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2023 Award Judges

RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE IN FINANCIAL SERVICES & FINTECH

JUDGES//

James Varga

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DirectID

James Varga is a pioneer in the open banking space and founder of DirectID, a global credit and risk platform leveraging open banking data to drive financial inclusion with a global credit score for both consumers and businesses.

 

With over a decade of experience working with open banking, James recognized the inefficiencies, backwards nature, and biases inherent in legacy financial assessments. Seeing open banking adoption accelerate globally, he seized the opportunity to develop the world's first financially inclusive global credit score based on this advanced data.

 

Since 2010, James has tirelessly pursued this vision to transform open banking into a foundation for streamlined, fairer financial processes. He sees financial services as a global trust network—one he is passionate about improving to address issues like identity, credit risk, and financial inclusion.

 

An active leader in the fintech community, James serves on the boards of Fintech Scotland, the Scottish Government Ministerial Trade Board, Trust in Digital Life (TDL), and helped launch industry pioneers like FDATA, Innovate Finance, and Open Banking Excellence. Notably, James was part of the working group that advocated for PSD2, with DirectID later building the UK's first AISP integration.

Nicola Anderson

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Fintech Scotland

Nicola Anderson is the CEO of FinTech Scotland, a strategic cluster management organisation that works across the private, public and third sectors, as well as academia to enable economic growth and inclusion in developing digital financial services.

 

Through her career Nicola has worked across the public and private sectors and her experience has involved leading business and organisational development with an emphasis on innovation, collaboration and customer focused strategies. 

 

Initially joining FinTech Scotland as Strategic Development Director in 2018, she has worked on a range of collaborative initiatives to develop Scotland’s fintech cluster, including work with the University of Edinburgh in developing the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence.  In other strategic collaborations Nicola has connected regulatory, legal and cyber expertise with the fintech cluster including strategic engagement with Police Scotland, Scottish Business Resilience Centre, ScotlandIS and UK regulators as well as an advisory role with LawTech Scotland.

 

Since joining FinTech Scotland Nicola has worked with the FinTech SME community, supporting SMEs in navigating the regulatory environment, with proposition development and business innovations focused on customer outcomes.  Her experience in SME business development comes from a variety of industries including financial services and involves a practical understanding across different stages of the business lifecycle, with first-hand entrepreneurial experience from initiating and establishing her own business in the retail sector. 

Callum Sinclair

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Burness Paull

Callum is Head of Technology and Commercial at leading law firm Burness Paull. He has worked in the field of information and communications technology law for over 20 years and has a life-long passion for technology. He currently chairs the IT Contracting and Advisory Special Interest Group of the Lex Mundi international alliance of “best of breed” independent law firms. He sits on the Board of ScotlandIS, and the Crypto-assets Expert Panel (Scots Law) and is on the Leadership Circle of the Scotland AI Alliance. Callum is a recognised thought-leader in technology. He was named in the 2018 UK Lawyer magazine’s “Hot 100” as a “Disruptor” and in The Times’ 2016 Digital List of 100 people from Scotland’s digital technologies industry who are “changing the world”. Callum also won the Leadership Award at the 2018 ScotlandIS Digital Tech Awards.

Kent Mackenzie

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Deloitte

Kent is a Partner in our Risk Advisory Practice and leads much of our work in regulatory and compliance transformation as well as our engagements and collaborations with the evolving Fintech and RegTech market.  Over the last few years Kent has built an industry leading practice in the UK that helps our clients understand and deliver digital transformation across the Risk and Compliance management domain, leveraging some of the latest technologies and innovations from across our local and RegTech global eco-system.  In addition to this Kent also leads our global digital strategy to bring the best technology innovation from around the globe to bear on compliance related engagement engagements and advise regulators, clients and governments on trends and development across this space.   In the last year his client work has seen him lead and support innovative projects in Europe, US, South Africa, and the Middle East. 

 

Prior to joining Deloitte Kent spent 15 years in the FS industry across a range of senior roles in Data, Risk and Compliance Transformation, and technology.  Working for major high street banks and global players including Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Morgan Stanley.

 

Closer to home Kent has also led Deloitte’s partnership with Scottish Government and the private sector to support the definition and creation of ‘Fintech Scotland’, an entity charged with joining the rich eco-system up in the UK and pioneering innovative projects around FS, Risk and Compliance.

Andrew Duncan

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Soar

Andrew Duncan is CEO and Founder of Soar. He is a serial entrepreneur, author and speaker with a passion for technology.

 

Before Soar, Andrew founded sister company Swarm Online in 2012, specialising in software and app development. After being approached by a number of credit unions about app development, he decided to take a closer look at the market. That’s when he discovered that the community banking market has been largely underserved in terms of technology, and wanted to put modern, frictionless and fair banking in the hands of the consumers who need it most.

David McLeay

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Lloyds Banking Group

FinTech Innovation Strategist and Product Owner at Lloyds Banking Group, specialising in Insurance, Pensions, and Investments. David’s passion lies in fostering an innovative, audacious corporate culture that embraces and nurtures FinTech ventures across the UK and beyond.

 

As pioneer of the LBG launch program, he takes immense pride in driving a remarkable 700% growth in engagement, cultivating an environment of equitable partnerships.

 

David aims to establish broader LBG connections with academia, spearheading initiatives on sustainability, and leveraging data to provide unparalleled support to customers in achieving their financial and well-being aspirations.

 

With a relentless commitment to cutting-edge solutions and customer-centric strategies, he will help lead the charge in creating a brighter financial future.

Lauren Cahill

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Cairngorm Capital

Lauren is Transformation Director at Cairngorm Capital, working with a portfolio of companies to adopt new ways of working and navigate technology trends to accelerate growth and maximise return on investment. Bringing her experience from both the public and private sector, she works closely with the C-Suite executives to coach them through the change and disruption, driving value creation initiatives within their businesses.

Vicky Byrom

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Zumo

Vicky has over 20 years of experience delivering analytics projects across both private and public sectors, enabling companies to effectively use their data to make better decisions. She currently is the Chief Data & Analytics Officer for the crypto wallet app Zumo and is also the product lead on the innovative blockchain-based Oxygen product. 

She won the Data IQ Award 2019 for Data Analytics Leader of the Year when she led the multi-award-winning advanced analytics practice for Merkle UK. Vicky was a member of the AI steering committee for the Scottish Government that developed Scotland's first AI strategy. 

In the world of fintech - Vicky previously headed up the data function within fintech scale-up Modulr and cut her data 'teeth' working in various data-related roles in a 12-year career with NWB.

Nik Bobb

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Barclays

Nik is a Programme & Risk professional with nearly 20 years of experience in the Financial Services Industry (FSI). He provides integrity-centric strategic leadership and programme management to global multi-million pound projects, ranging from Financial Instrument IT Application migration to Financial Crime Compliance (FCC) Risk Framework delivery. 

Before joining Barclays, Nik held a variety of roles, including Geo-mapping and Pension legislation reviews, as well as leading Fraud/Anti-Money Laundering teams to apprehend criminals. 

Furthermore, Nik is an award-winning mentor and coach with over a decade of experience, primarily focused on supporting individuals in developing their careers.

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