An interview with Emilie Allaert, Head of Operations and Projects, the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT)

Could you tell us more about your background? What are your current responsibilities within the LHoFT ?

I studied Financial Management at Durham University in England. I then returned to Luxembourg to work in the financial industry, focusing more specifically on regulatory aspects and project management. I had noticed that some projects sometimes failed to respond to actual needs and situations. The LHoFT’s arrival in the financial market provided me with an opportunity to work for a project with a real impact and that can bring new opportunities to Luxembourg. I joined the LHoFT when it was created in March 2017, and I manage research projects in the Fintech sector.

Could you describe how the LHoFT is involved in inclusive finance? And what makes it different from the other inclusive finance actors?

The LHoFT is a public-private initiative dedicated to connecting the Luxembourg and international Fintech community. Inclusive finance is one of the sectors in which the LHoFT is active, notably by hosting start-ups working on implementing innovative technological tools to make access to financial products and services broadly available. The LHoFT hosts, amongst others, Bitpesa, MyBucks, and Emergent Payments.

The LHoFT’s role consists in assisting start-ups and putting them in touch with a multitude of actors so as to facilitate their implementation in Europe and Luxembourg. Within this scope, the LHoFT implemented a new project this year, targeting mainly Fintech start-ups active in inclusive finance: “Catapult: Inclusion Africa”. With this project, the LHoFT will be hosting 12 Fintechs developing inclusive finance projects focusing on Africa. They will be able to attend training sessions and meet potential partners over the course of a week in Luxembourg. “Catapult” will be held from 5 to 9 November. The entire LHoFT team is working on this project, which brings together the main Luxembourg actors in inclusive finance and microfinance. “Catapult” benefits from the support of the Luxembourg Ministry of Cooperation and PwC.

What are your key interests in inclusive finance?

I’m especially interested in payment security and secure access to financial services for all. Another theme I closely follow is respect for refugees’ banking identity. Lastly, I’m also interested in how crypto assets can be used to improve access to financial services.

What are the biggest challenges for inclusive finance and how can Luxembourg and InFiNe.lu contribute to it?

The biggest challenge is to raise awareness about the importance of inclusive finance. Awareness does not just mean talking about the issue; the idea is to implement concrete projects and get Luxembourg inclusive finance actors involved in these projects.