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Judging panel 2023

Jonathan Easton, Editor, FStech, Retail Systems and National Technology News

Robert Courtneidge, Independent Consultant
Mark McMurtrie, Director, Payments Consultancy
David Parker, Chief Executive, Polymath Consulting
Mike Smith, Retail Payments and Banking Products Specialist
John Schratz, Managing Director, Eclipse Enterprise Consulting
Yusuf Ozdalga, Partner, Head of UK and Europe, QED Investor
Dr. Ruth Wandhöfer, Independent non-executive director

Image titleRobert Courtneidge,Independent Consultant
Robert is a respected industry expert with a distinguished career in the card and payments industry. He has deep expertise in digital assets and e-money, and is highly skilled in all aspects of consumer finance issues, including banking regulation and compliance, consumer protection and AML/CTF. He was regularly named a key player in the Payments Power 10 (including #1 in 2015), a highly competitive ranking of the influential contributors in payments. 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 Electronic Money, Payment Services, AML/CTF, Digital Assets and CBDCs.

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Mark McMurtrie, Director, Payments Consultancy
Mark McMurtrie is an Independent Consultant who focuses on Payments and FinTech. He advises retailers, payment service providers, acquirers, technology companies, financial services companies and investors. For the last 5 years he has been providing a range of high level payment advisory services focusing on strategy development, market assessments, investment support, commercial due diligence, technology reviews, competitive analysis and supplier selection. He has worked with many of the world’s leading companies including the largest retailers, eCommerce merchants, PSPs, retail banks, merchant acquirers, card issuers, payment schemes and payment service providers. His payments experience is broad and covers mobile, face-to face, ecommerce, Omni-channel and instant/realtime payments. Mark is a regular industry commentator, conference chairman, speaker and awards judge. He is proud to be an Ambassador for the Emerging Payments Association and member of Vendorcom.

Image titleDavid Parker, Chief Executive, Polymath Consulting
David is the founder and chief executive of Polymath Consulting, who work on projects and advises organisations across the cards and payments industry. He is also an active mentor, non-executive director and advisor to boards – Swiipr, Nymcard, PiePeople, 3S Money and Bee Good along with others. In consultancy he has worked across the complete value chain, helping banks with their overall e-money/prepaid and emerging payments strategy, right through to market entry analysis, as well as working with processors and programme managers on segment analysis, certification and membership applications. In normal times he chairs conferences and events from Mumbai to Moscow; Las Vegas to London and Johannesburg/Nairobi in Africa to Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Image titleMike Smith, Retail Payments and Banking Products Specialist
Mike Smith is a retail payments and banking products specialist with many years’ experience. His early career with NatWest saw him managing the current account and personal loan products before heading up personal customer marketing. Mike joined the Post Office where he was head of banking, and then head of marketing at the launch of Post Office Financial Services. He then joined Raphaels Bank, as director of marketing and strategy, responsible for launching a multi-currency ATM network and driving the Bank’s Payment Services Division. He was a director of the Prepaid International Forum for 10 years, a non-executive director of Faster Payments Scheme, and sat on the LINK Network Members Council representing Raphaels. Mike sat on the Payment Strategy Forum representing FinTechs and currently holds two non-executive director positions in lending and payments with Just Cashflow and Fire.com.

Image titleJohn Schratz, Managing Director, Eclipse Enterprise Consulting
John is the founder and Managing Director of Eclipse Enterprise Consulting, a specialist payments consultancy practice providing strategic, interim management, consultancy and advisory support to companies engaged in banking, consumer lending and card payments. As a leading professional in the card and payments sectors, John brings a unique blend of technical expertise, industry knowledge, product innovation and international experience. A financial services practitioner with over 25 years of experience, he has worked with some of the world’s leading financial institutions, as well as established Fintech and start-ups, where he has gained an in-depth understanding of the complexities in delivering change initiatives across large-scale business, operational and regulated environments. John has recently joined the Board of Fast Track Money Transfer where he serves as Chief Risk Officer supporting the launch of its international payments business, Simple Transfer. He has also held non-executive positions with Visa and MasterCard in the UK, as well as advisory roles with start-ups, including Jaja Finance, where he supported the successful bid for the Bank of Ireland and Post office credit card back-book.

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Yusuf Ozdalga, Partner, Head of UK and Europe, QED Investor
Ozdalga joined QED in 2017, and his career has spanned roles as an operator, advisor, entrepreneur and investor. His current portfolio of investments include Wagestream, GetGround, Wayflyer, Fidel API and Weavr. He started his professional investing career in 2006 funding speciality finance and consumer credit companies in Europe, including early fintech plays such as some of the first online loan originators in Sweden. Prior to joining QED, Ozdalga was an Investment Director with a growth fund helping emerging companies and entrepreneurs build lasting consumer franchises by leveraging the power of data analytics.

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Dr. Ruth Wandhöfer, Independent non-executive director
Dr. Ruth Wandhöfer’s career spans more than 20 years in financial services, covering regulatory and policy, innovation and strategy in payments, banking and investment. She is currently an independent non-executive director (iNED) with Permanent TSB Bank, Gresham Technologies, Aquis Exchange Group and RTGS.global. She is the Chair of the UK Payment Systems Regulator Panel, strategic adviser to the European Third-Party Payment Provider Association (ETPPA), a Partner at Gauss Ventures and part- time Advisor Banking and Regulation at GC Partners, an FX firm. She also advises the British Standards Institute and the City of London Corporation in the context of innovation and growth.
 She is well known in the banking industry and with regulators for her leadership and ability to build consensus across diverse stakeholder groups. Ruth unites an in-depth knowledge of the business, technology and the regulatory landscape with her strong relationships with regulators, central banks, governments, public sector and supranational institutions, financial market infrastructures, banks and corporates and FinTechs around the world. Over the last 8 years she has been deeply engaged in the topic of innovation in the FinTech and RegTech space and how this transforms the business model of financial market infrastructures and financial institutions.

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