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Duperreault encourages fintech innovators

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Have faith: Brian Duperreault, left, urges fintech entrepreneurs to believe in their ideas, alongside Premier David Burt at the BDA's Executive Forum in London yesterday (Photograph supplied)

American International Group chief executive Brian Duperreault praised Bermuda’s “culture of quality and innovation”, while urging fintech entrepreneurs to be relentless in their pursuit of novel ideas, on the second of a two-day industry forum in London.

“First and foremost, you have to believe — and what a great feeling it is when you are successful,” Duperreault told attendees at a half-day fintech seminar organised by the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) at ME London.

He was a special guest participant in an opening “fireside chat” with David Burt, the Premier, moderated by Sean Moran, the BDA’s interim CEO, that attracted investors, tech industry professionals, support industries, plus leaders of several recent Bermuda start-ups. Entitled “Innovation Island: Why Industry Pioneers Choose Bermuda”, the discussion highlighted Mr Duperreault’s legacy as an insurance trailblazer and compared that industry’s historic disruption with the current fintech revolution.

“Success breeds success,” Mr Duperreault said. “Bermuda encourages people with an idea, who have the capital to deploy, who are quality people, to come to its market. And their success attracts others. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, we kind of made up the rules as we went along.”

Discussions at the morning forum explored commercialisation of fintech, banking of digital assets and Bermuda’s new regulatory framework governing initial coin offerings, virtual asset business and insurtech.

Panellists included C-suite leaders of cutting-edge companies like DrumG Financial Technologies, Core. Live, Hub Culture, Data Innovation Labs, Shyft Network, SALT and EQI Bank — all either incorporated in Bermuda, or exploring opportunities to do so.

“You can find accelerators and incubators anywhere in the world, from London to New York to Singapore, but there’s only one place where the entire place is itself an innovation hub — and that is Bermuda,” the Premier said.

“Innovation is inside the collective DNA of all Bermudians. If you’re looking for a jurisdiction with a forward-thinking government that welcomes entrepreneurs and you have an idea you’d like to demonstrate on a countrywide scale, then Bermuda can make your ideas reality.”

The afternoon saw a dedicated forum hosted by ILS Bermuda, “Beyond Convergence”, focused on insurance-linked securities, whose global market capacity Bermuda dominates.

“There’s increasing jurisdictional competition in the ILS space, but it’s valuable in a market like London, that has created its own ILS platform, to share and exchange ideas,” said Greg Wojciechowski, chairman of ILS Bermuda, a BDA director and CEO of the Bermuda Stock Exchange.

“Competition doesn’t necessarily mean going after the same pie; it can grow the pie. There are experiences we’ve had, due to the maturity of our insurance and ILS sectors, that we can share. And the face-to-face exchange of ideas gives people comfort to do business with you.”

Close to 200 industry professionals, from shipping to insurtech, attended day one of the forum yesterday, which included a chat on blockchain benefits between the Premier and Lord Holmes.

The event was the agency’s fourth overseas multi-industry conference over the past year, showcasing government, industry and regulatory expertise and business opportunities.

Jeremy Cox, CEO of the Bermuda Monetary Authority, who took part in an ILS panel, said: “London is an important market for Bermuda, so this offered us a great opportunity to educate, raise awareness, and answer in-depth questions.

“The BMA was proud to participate in an initiative that raised Bermuda’s profile and underscored our world-class regulatory reputation.”

ILS leader: Greg Wojciechowski, left, and Premier David Burt, pictured on an insurance-linked securities session at the BDA's Executive Forum in London yesterday (Photograph supplied)