Why Keith Brown remains focused on BPAY Group’s vision

- By Collaborative Media & Publishing
Keith Brown has been working in finance and technology since the early 1980s when computers first became a force in banking.
 
His first job after finishing school was at a local UK building society as a trainee manager when they’d just introduced computers.
 
“Computers were fairly new in finance at that time and no one else wanted to run it. So I ended up running their computer system for them,” says Brown. “There were only two branches. It wasn't big but it was all pretty new. That's where I first got into technology and finance,” he adds.
 
It’s one of several roles in industries including IT, telecommunications and finance that have led Brown to his current role as General Manager of Product, Scheme and Business Development at BPAY Group.
 
In that role, he’s responsible for the administration of the BPAY scheme and the relationship with its 150-plus members. He’s also responsible for the development and enhancement of BPAY Payments and Osko, and for business development for those products, including sales, signing up of new members, and looking to expand the products into new industries and use cases.
 
Acting quickly on a vision
 
After moving to Australia with his wife, Brown joined what was then BPAY’s parent company Cardlink Services in 2001, and was subsequently offered the opportunity to become BPAY’s sixth employee, six months later. He's had several different roles in the organisation since then.
 
“I think the reason I've been at BPAY Group for so long is because it actually enabled me to bring all of those strands together,” he says of the different industries he’s worked in.
 
“I think going back to that first role in finance – being there literally behind the counter talking to customers and working with them in those early days of technology, and then with IT and telcos really seeing that progression to moving everything online.”
 
He worked at Nokia in 2000 in its heyday when the company was working on phones to take advantage of the recently introduced 3G technology. But the company was ultimately left behind by the likes of Apple and Samsung.
 
“They had the vision, they just didn't act on that vision quick enough,” says Brown, who adds there’s a lesson for all organisations in Nokia’s fate. In its five-year strategy BPAY Group sets out its vision to create a world where safety, trust and ease in the financial system is a given. Brown remains focused on acting out that vision.
 
“Whenever you're an incumbent with a strong position in the market, you can't rest on your laurels. You have to look at ways you can introduce new services to market and ensure your current services stay relevant.”
 
A good example is BPAY Group’s recent introduction of APIs, which allow other organisations to tap into the company’s capabilities. The APIs have opened up the products’ capabilities to new use cases, organisations and markets, allowing BPAY Group to broaden its appeal and usage.
 
FinTechs to leverage existing capabilities
 
For Brown, his role comes with two main challenges – ensuring BPAY Group stays relevant and that its people are brought along on the vision.
 
“You can have lots of great ideas but if the company and the people aren't bought into it and aren't part of that process then I think you can struggle. I think we've got an extremely engaged workforce that love working at BPAY Group, love what the company stands for, and are willing to put the effort in to deliver on our strategy,” he says.
 
“You really can't take your foot off the pedal. There's a lot of change in the FinTech world; there's so many new organisations coming into it you need to be aware of that all the time.”
 
Brown expects a shift in what we’ll see in payments and FinTech over the next 12 months.

Rather than introducing new big services or capabilities, a lot of FinTechs will leverage capabilities that already exist – whether it's open banking, the New Payments Platform, or the BPAY’s products – to solve specific problems in the market.
 
“That's quite an exciting thing because I think we'll see quite a lot of innovation around the edge,” he says.
 
It’s a development the BPAY Group is well positioned to take advantage of.

Published by BPAY Pty Ltd (ABN 69 079 137 518) email: marketing@bpay.com.au. The BPAY Scheme is managed by BPAY Pty Limited.  When you use BPAY payment products, the BPAY Scheme is paid fees relating to processing costs and BPAY Scheme membership.  Contact your financial institution to see if it offers BPAY payment products and to get the Product Disclosure Statement.  Any financial product advice provided by BPAY Pty Limited in relation to BPAY payment products is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on such advice, you should review the Product Disclosure.

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