Firstly what is Fintech?
FinTech emerged about 15 years ago; the term was initially applied to the technology employed at the back-end systems of financial institutions. However more recently there has been a shift to more consumer-oriented services and therefore a more consumer-oriented definition.
The term now describes a wider variety of financial activities, such as money transfers, smartphone cheque deposits, credit applications without the need of visiting a bank branch, raising money for a business start-up, or managing your investments, generally without the assistance of a person.
Given the strong development of the sector we are, not surprisingly, seeing a growth in recruitment for roles right across the United Kingdom for retail and corporate institutions of all sizes.
FinTech is the future of finance
With the insights that we’ve gained from working in this sector it’s clear to see that the UK has set the global benchmark for innovation in the FinTech sector; early acceptance and integration has shown that the UK financial services sector can thrive in this digital revolution. It also suggests that there is no longer a clear divide between the traditional finance sector and FinTech – the sectors success is intertwined.
A trend of disruptive payments & cryptocurrency
Paper money has slowly been giving way to innovative payment solutions, as digital wallets and contactless payment have become the norm.
2019 saw the rapid growth of cryptocurrency, as it was the main driver for changes in the token and payment systems. The EU Payment Service Directive adopted in 2015 has allowed companies to use outside payment services providers as an alternative to bank institutions.
Our view is that we should expect further innovation and growth in this sector into 2020 and well beyond as more companies and individuals come onboard.
Millennials have adopted the concept of virtual currencies and represent a large percentage of cryptocurrency owners; there is also more willingness of young people to support forward-looking startups and ICOs.
The UK, however, still falls slightly behind on numbers of consumers who own cryptocurrency, a survey in 2018 undertaken by ING on mobile banking*1 showed that only 6% of responders in the UK owned Bitcoin or similar digital currency. This was against 8% in the USA, 10% in Spain and 18% in Turkey.
The crypto market is growing rapidly, driven in part by the phenomenon of crowdfunding, and is likely to change the shape of the FinTech industry further over the next couple of years.
Total Automation? Our opinion
We fully expect to see a further growth in the complete automation of key financial processes. Intelligent automation has come about from a combination of continuous innovation in artificial intelligence, robotics and financial business process automation.
A Capgemini survey*2 shows that the implementation of automated elements into the financial ecosystem brings many benefits including higher returns, additional cross selling opportunities, faster product delivery, increased customer satisfaction and stronger financial health.
The survey shows that some Insurance companies, and Retail and Commercial banks have seen customer satisfaction growth of over 65% since the implementation of intelligent automation.
However, despite the obvious advantages, only a small number of FinTech companies have actually started to deploy automation in their activity primarily due to the lack of FinTech specialist and resources to deploy the automation.
Any new wave in finance technology trends is often based on smart collaborations. Rather than competing for clients, traditional banks and FinTech startups are now working in partnership.
In 2017, a Canadian bank used a blockchain technology in partnership with Ripple and ReiseBank AG to make a large international payment; the payment transaction that would have previously taken several business days was completed in a few seconds.
New partnership relationships between the traditional and FinTech sector are starting to bring amazing results through delivering optimal customer experience, challenge solution and enhanced security through biometric technologies and blockchain technology.
Although many of these trends are early stage, we believe it will change the shape of the industry soon. Businesses should be considering how to change your strategy to the new moves in the industry to alter your business pattern to meet the constant changes of the digital world we live in now; this can only be achieved by ensuring the level of expertise your team have complies with todays demands.
*1 Source: ING International Survey Mobile Banking. The question was phrased to 1000 responders in each country as follows “I own some cryptocurrency” with answers “Yes” or “No.
*2 Source: Capgemini Research Institute – Automation in Financial Services survey
Firstly what is Fintech?