Pillars of Potential
P20 was conceived in Atlanta and formed at a meeting in London between the American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC) and representatives from the U.K. payments industry, government and regulators. Its creation came in response to the increasing need for regulatory clarity, consumer security and collaborative innovation as it applies to the payments industry and financial technology. P20’s mission of making payments accessible, affordable and secure for all is based on the organization’s four pillars: cybersecurity, regulation, financial inclusion and innovation.
“The pillars are broad planks covering a lot of territory. We continue to see great progress in all areas,” says Bruce Lowthers, co-chief operating officer of financial technology company FIS, chair of ATPC and the P20 conference. “Cybersecurity is an extremely important pillar to all of us. In fact, the WEF just announced the Cybersecurity Consortium—an industry consortium focused on improving the cybersecurity of financial technology companies. It is without question that the financial services sector is among the most vulnerable to cybercrime because of all the money and data that financial institutions and others are processing each day.”
P20’s “four pillars” dominated much of the discussion at the organization’s first annual meeting, which took place in October 2017 at London’s Lancaster House. There the board agreed on the importance of these issues and discussed the formation of two working works focused on cybersecurity and regulation.
“While financial inclusion and innovation are more ‘evergreen’ initiatives, regulation and cyber-security are seen as areas that require immediate focus as they are barriers that can prevent processors and banks from providing improved services to their customers,” says Eileen Nebhut, vice president of P20.
When the P20 conference kicks off in Atlanta in October the discussion surrounding the four pillars will continue. H. West Richards, P20 founder and executive director of the ATPC, hopes the Atlanta conference will help establish memorandums of understanding between the U.K. and U.S. governments stating a commitment to continue working on improving identity verification and strengthening the resiliency of the payments clusters in London and Atlanta.
“We’ve got a lot of support in the U.S. and U.K. government for this,” Richards says. “If our two countries can demonstrate that we’ve been able to create rules that make sense and promote fintech and promote payments and it enables other countries to execute safe and secure payments, it’s a good mission because when you get to the point where you are facilitating the ability for the unbanked or the underbanked across the world to make safe and secure payments, you’re actually getting into the financial inclusion realm and you’re in the business of raising people out of poverty.”
Norma Krayem, a senior policy advisor and co-chair of cybersecurity and privacy team at law firm Holland & Knight LLP specializes in helping companies in the banking and financial services sector manage cybersecurity risk. She says companies today are becoming more focused on this threat, as is the U.S and other governments around the world. P20’s focus is exceptionally timely as cyber-attacks against the nation’s critical infrastructure occur daily and are global in nature.
“The P20 understands that cybersecurity is a systemic threat that knows no boundaries. But for business, with proper management of the issue and collaboration like the P20 is talking about, there are best practices and partnerships that can be shared and created to help manage the risk,” Krayem says. “In the old days, all we had to worry about was the bank robber showing up with a gun and demanding all the money, now cybersecurity is simply a new risk—the 21st century version of that risk.”