Spotlight Feature (Global Processing Services)
Interview with Joanne Dewar, CEO of GPS

Q: What does your company do?

A: GPS provides an award-winning issuer processing platform that enables start-up and established financial players to offer the next generation of payment services. We work with over 40 banks globally and serve more than 100+ clients in 60 countries using over 150 currencies.

Q: What are your goals in the next 2-3 years?

A:  We want to continue innovating and building our brand across the world. Our technology has been responsible for establishing three of the most well-known UK challenger bank brands, Monzo, Starling and Revolut, and it’s about time we shout about it. We are excited to be able to bring our capabilities to APAC as the same opportunities to revolutionise payments present themselves. For example, only last week we have launched in Australia with Xinja. As we look to grow in APAC and beyond, this credibility will define us as trusted enablers of financial disruption.

 Q: What challenges or opportunities do you foresee in your space?

A: The rise of the challenger banks in the UK was facilitated by the rapid adoption of contactless payments through the use on London public transport, smart phone adoption, a strong technology talent pool, a welcoming regulator and the disruption of the 2008 banking crisis. Each market has slightly different drivers and key players but the fundamental direction is the same and the speed will depend on the regulatory framework. The opportunity for GPS is in helping businesses within these evolving markets adopt these new fintech payments capabilities in the most effective way possible. The challenge for the APAC region as a whole is that there is no equivalent to the SEPA passporting arrangements in Europe which have enabled companies to expand rapidly across the continent, so each country is a unique proposition.

Q: How are you involved with creating more opportunities for women in FinTech or the payments sector?

A: GPS is an advocate of women in the fintech sector. Within our company we have put in place a range of opportunities such as the ‘returnship’, which allows women who have been out of work for an extended period of time to return progressively through a part-time role. We are involved in many external bodies that seek to empower women (such as Emerging Payments – Women in Paytech, European Women Payments Network, Women in Tech) and have signed up to the Women in Finance Charter. We take opportunities to speak at events to share examples of what can be achieved and through careful addressing of our recruitment approach have greatly increased the proportion of women in every department.  We also make it a priority to provide a forum for women to discuss their careers in an open and trusted way. This is critical around issues such as family planning which are unfortunately seen as career limiting for women in many workplaces today.

I also make a point of bringing my children into the office for odd days during the school holidays. This not only reminds everyone that I am a mother of 3 as well as a CEO, but also demonstrably gives permission for others to copy, which can help them, particularly in the event of childcare challenges.

Ultimately, we want to ensure that all the excellent women who work for GPS can continue to have a fulfilling and successful career, whatever their situation.

Q: As one of the pioneering female leaders, what advice would you give a woman going into a leadership position for the first time in this industry?

A: Firstly, it is important to understand that equality is not promoting men and women on the basis of different criteria – only when we have the same opportunities and chances for advancement will we truly have achieved equality. Beyond this, we need to carefully look at how diversity is being assessed. It cannot be a tick box exercise – recruiting and promoting must be based solely on performance alone to ensure there is no bias.

The hardest truth I’ve learned is that sometimes, in order to be heard, you need to conform to your environment to gain a position of strength. But it is then essential to challenge the culture in order to ensure that the environment adapts to enable a wider variety of voices to be heard.