Fintech: the Algorithmic Disruption in an Era of Computing​ Abundance — Silicon Valley and Japanese Perspectives

The following is the summary of a breakout session that was part of the 2016 Annual Conference.


  • Moderator: Phyllis Campbell, Vice Chair, U.S.-Japan Council; Chair, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Pacific Northwest
  • Kenji Kushida, Ph.D., Japan Program Research Scholar, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University
  • Ranjana Clark, Head of Transaction Banking and Bay Area President, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.
  • Oskar Miel, Founder and Managing Partner, Rakuten FinTech Fund


The FinTech breakout session room was packed with attendees eager to hear from three experts on what’s happening in this fast-moving industry. 

Professor Kushida introduced the topic by explaining that FinTech is the most recent trend in startups in Silicon Valley. It is a business sector that focuses on using IT tools and analytics for financial transactions, risk analysis for loans, insurance, and other finance related products. Computers now have access to processing power one trillion times faster than previously, he explained. Combined with robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), lightning fast data processing will open up opportunities for new finance tools and products that may change the face of the financial industry more quickly than many traditional banks are prepared to fully understand, said Kushida.

Next, Oskar Miel of Rakuten’s FinTech Fund gave concrete examples of how Rakuten is developing financial products and services that are already changing the way purchasing transactions are processed. Rakuten is the top online bank in Japan. With the Rakuten Card, Rakuten Bank, and Rakuten Securities, his team is providing consumers with ways to use the power of the internet to make managing their finances much easier and faster.

Ranjana Clark of MUFG talked about how her bank is meeting the challenges of the changing landscape of the finance industry. Her team is using “challenge programs” to encourage new fintech startups. Their most recent project is the MUFG FinTech Accelerator, a four-month finance business incubator program in which the winner was granted a MUFG partnership.

To wrap up, the three panelists engaged in a lively discussion about whether traditional banks will retain their stronghold—or not. With technology advancements dramatically speeding up the pace of change, that remains to be seen.