CxO of the Week: Mr. Bharat Panchal, Chief Risk Officer, Middle-East & Africa, FIS

By : |September 9, 2020 0

CxO of the Week: Mr. Bharat Panchal is working as a Chief Risk Officer for India, Middle East & Africa for FIS Global. It is a fintech supporting the banking and payment services across the world. Bharat is responsible for creating risk culture at FIS and its ecosystem by way of designing, implementing, and monitoring risk controls.

He has established himself as a thought leader for digital banking in India with his immense knowledge of risk and cybersecurity areas and his contribution to making the ecosystem risk free. He is one of the most sought speakers on risk and cybersecurity subjects in India and worldwide.

Thus, CIOL took an opportunity to talk to Mr. Bharat Panchal, Chief Risk Officer, Middle-East & Africa, FIS about chief issues in the Fintech space in India.

What is your top priority while making decisions to improve tech infra in your organization?

Flexibility, Innovation, scalability, agility, etc. are now an integral part of technology infrastructure. However, with rapidly increasing demand and continuous cyber threats, the sustainability of IT infrastructure is a key factor today. On the other hand, customer experience has been enhanced with a verity of products that gives seamless accessibility and availability of digital assets. Hence, providing uninterrupted access, with a high level of security is a priority.

How are you looking to stay ahead in this competitive landscape where the Fintech platforms are emerging rapidly?

The fintech market is indeed the most happening place in this digital era. New business models, start-ups, CoEs, innovation labs, etc. fueling more and more competition every day. In such a diverse market in India, understanding customer’s nuances are the most important factor. With our presence in the country for more than 2 decades, we understand our customers much better than new-age fintech.

Further, FIS is undoubtedly the leader in the Fintech world. It brings vast experience and expertise from more than 120 countries the way people do banking, invest, or pay. Innovation is one of our biggest strengths. We are continuously working on innovative solutions to be its global giants in banking or for small community banks. So, our worldwide outreach in terms of experience and expertise, our innovation strategy, and most importantly, understanding our customers well is keeping us ahead in the competitive age.

How will work-from-home lead to a paradigm shift in workplaces?

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in many ways for our lifetime. The world is seeing its impact on individual lives, governments, and the global economy. While cities and countries are scrambling to contain the virus and protect their citizens, it has forced almost everyone to work in different than the conventional way.

As the crisis continues to evolve, many sectors of industry have already adopted this new normal. With the lockdown around the world, employees are expected to continue working remotely, which is undoubtedly a threat to most companies as the network perimeter has expanded radically. Firms are not just at risk of facing outages, but also face continuous data security vulnerabilities and cyber threats.

You have worked with NPCI. How is working in public governance different from a Fortune 300 company?

I think there is no comparison between both. NPCI is not for profit and national critical infrastructure whereas FIS is the global commercial company. But, I feel proud of my contribution to NPCI. It has changed the way people are doing banking today in a very convenient and secure way. Nearly 9 years, I led the risk management function and ensure that the ecosystem remains risk-free.

The digital innovation that we did at NPCI has significantly contributed to the “Digital India” movement and today NPCI has become indeed a national public utility with utmost sophistication in the payment space. FIS has allowed me to explore the global system in which I am using the experience I have gained during my NPCI stint.

How has Covid-19 altered consumer behavior and its’ repercussions for the lending industry?

COVID has made VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) moment for everything hence it is inevitable for customers also to change their priorities. Many companies are considering consolidation of their offices, no more expansion or reduction in the spend on IT upgrades, etc. Extension for the loan moratorium and economy package declared by the government is surely supportive but not to the entire society. Therefore, High volatility in the economy and increased unemployment due to COVID-19 has changed customer’s spending patterns.

Tell us something about you as a leader and an industry player. What should industry leaders do especially in such tough times?

In this testing time for everyone. The organizations must assess the probability of new risks emerged out of COVID effects; the possibility of these to occur in their environment. Accordingly, they may put deterrent controls in place. It is true that the world is still clueless and struggling to figure out how to respond to this unprecedented event. Governments, professionals, companies, and individuals are badly impacted.

The dust will not settle for a long time, and we will continue to feel ripple effects in all areas of life for years to come. And although business practices may not be top of the mind right now while we face these difficult changes; it is recommended that organizations look towards the future to protect themselves, their employees, their customers, etc. against all possible risks.

Read here for the previous CxO of the Week.

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