Kyckr (ASX:KYK) Chairman, Benny Higgins on strategy

Interviews

by Jessica Amir

Kyckr Limited (ASX:KYK) newly appointed Chairman, Benny Higgins, talks strategic direction, priorities and opportunities in corporate identity solutions.

Jessica Amir: Hi, I'm Jessica Amir for the Finance News Network, proudly joined by Kyckr Chairman Benny Higgins. Hi, Benny. Welcome to FNN.

Benny Higgins: Hi, Jessica. It's a pleasure to be here.

Jessica Amir: First up for those new to the company, just tell us about Kyckr.

Benny Higgins: Kyckr is a business. It's a small cap business that I think has got a fantastic customer proposition. In a heightened environment of regulatory pressure it is so important that banks, in particular, know exactly what the identity of their customers are, and indeed make sure that they continue to know what they are. Kyckr offers a unique service to make sure that that identity is verified, that it's based on primary sourced data, and is continually updated.

Jessica Amir: Benny, you've recently joined Kyckr not long ago, in March. Just tell us about your background.

Benny Higgins: Yeah, I spent all of my professional career in financial services. Way back at the start I qualified as an actuary in the insurance world, but have spent the last 20 years or more in banking going back to the Natwest RBS deal. That was the biggest hostile takeover in banking history. I integrated Natwest with RBS back then. In more recent times, I've spent the last 10 years as the Chief Executive of Tesco Bank. A bank that I left at the end of February with 8 million customers. I'm very proud of what we did there. I've got a lot of experience in banking in Europe, and in the US where I was on the board of a bank for four years.

Jessica Amir: Very impressive. You're very humble. Just tell us how you got involved with a small cap such as Kyckr, and why you joined?

Benny Higgins: Now in the first instance it was John Van Der Wielen who is my immediate predecessor who I'd crossed paths with in my time at HBOS. As ever, it's relationships with people that always matter most. I've got the greatest respect for John and I think it's mutual respect. When he asked me to be his successor I was very interested, but I think all roads lead back to serving customers well and Kyckr, I think, has a proposition that is an essential component of how banks run themselves properly. I think it is a very compelling proposition, and when I met my other colleagues in Kyckr I was very impressed by them. I think they've got the right attitude, the right expertise, and very optimistic about the future for Kyckr.

Jessica Amir: Benny, what direction do you really hope to take Kyckr in?

Benny Higgins: I think direction of travel for the business is already well established. I think what's happenedto date, over the last few years especially since the IPO, is a great credit to be involved in Kyckr. What I'd like to bring to bear is a bit more discipline about how we do things. We haven't really engaged in a proper marketing effort. I think we can do that. I think we can apply a bit more discipline to customer management. Beyond that, I think we've got to make sure that our investments in technology, in particular, are wise. We've got to be agile, but I'm very pleased with what I inherited at this stage. I just hope that we can continue to improve and develop the business, but because we have a such a good customer proposition that lies at the heart of success.

Jessica Amir: Benny, if you don't mind me asking, I believe that you're going to be based in the UK, as well. Just tell us why that's so instrumental.

Benny Higgins: The logical transition for the business was to have the chairman based in Europe because, albeit the Australian market is important to us and indeed will be a hub for our Asian business, there will be a natural domination of revenue and customer relationships in Europe and the US in terms of what Kyckr is presenting to the banking sector. Therefore, Europe is a more natural home for both the chief executive and the chairman. That's the way we're going to be organized, so it's entirely logical.

Jessica Amir: Benny, why would someone invest in Kyckr?

Benny Higgins: If I was an investor I'd be looking for a company that serves its customers well, and does so in manner that can generate good revenue and commercial value. I think that's what Kyckr does. It's global in its contact with over 200 registries around the world. Unique in having those primary sources of data. It is unique in being as comprehensive as it is in doing that job. It has the capacity that we are serving customers today with, in being perpetual and making sure that information is up to date. That is a very compelling proposition.

Jessica Amir: Benny, what's next for Kyckr over the next year with consideration to risk, and opportunities as well?

Benny Higgins: The opportunity for Kyckr is to establish deeper relationships with customers that we have already got existing relationships with. We'll be looking to develop new ones too, but the really important thing is to stick to serving customers well. If we do that, everything else will take care of itself.

Jessica Amir: Benny Higgins, thank you so much for the update.

Benny Higgins: It's been a pleasure. Thank you.


Ends

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica is a senior finance journalist and presents bulletins including the Market Outlook, Market at Midday and Market Wrap. She also interviews ASX CEOs and leading fund managers. She joined FNN in January 2017 with over six years of broadcast journalism experience including with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business and ABC24. She’s also worked as a TV reporter for Prime 7 and WIN News. Jessica has worked in financial planning for over six years with leading wealth managers and in real estate.