Our Speakers

Experts within their fields, we bring you a select group of industry leaders, policymakers and regulators to share their knowledge and experience.

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Andrew enjoys understanding and using new and emerging technology. Over 15 years he has held various positions within finical services and financial services technology firms in a wide range of roles covering Product Management, Innovation, Sales and Structuring. He is presently a member of the RBS Group, working within the NatWest. Responsible for areas such as Blockchain / Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), Emerging Technology, Digitalization, Fintech Partnership and identifying new and exciting opportunities to help the bank’s client base to grow and prosper. Specifically to DLT, Andrew is working on the Voltron and Marco Polo banking consortiums and other exciting initiatives NatWest is working on.

Sergio Magalhães has more than 20 years of experience leading development teams and IT Departments in MillenniumBCP, a multinational bank, based in Portugal which is leader in innovation and customer experience. Since 2015 he is the Head of the Branch of The Future Department that is responsible for Branch Transformation projects, connecting the physical and the digital worlds, delivering the best customer experience. He oversaw the development of a new customer-oriented branch concept, now present in more than 40 locations in Portugal and with innovation features available in all 600+ branches of Millennium bcp in Portugal.  In 2018 he assumes the role of Director in the Digital transformation Office of Millennium BCP. Today is responsible for the Application development of all the channels in Millennium BCP.

James Hickson is CEO of Mash, one of Europe's fastest growing and most dynamic Fintech payments startups.

Passionate about the future of alternative finance and payments, he leads a team of driven professionals that are on a mission to transform the retail payments space through Mash’ best-in-class consumer finance solution.

Prior to Mash, James spent 15 years working for Morgan Stanley in various roles including, most recently, Executive Director in Technology Business Development in New York.

James is also a mentor for the FinTech Innovation Lab and Founder of Harlowe & Eve, a luxury children’s goods brand. James holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Greenwich in Computer Science and a Global Executive MBA from IE Business School in Business Administration and Management.

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Chris Crespo is a Behavioural Economist working as an Executive Adviser at Nordea’s Group Digital. His job is to “break things” and he is responsible for making disruption a modus operandi in the bank. Chris has been recently involved in the creation of Nordea’s Direction for Digital, a framework that guides Nordea’s digital transformation and aligns the organization across shared objectives of the digital journey by creating a common digital mindset. He is also a regular keynote speaker at Fintech and Banking innovation events.

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CEO at Omnio Group, Ian is a seasoned entrepreneur, having a number of successful fintech start-ups under his belt, including PCT. Ian has more than two decades’ leadership experience in the banking and payments industry, having previously been a Director of Abbey National Bank (now Santander) Unisys Corp. and Money Card. He’s also held board-level appointments at BACS, APACS, and EPA, to name a few.

Ian is a leading player in the fintech industry, and is currently a Non-Executive Director of ethical challenger bank The Change Account, and airline payments experts Travel Welfare.

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Kenneth joined Bank of Valletta plc (BOV), Malta's largest banking group, in 1985 and has since occupied various positions within the Bank. Kenneth currently holds the post of Chief Business Development Officer at Bank of Valletta plc and sits on the Group's Management Board. Kenneth is amongst others responsible for the improvement of the Bank’s market position, as well as the the achievement of financial growth and long-term strategic business goals.

Kenneth is also the Chairman of FinanceMalta, Malta's national promotional body for financial services, and also serves as Chairman of the Malta Funds Industry Association. He is also the Chairman of Malita Investments plc which is listed on the Malta Stock Exchange.

Robert was appointed CEO of international payments business Moorwand Limited
following a distinguished career in the card and payments industry.
For the past six years, he has been named in the Payments Power 10 (including being
ranked #1 in 2015), a highly competitive ranking of the most influential contributors
in payments.
Robert has deep expertise in e-money and is highly skilled in all aspects of consumer
finance issues, including consumer protection, banking regulation, and compliance
and anti-money laundering.
In the UK, he works closely with The Payments Services Regulator, HM Treasury and Financial Conduct Association, and other compliance and industry bodies globally. He is also currently Non-Executive Board Director/Strategic Advisor to over 15 diverse payment and payment-related companies. Previously, Robert achieved success as a senior legal professional specialising in matters relating to cards and payments. He regularly speaks on issues facing the European Payments' Industry including laws
relating to Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Andrew is the Head of Payments for the British Retail Consortium. He coordinates industry engagement with Government, regulators and providers on matters relating to retail payments and consumer credit, and acts as a spokesperson for the industry. He has led the industry response to the IFR, PSD2 and domestic initiatives, including the Payments Strategy. He has also supported HM Treasury and Bank of England projects for the roll-out of the new notes and coins.


Before joining the BRC in summer 2016, he led public affairs and stakeholder engagement for The UK Cards Association and Financial Fraud Action UK, working on the Interchange Fee Regulation and contactless for transit among other projects. He began his career in the European Parliament working for two MEPs and then as a consultant at the global PR and public affairs firm Burson-Marsteller, advising clients in across a range of sectors including banking. Andrew also served as a London Borough Councillor from 2014 to 2018.


Rich Wagner has nearly 30 years of payment experience from both the US and UK markets, and is recognised as one of the leading innovators in this industry.  Most notably and relevant for the EPA is that APS is the first non-bank granted an issuing license with MasterCard creating the path for other e-money issuers to have similar access. A passion he would like to achieve again within the wider payments network.

He is founder and CEO of Advanced Payment Solutions (APS), a leading challenger to banks offering digital payment and banking solutions. He has created one of the most awarded payments companies in Europe, and most recently APS was recognised by the London Stock Exchange as one of 1000 companies that inspire Britain.

Rich has  been recently  selected in 2014 to represents the entire electronic money industry at the Euro Retail Payments Board under the remit of the European Central Bank to help shape the future European payment  regulations including non-bank access to the payment networks.

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Janusz has over 20 years experience in the payments industry in Europe at Euronet (1998-2006), First Data (2006-14) and at Polskie ePlatnosci (2016), in various roles and functions from finance, sales and business development, M&A and general management both locally in Poland and regionally across CEE, Baltics and Ukraine / Russia. During this time he worked on virtually all parts of the payments ecosystem including; POS acquiring and processing (valued added services such as DCC, GSM prepaid and other top-ups, fuel card acquiring), card issuing, processing and personalization, eCommerce / mCommerce, vending, transport gift, loyalty, ATM management processing and outsourcing.

He is a Supervisory Board Member at Paylane - Polskie ePłatności S.A. a Polish group, currently 3rd largest acquirer in Poland with 100k POS acquired in 2006 by Innova Capital a CEE VC / PE fund. He has provided payment consulting and advisory services working on M&A projects, market analyses and funding for several payments business and start-ups including a crypto business.

Since 2005 he has been a supervisory Board Member of Ipopema Securities and IQ Partners since 2018 (both Warsaw exchange listed companies), Storic since 2018 (a loyalty coupon redemption business), and from 2014 has been a Partner / Investor in Hedgehog Angel Fund investing in early stage ecommerce and ICT businesses in Poland. He is Chairman of Committee of Polish Acquirers under the auspices of the Association of Polish Banks and a member of the Payment System Committee at the National Bank of Poland.

Born and educated in the UK – he graduated in Geography at University College London, and qualified as a chartered accountant (ACA) and is also a member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers ACT. He is an enthusiastic tennis, squash and accordion player.

Rūta Merkevičiūtė is a Head of Division for E-money and Payment institution supervision at Bank
of Lithuania, responsible for supervising over 100 E-money and Payment institutions.
She has professional legal qualification as an attorney-at law and for the past 10 years has been
working both in private sector and financial sector’s supervision in the areas of responsibility that include AML, payments, lending, crowdfunding, investment services and transposition of EU Directives such as PAD, PSD2 and AMLD4 Previously, she took part in developing a regulatory framework for FinTech industry in Lithuania as a member of the interinstitutional working group for the Action Plan on FinTech industry. She also managed “Newcomer programme" for consultations with potential and already licensed entities and led Regulatory Sandbox in Bank of Lithuania allowing entities to test financial innovations in a live environment under the guidance and supervision of the Bank of Lithuania.

Michael is a long established professional in the e-payments Industry holding key positions in local and global payments and e-money institutions.  He has served as a member in Boards of the fintech industry, PIs, EMIs and investment institutions. Michael specialises in European Electronic Payments, has knowledge of PSD 1&2 directives and banking regulations, but he is also an optimist in changing and evolving blockchain technology. Michael holds a strong clientele and specialises in advising his partners for banking and e-payments across the betting, gaming and investment companies.

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Kirsten Ellul is a Senior Officer at the Regulation and Oversight office at the Central Bank of Malta and worked extensively on the transposition and implementation of the PSD2 into Maltese legislation.

Kirsten participates in a number of European Fora on payments including the Forum on the Security of Retail Payments, and the Commission Expert Group on Banking, Payments and Insurance. For the past year, Kirsten has been supporting local credit and financial institutions in the implementation of APIs and to achieve compliance with the provisions of the RTS on SCA and CSC in a timely manner. Before joining the Central Bank of Malta, Kirsten has worked at one of the major retail banks in Malta.

Laura McCracken, Head of Financial Services & Payments Partnerships, Europe at Facebook, is responsible for enabling commerce and establishing financial services partnerships across Facebook, Marketplace, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Prior to Facebook, Laura was GM, International Payment Products at Amazon, overseeing Amazon’s co-branded credit cards, B2B gift cards, installment lending, Shop with Points, and the Money Store. She also served as the Deputy Chairman of the Emerging Payment Association (EPA).

She brings 25 years of experience from global financial services, payments and eCommerce companies, including Facebook, Amazon, Citi, American Express, Lazard and KPMG. Her background includes general management, strategy, business development, partnerships, and finance. Having lived in London, Luxembourg, Singapore, New York and Los Angeles and worked across over 30 markets in North America, EMEA, and Asia, she offers a global world view.


Laura holds a BS in Accounting from Auburn University and MBA degrees from Columbia and London Business School.


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