sharing for other financial services, such as WealthTech, InsurTech, credit scoring, etc. This will create new opportunities for innovation and competition in the financial sector and empower consumers to access better and cheaper services.

💡 SEPA Payment Account Access Scheme: The European Payments Council is implementing the first rulebook for the SEPA Payment Account Access scheme, which will enable payment service providers to access payment accounts held by other providers. This will facilitate crossborder payments, increase interoperability and efficiency in the payments market.

💼 Dutch Payment Association: I was impressed by the role of the Dutch Payment Association, which represents the interests of payment service providers in the Netherlands and works for an optimally effective, safe, reliable, accessible and socially efficient payment system. The association also plays an active role in shaping the European payments landscape and promoting innovation and collaboration.

💰 FinTech Funding: One of the topics discussed at the event was the state of FinTech funding in Europe. It has reached an all-time low since the pre-Covid period. Luckily for me, I have been working mainly with profitable FinTechs who have been able to grow organically and sustainably.

🌐 ECB Interest Rate Hike: Another topic that sparked a lot of debate was the impact of the ECB interest rate hike on banking and neobanking business models. Some argued that higher interest rates will benefit traditional banks that rely on net interest income, while others claimed that neobanks will be able to adapt and offer more value-added services to their customers.

📈 BNPL Consolidation: The event also covered the consolidation trend in the BNPL (buy now pay later) segment, with Klarna being one of the leading players. A study showed that Sweden, Romania, Poland, and Italy are leading the way in terms of number of customers who have been using BNPL services. However, some challenges remain, such as regulatory uncertainty and consumer debt issues.

Partner Evita Lune interviewed at the Nordic FinTech Summit

Evita Lune, Partner and Global Head of our FinTech Practice Group, shared her insights with the Nordic Fintech Magazine during the Nordic FinTech Summit in Helsinki. Watch the video to learn more about the challenges of attracting and retaining top FinTech talent, discover what brought Pedersen & Partners to this prestigious event and find out how Evita describes the Nordic Fintech ecosystem in just three words.

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