Sophocles Ioannou

Regional Manager, Mediterranean & Levant


Sophocles started his career in 2000 working for Alpha Bank (Cyprus), a subsidiary of Alpha Bank, second largest bank in Greece and one of the largest banking groups in greater Balkan region. He was involved in credit lending sector, as such following the stock market crunch at the Cyprus Stock Exchange, Sophocles was recruited by a financial institution, to liquidate and manage debt portfolio and margin accounts in excess of EUR2mil in an attempt to reduce losses residing from bad securities and unsecured loans.

In 2003, he moved from banking and corporate management into card business, appointed by TSYS (at the time, CTL as it was before the acquisition) as Business Account Manager, responsible for clients in Mediterranean and  Eastern Europe. He was directly involved with clients such as EFG Eurobank, ING Slaski, Marfin Group, all with strong presence in Eastern Europe and Balkans.

Since 2009, Sophocles is appointed Regional Manager for OpenWay Group in the Mediterranean and Levant region where OpenWay clients are migrating from legacy platforms to WAY4, adopting EMV and contactless technologies, and developing innovative self-service solutions.

What you see as key trends in your business?

I see that payment ecosystem may be transforming  into a ‘mobile’ array of products but these cannot work in isolation or in ignorance of traditional payment vehicles. The day-to-day consumer will still need to feel that he / she can still be the master of the game and be in total control of his or hers options. Mobile payments maybe the next ‘in-thing’ but their role in boosting revenue streams or providing new payment options for consumers will only be leveraged if they are sufficiently bundled in an overall payments cycle.

Due to my corporate banking background, I witnessed the rise and collapse of exotic financial products and derivatives that inevitably led to the transformation of the developed banking sector per se. Banks and financial entities having availed (and lost) from aggressive and complex financial strategies are now turning into what one can refer to as traditional retail banking, re-placing their trust into the day-to-day consumer. Mobile and cloud technology will definitely transform the landscape I believe that security for the sake of new trends cannot be compromised. There are opportunities especially in developing markets however, financial entities as well as solution providers cannot ignore the essence of the term secure payment. Otherwise, mobile future will look short-lived with a heavy price to pay for all.

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