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AI in Financial Services: Unleashing the Potential


Why Attend?

“The future of financial services lies in its ability to fully benefit from new technologies. Nothing less than a collaborative effort will unlock AI’s benefits for the best interests of business and society.” Deloitte
The banking industry is expected to be the second biggest spender on AI systems this year, behind retail, according to market-research firm International Data Corp (IDC).

Speakers at Barcelona


Elena Alfaro

Elena Alfaro is the Global Head of Data & Open Innovation in Client Solutions BBVA, which functions include the generation of machine learning algorithms that constitute the intelligence behind BBVA’s digital products, as well as the transformation of BBVA’s skills and culture into a data-driven organization. She also leads the Group´s efforts to make the most of Open Innovation, both for the Bank and for our partners in the external ecosystem. Before that, Elena was the CEO of BBVA Data & Analytics, the Group’s Center for Excellence in Data Science and Advanced Analytics, position that she held during 3 years. Before joining BBVA, Elena worked at Ericsson, playing an important role in telecommunications development in EMEA and LATAM, and broadening afterwards her experience as an expert in innovation. Regarding her background: Elena has a BA in Economics & Business Administration by the Universities of Sunderland (UK) and Universidad Autónoma (Madrid), and a Master in Intangibles Analysis and Management. She has taken part in the program “40-under-40 Young European Leaders” in 2013 edition, and is currently BBVA Strategy Officer at the Word Economic Forum.

Esade Business School

Luis Vives

Professor Luis Vives is the Deputy Dean for Programmes and Associate Professor of General Management and Strategy at ESADE Business School. He joined ESADE in 2006 and has held various positions of responsibility within ESADE. Professor Vives academic credentials include: Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sloan School
of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), PhD at IESE Business School, Bachelor in Business Administration, Bachelor in Piano Performance and Music Theory. He has been a visiting professor at different Universities in Europe and Latin America.

As a lecturer and consultant, Professor Vives has worked with multinational companies in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East across different sectors: banking and insurance, telecommunications, wines and spirits, pharmaceuticals, creative industries, logistics and industrial groups, working for companies and organizations such as Bayer, IKEA, Samsung, Stora Enso, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Sberbank, Mobily, Mapfre, Repsol, Telekom Austria Group, among others.

His research focuses on the creation and development of innovative business models. His work has appeared in: Sloan Management Review, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Long Range Planning, Advances in International Management, Advances in Strategic Management, Academy of Management Perspectives, as well as in several books on international business. Professor Vives advises companies in different industries and sits in different boards.

Minna Technologies

Joakim Sjöblom

Joakim, CEO of Minna Technologies has founded three companies over the last 10 years and spent the latest 6 years within Fintech. As a founder of Minna Technologies, Joakim conducted partnerships with leading retail banks and navigated 3rd party FinTech integrations. Minna enables new customer value to retail banks and their digital banking experience.

The core products are related to subscription management, enabling the end-user of the bank to save time and save money, straight from the mobile bank. The platform has performed more than 150 000 successful cancellations and improvements of subscriptions, equals savings of more than 30.000.000 Euro.
Enabled by Open Banking and designed to be integrated inside retail banks, Minna is currently working on 7 different markets with partners such as Swedbank, Danske Bank, OP Bank and ING.

See Joakim’s LinkedIn profile–>


Kim Dressendoerfer

Kim Dressendoerfer is an AI and Data Expert and Cognitive Solution Architect for IBM Germany. She is responsible for cross-industry clients and is focussing specifically on process optimization and developing of machine learning algorithm with a focus on complex client scenarios. During her studies in Business Computing she started developing her own cognitive search engines which brought her to IBM Watson and where she continued building her assets. Kim Dressendoerfer is also developing her own IoT devices and has multiple patents in the sensor area.

University of Barcelona

Oriol Pujol

Oriol Pujol Vila is tenured associate professor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the department of Matemàtiques i Informàtica at Universitat de Barcelona. He obtained the degree in Telecomunications Engineering from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). He joined the Computer Vision Center and the Computer Science Department at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). In 2004 he received the Ph.D. in Computer Science at the UAB with a work in deformable models, fusion of supervised and unsupervised learning and intravascular ultrasound medical image analysis. In 2005 he joined the Dept. of Matemàtica Aplicada i Anàlisi at Universitat de Barcelona (UB) where he became tenured associate professor. He has published more than one hundred and fifty articles in machine learning, computer vision, and their applications. He has more than eighteen years in knowledge transference in data analysis projects is fields such as finance, health, marketing, wearable sensors, among others. His current research interests involve the study of methods and techniques for machine learning algorithm accountability and risks mitigation, uncertainty evaluation of machine learning models, and prescriptive analytics using causal and counterfactual methods. He served as director of Computer Science undergraduate studies, director of the postgraduate courses on Data Science and Big Data, and director of the official master’s program in Fundamental Principles of Data Science. He is currently vice-president for Digital Transformation at the University of Barcelona.


Erik Brieva

Award-winning entrepreneur and strategist, with extensive experience driving companies to successfully achieve innovation, revenue and business growth. Named among the top 50 Most Admired CEOs (The Technology Headlines, USA, 2019), top 100 Leaders of the Future (Capital Magazine, Spain, 2009), and Entrepreneur of the Year (Entrepreneurs Magazine, Spain, 2006) among other recognitions.

CEO at Strands Inc. boosting its international expansion and strengthening its position as global FinTech leader, by empowering 650 banks worldwide with Artificial Intelligence. Previously, founded Polymita Technologies (acquired by Red Hat) pioneering the Business Process Management (BPM) software industry, recognized as a Visionary by Gartner (Magic Quadrant 2009 & 2010) and Major Player by IDC (MarketScape 2011). Co-founder of multiple companies within enterprise software, mobile and Internet businesses, including Intelligent Software Components – iSOCO (acquired by Santander) and Enzyme Advising Group (acquired by Nexe Group).

Founder of Bcombinator (, helping startups to scale up through incubation, acceleration, education, mentoring, advisory and fundraising. Raised €30M among all portfolio companies.

Board Member and President of the Entrepreneurship Commission 22@Barcelona, Member of the CEO Collaborative Forum and Member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). Academic Director and Professor at Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Lean Startups and Leadership.


Romana Sachova

Romana is Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) using Big Data Technology for implementation of security controls at CaixaBank. We are working on implementation of ML models to prevent fraud and using advanced analytics to profile users of our information systems. We have spent the past 6 years creating smart applications that help in transformation and automatization of security controls.

Actually she works on automatization of PSD2 fraud report and implementation of security requirements for Strong Customer Authentication.

Romana is a Start4Big judge looking for new star-ups for financial services and participates in the definition of H2020 projects use cases (EU-SEC, I-BiDaaS, Concordia).

University of Zaragoza

Jesús Gómez Gardenes

Jesús Gómez-Gardeñes received the degree in Physics from the University of Zaragoza, Spain, in the year 2002, and a Ph.D. in Science (Physics) from the same University in 2006 that was awarded with “Premio Extraordinario”. After a two-years postdoctoral period at the Scuola Superiore di Catania (Italy) and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona) as a “Juan de la Cierva” researcher, he joined, in October 2008, the Applied Mathematics Department of the University Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid) as an Assistant Professor where he combined teaching and research duties until the end of the year 2010. In January 2011 he joined the University of Zaragoza as “Ramón y Cajal” senior researcher where, since January 2019, he is Associate Professor (Profesor Titular).

In 2018 Dr. Gómez-Gardeñes founded the Group of Theoretical & Applied Modeling (GOTHAM) at the Institute for Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems (BIFI). The main research fields of his group are statistical physics, nonlinear dynamics and the theory of complex networks. Within these disciplines he has mainly focused in the study of the emergence of collective phenomena (such as epidemics, crisis, consensus, etc) out of the structure of interactions between the elements composing sociotechnological systems. Along these lines he has coauthored more than 100 scientific papers in international refereed (JCR) journals, including Nature Physics, PNAS, Physical Review Letters (8), Physics Reports, Science Advances (2), Nature Human Behavior among others, accumulating more than 10K citations according to Google Scholar. For his works, he was recognized by the Royal Physical Society of Spain with the prize Best Young (under 35) Researcher in Theoretical Physics. Besides, Dr. Gómez-Gardeñes has supervised 10 Master Thesis and 4 Ph.D. Thesis.

Amir Tabakovic

Amir is a strategist, innovator and investor in Machine Learning.

Amir has spent the past fifteen years pushing the boundaries of digital financial services and technology. Previously he served as VP, Business Development at the machine learning pioneer BigML, where he was responsible for driving business growth and identifying development requirements for the firm’s machine learning platform offering.

See Amir’s LinkedIn profile here->

Bellrock Technology Limited

Douglas Kinloch

A commercially focused senior Business Development & Marketing executive, now helping to drive the deployment of usable Advanced Analytics, and AI through new platforms and Technolgy that is a force multiplier for any data science
 team. I’m not interested in the the hype but in helping corporations to truly realise the value in their data – and make better decisions, faster. Also an early protagonist in developing and marketing the solutions to make the new Financial Order of Open Banking Actually work; truly Secure Apps, Strong Authentication of Users & TPPs and truly universal Mobile Payment solutions of Issues and Acquirers alike.


Dr. Michel Neuhaus

Dr. Michel Neuhaus is an advocate for creating business insights through the use of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence at UBS Switzerland. He’s focused on providing clients with a compelling digital banking experience and advancing the bank’s strategic analytical capabilities to improve banking services and support client advisory. Michel holds a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence.

The Retail Bankers

Ramiro Sánchez-Crespo

Ramiro has 20y experience in the retail banking industry, creating value through digitalization in market-leading listed companies, like Caixabank or Cardtronics.

He believes in the power of technology to improve people’s lives, and in order to achieve this he builds teams that drive innovation, change & growth.

In his 15 years at CaixaBank Ramiro took part in the transformation from a local savings bank into Spain’s largest and a true digital powerhouse. His team developed some world-first innovations that were instrumental in many accolades (Euromoney 2012 & 13, BAI-Finacle 2011 & 13, The Private Banker 2012, ATMIA 2012), and helped integrate 7 acquired banks.

As Managing Director of Spain, he has led the rapid introduction and 5x growth of Cardtronics into the Spanish market, becoming the fastest growing ATM network in the country.

In his new role as CEO & Founder of The Retail Bankers, the Fintech venture-builder from Barcelona, he is trying to bridge the gap between the physical and the digital in banking.

Expert in corporate entrepreneurship, digital and new ventures.

OP Financial Services

Antti Myllymäki

Antti Myllymäki is Head of Artificial Intelligence at OP Financial Group. Antti’s Center of Excellence makes machine learning and advanced analytics happen at OP. We work with all business lines developing AI systems to usecases covering financial services, insurance and wealth management.

Antti has been working with information management and advanced analytics since late 90’s. While working at e.g. Deloitte and Eficode he’s been involved in a wide range of improvement initiatives covering strategy, opportunity assessment, process re-engineering, operating model and technology implementation across industries e.g. financial services, gaming as well as high tech manufacturing.

Barcelona Supercomputing Centre

Ulises Cortés

Ulises Cortés is a Full-Professor and Researcher of the Universitat Polt ecnica de Catalunya (UPC). He got his PhD in 1984 (Facultat d’Informàtica de Barcelona, UPC). Tenured since 1988 and habilitated as Full-Professor since 2006. His current focus is on several areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Computer Science Department (formerly Software Department) including knowledge acquisition for and concept formation in knowledge-based systems, as well as on machine learning; fuzzy sets; and in autonomous intelligent agents. Since 2017 he is the Research Manager of the High Performace Artificial Intelligence group at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center . Many of his contributions have been applied in real-life scenarios and industry.


Carlos Mérida

Carlos is a Computer Scientist, and PhD in Artificial Intelligence by the Technical University of Catalonia. He spent several years in the research area designing and delivering AI projects. Carlos participated as part of the founding team of the company 3scale that is nowadays part of the RedHat Suite for managing APIs. Carlos has held a managerial role in the creation of the Pan-European High Performance Computing Infrastructure PRACE. Working for Accenture, Carlos has focused in the Financial Sector area driving the Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence portfolio in Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Israel.

As part of his role in Accenture, Carlos works for consolidating the knowledge and experiences across the different areas and regions in Accenture. He manages a tailored Artificial Intelligence offering suited to the specific needs of the Spanish financial institutions.

Esade Business School

Esteve Almirall

Esteve Almirall is the Director for the IIK – Centre of Innovation in Cities.

Esteve serves as Associate Professor (Profesor Titular) in the Department of Operations, Innovation and Data Science and visiting professor @EPFL. Previously has been teaching in UPC, UPF and lecturing in several Universities around the world. He teaches Innovation (particularly Open Innovation with a focus on tech and Cities), A.I. (particularly Machine Learning) and the intersection between both in areas such as platforms, innovation sprints, agile methodologies or the Digital & Analytical Transformation.

Esteve is passionate about the intersection between technology and innovation and how IT is changing the way we innovate and the public policies needed to support it. He is very active in fields such as Smart Cities, Innovation Ecosystems, Innovation in the Public Sector or User Innovation. He has coordinated several large EU competitive projects and participated in more than ten of them as main researcher.

Esteve is a well-known speaker in fields such as Open Innovation in the Public Sector, Smart Cities or Living Labs in Europe, the US and Asia. He also serves as a World Bank consultant and former Council member of the ENoLL (European Network of Living Labs), a former member of the OIPSG (Open Innovation Policy and Strategy Group) of the European Commission and served as an expert for several organizations, cities and the European Commission.

Esteve has more than 30 publications in journals and conference proceedings, including top level journals such as AMR or MISQ and well-known magazines like HBR (Harvard Business Review) or CMR, also advised several PhD and Master thesis.

Osborne Clarke LLP

John Buyers

John Buyers is an information technology specialist with over 25 years’ experience of large scale domestic and international transactions in the Financial Services sector. He has extensive experience of PPI (payment protection insurance) and IRD (interest rate derivative) remediation outsourcing as well as a number of significant outsourcings in the Insurance and regulated professional services sector.

John manages the UK commercial team at Osborne Clarke LLP, an international law firm, and is also the author of “Artificial Intelligence: The Practical Legal Issues” a book designed for lawyers in the AI/ML space.

He is an advisory board member of the UK APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) on AI – a joint committee of the House of Commons and House of Lords, chairs the International Technology Law Association’s Responsible AI committee, and co-chairs the Digital Transformation committee of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR).

He is a regular speaker and writer on the topics of AI and ML.

Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Alex Arenas

Prof. Alex Arenas (Barcelona, 1969) got his PhD in Physics in 1996. In 1995, he got a tenure position at Dept. Computer Science and Mathematics (DEIM) at Universitat Rovira i Virgili, and in 1997 he became associate professor at the same department. In 2000, he was visiting scholar at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab. (LBL) in the Applied Mathematics group of Prof. Alexandre Chorin (University of California, Berkeley). After this visit, he started a collaboration with Berkeley, and in 2007 he became visiting researcher of LBL. Arenas has written more than 190 interdisciplinary publications in major peer reviewed including Nature, Nature Physics, PNAS, Physics Reports and Physical Review Letters, which have received more than 20000 citations. He is one of the few Europeans serving as Associate Editors of the most important publication in physics worldwide, the American Physical Society journal, Physical Review. He is in charge of the Complex Networks and Interdisciplinary Physics section of Physical Review E. He got the James Mc Donnell Foundation award for the study of complex systems in 2011. He was also recognized as ICREA Academia-Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, a catalan award that promotes the most recognized scientists from Catalonia in 2011 and 2017. He serve as Editor in Journal of Complex Networks, and in Network Neuroscience. He was elected for the Steering Committee of the Complex Systems Society in 2012. He is external faculty of the Complexity Hub Science in Vienna from 2017. He is the leader of the research group ALEPHSYS.

ESADE university

Luis Rodriguez


Jordi Guaus

Jordi Guaus is a Telecom Engineer from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and also holds a degree in Business Administration from the Open University of Catalonia.

He joined CaixaBank in the year 2000, having worked at Vodafone for 5 years as the in-charge of Corporate Market Services Development, prior to that. At CaixaBank, a leading retail bank in Spain, Jordi has worked in Mobile Financial Services, developing services including the first Mobile Internet Banking.

While working as the Head of Mobile Payments, Jordi leaded the NFC & Remote Payments related initiative at CaixaBank. Where, he was focus on Mobile Payments in collaboration with the Cards Unit of CaixaBank. Moreover, he was the Project Manager of the mobile NFC pilot in Sitges, Spain (“Mobile Shopping Sitges 2010”), the first NFC payment trial in Spain. Later, he worked in the deployment of CaixaBank’s mobile payment services.

In 2014 Jordi joined the CaixaBank’s Marketing Department as a Digital Marketing Director to give transversal support to all marketing team and to focus on innovative projects. Some of the more relevant projects managed by Jordi during this period are the launch of imaginBank, first mobile only bank in Spain, the creation of the Payment Innovation Hub together with Samsung, Visa, Arval and Global Payments, and the opening of the imaginCafe, a physical place for the millennials.

In addition, from 2008 to 2015, Jordi was member of the Mobile Channel Working Group of the European Payments Council (EPC) working on establishing the necessary standards and business rules related to the initiation and receipt of credit transfer, direct debit and card payments through mobile devices under SEPA (Single European Payment Area).

Jordi also joined the Mobey Forum’s Board of Directors in the year 2009, and he was appointed as Chairman of the Board in 2013 leading the association since them. Mobey Forum is a non-profit making, global, financial industry-driven forum, with a clear mission to encourage the use of digital/mobile technology in financial services. Furthermore, Jordi has also been coleading several expert groups within Mobey, as for example the last one, the Open Banking Expert Group, and he has participated in the publishing of several white papers as a result of that.


David Almendros

David Almendros is the Director of Artificial Intelligence at CaixaBank, a leading financial institution in the implementation of this technology. In 2017, CaixaBank created the Cognitive Computing department, led by David Almendros, with the objective to spread artificial intelligence technologies to the different areas of the bank. Currently CaixaBank has 7 virtual assistants in production that answer more than 1 million questions each month, making them one of the most frequently used financial assistants worldwide.

Prior to his current position, David Almendros was the Director of Digital Innovation. Under his leadership, CaixaBank was the first company in the world to implement an assistant using IBM Watson in Spanish (2015). A passionate advocate of innovation, he introduced other technologies to the company such as blockchain, natural language processing and social networks (2011).

David Almendros has an academic background in technology and finance. He has three engineering degrees (telecommunications, electronics and computer science), and an MBA from the ESADE Business School.


Álvaro Gaviño González

Álvaro is Behavioral Economics Global Leader at BBVA. He holds a degree in Computer Science with a major in Artificial Intelligence. Professor at ISDI for the Master in Internet Business. Deputy Director of the Behavioral Economics Observatory of the Madrid College of Economists.

He has developed his career for more than 16 years in different positions at BBVA. He began his development as a programmer for the Corporate & Investment Banking area. In 2012, during the banking liquidity crisis, he held a quantitative analysis function for liquidity management in the trading floor, being promoted soon as responsible for the Short Term Fixed Income Desk for Spain. Among his current responsibilities in Behavioral Economics are the promotion of projects under BBVA’s own methodology, the generation of an internal global talent network for the dissemination of this science and the lead of an artificial intelligence project leveraging cognitive mechanism to improve the bank’s communications with its clients and prospects. Outside BBVA he has undertaken several entrepreneurial projects (payment methods, 3D printing, fashion distribution, and social networks).


Expert Group Day, 27 November will take place at

mVenturesBcn Barcelona

Address: Pl. Pau Vila, 1 Sector C 2nd floor, 08039 Barcelona

Member meeting, 28-29 November will take place at

ESADE Pedralbes Campus Barcelona

Address: Av. de Pedralbes, 60-62, 08034 Barcelona

Recommended Hotels

Hotel AC Victoria Suites

C/ Beltrán i Ròzpide, 7-9 · 08034 Barcelona

Walking distance from the Venue

Hotel Upper Diagonal

Passeig Manuel Girona, 7-21 08034, Barcelona

Hotel Sofia Barcelona

Placa De Pius XII, 4, 08028 Barcelona

Hotel Hilton Barcelona

Avenida Diagonal 589-591, 08014 Barcelona

Hotel Sansi Pedralbes

Av. Pearson 1-3, 08034 Barcelona

Hotel Catalonia Rigoletto

Sabino de Arana, 22–24, 08028, Barcelona

Hotel Pedralbes

Fontcoberta 4, 08034, Barcelona

Hotel Bonanova Park

Calle Capità Arenas, 51 08034 Barcelona

Hotel Eurostars Anglí

D’ Anglí, 60, 08017, Barcelona

Hotel Catalonia Mikado

Pg. de la Bonanova, 58, 08017, Barcelona

Hosted By

Mobey Forum is the global industry association empowering banks and other financial institutions to shape the future of digital financial services.

Mobey Forum connects industry thought leaders to identify commercial drivers for the development of better digital commerce. Mobey Forum’s members collaborate to analyse business strategies and technologies to create innovative, interoperable and competitive digital financial services.

Experts in Big Data, AI and Machine Learning since 2004, STRANDS creates highly-customizable digital money management software for top-tier financial institutions worldwide, and empowers people to be smarter with their money.

Strands solutions empower people to better manage their financial and consumption life, and take decisions in a smarter, more transparent and independent way.

ESADE is a global academic institution known for the quality of its education, its international outlook and its clear focus on holistic personal development.

With strong ties to the business world, ESADE stands out for its innovation and contribution to social transformation. People are ESADE’s greatest asset: faculty, professionals, and more than 60,000 alumni all over the world.