Interview with Mark Evans, Editorial Director, FStech Awards

Now in its 18th year of running, the FStech Awards acknowledge and reward organisations and individuals who are leading the way in technology developments and deployments in every corner of the industry. 

We caught up with the editorial director, Mark Evans, the founding editor and publisher of FStech to get the inside scoop on decision making, and what makes a fantastic candidate for the awards.

First of all, can you tell us a little bit about the FStech Awards and when it started?

The FStech Awards recognise excellence and innovation in the field of information technology within the UK and EMEA financial services sector. Our categories see winning entries come from both financial institutions and suppliers who are leading the way in technology developments and deployments in every corner of the industry. FStech was established as a publication back in 1995, with myself as founding editor, so I was proud to also lead the formation of the FStech Awards in 2001, meaning the event is now in its 18th year.

I was proud to also lead the formation of the FStech Awards in 2001, meaning the event is now in its 18th year.

What does it take for the awards ceremony to be a successful night?

Probably a combination of elements! A charismatic host, a stunning venue, excellent food and drink, and a fun after party all contribute to a great night. Of course, having a fantastic group of finalists and guests, as well as a dedicated team working behind the scenes to ensure a smooth-running evening, are all part of a successful awards ceremony.

How do you decide on the categories and do you see this expanding over time as FinTech gets more mature and full of sub-disciplines?

It’s a very dynamic time in the financial technology sector right now, and every year we assess our categories to make sure that they continue to reflect all the relevant aspects of the industry. This usually means that some new categories are introduced to take into account how the sector is evolving, and as different FinTech sub-disciplines mature this will inevitably be echoed in our awards categories in future years. It also means that naturally, some of the longer standing categories will eventually disappear from the roster – when the FStech Awards first started nearly two decades ago we had a big focus on printing and cabling!


25% of submissions make the shortlist

How are the winners of each category decided?

As the FStech Awards are so well established, we receive many hundreds of entries each year. These are firstly whittled down to a shortlist – and it is a notable achievement for entries to get this stage, given that in some of our most popular categories less than one-quarter of submissions make it onto the final shortlist. Our panel of judges then evaluate and score the finalists’ entries, and discuss their assessments at a judging day in order to decide the final winners.

Can you tell us a little bit about the “Judges Award for Promoting Innovation in the Sector” as there is no shortlist?

If the judges believe there is an entry that stands apart for its excellence, innovation or contribution to the sector then they can honour it with this award. The entry may be a winner in a particular category already, or it might be one that did not quite fit the criteria of a category, yet the judges feel deserved recognition. The award might also be given to an organisation that has presented several entries, and together, the judges feel that the body of work is substantial. This award is not always given every year.

Can you name any examples of award winners from earlier events that went on to achieve great things?

There are too many projects and people to list after nearly two decades; but one way to view this is that the awards have recognised and supported green IT, security, digital innovation, challenger banks, social media and blockchain as areas of growth, and these are topics we are proud to have highlighted.

We noticed that this year’s event has a new category, the Social Responsibility Award, could you tell us about that and why you decided to introduce this category?

This is very simple – every company in every sector of business needs to be thinking about the impact they are having, both on the physical and social environment around them. Companies do not stand in isolation to the world, and finance, in particular, has to recognise its responsibilities and show that it can help build a better society

Every company in every sector of business needs to be thinking about the impact they are having

About Mark Evans

Mark Evans is the founding editor and publisher of FStech, and has been involved with and writing about technology-related sectors since the dawn of the internet. As a journalist, he has written across several industries and is a regular contributor to the technology titles in Perspective Publishing’s portfolio. He is also one of the founders of the FStech Awards, which have been recognising excellence and innovation across the financial technology sector for nearly 20 years. In addition, Mark holds an MBA from Henley alongside two other degrees, and also has a fondness for classic British sports cars.