Let me start by asking you about your offline banking experience. Long lines for deposits/withdrawals/ Time-consuming loan approvals etc. will come to your mind. It does not sound that great. Obviously who has that amount of time and effort to spend! Now you must have made transactions through your mobile. You must have checked your bank statements online. Isn’t that convenient? A resounding yes. We prefer smarter ways. This is the result of Fintech which stands for Financial Technology. This is all about using technology to design and deliver financial products and services. With constant innovation, we are rapidly getting into the biggest transformation in Financial History, the Fintech revolution. This is already a multi-billion industry and is changing the economies all around the world. It includes a huge range of products, technology, Business models. It refers to everything from a cashless transaction, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding to Robo-advisory, Artificial Intelligence and virtual currencies. Let’s try to visualize what it holds for us in the future and what are the skills required to get into this sector.
Why is Fintech growing?
Few of the reason are: an increased competition to provide smart service, fast adoption of technology by users, lower customer costs, providing services to people who don’t use traditional banking etc. The govt. in India is pushing for a cashless economy and moreover, every industry is looking forward to a presence-less, paper-less and cash-less service delivery. All these factors are going to boost the Fintech industry.
Technology has changed our lives in many ways. WhatsApp, Uber, Zomato, Oyo, Airbnb, Flipkart, and Amazon- they have been able to create an unprecedented customer experience. When it comes to financing, similar customer experience is lagging. Fintech has come up to bridge that gap. We are seeing a lot of e-commerce and social media apps enabling us to pay through their platform only. Eg: Amazon pay, Apple pay, Paytm. In fact, Paytm is allowing users to open bank accounts. People tend to spend a lot of time on these platforms and they trust them as well. It won’t be a surprise if tomorrow a kid will open his first bank account, not in SBI or ICICI but in Paytm or any other Fintech startup. Moreover, the new Fintech startups can pick and choose the parts of Banking. They won’t accept and manage deposits. They are going to control the front end and the customer experience. With Fintech on the rise, there are various skills which will become indispensable. Let’s discuss them.
Opportunities in Fintech:
Machine Learning: It is highly sought after in finance across trading floors and investment banks. Artificial Intelligence is going to be the differentiating factor among industries. Robo-Advisors are already in use for Asset Management Solutions. Robotics and Machine Learning are going to drive automation and the banks are going to need people with expertise in these areas.
Data Analysts: “Financial markets generate a vast quantity of data and many financial institutions lack the tools and expertise to properly aggregate and analyze this,” says Stu Taylor, CEO of bond information Fintech firm Algomi. Analyzing consumer behavior, their investment patterns, choice of investment sectors, calculation of Risk appetite require efficient tools and brains to analyze the data and hence enhancing a trader’s decision-making process.
Cybersecurity expertise: Cyber-threat is a mirror of security gaps. As more and more people participate in day-to-day transactions, more money will be involved. Financial technologies are usually easy targets for plotters and hackers. In India, there are simply not enough cybersecurity specialists.
Communication: Fintech is not only about innovations and technology. Startups need to sell their products to Banks or financial institutes. So they need good managers and customer relationship specialists. These people should be able to clearly explain the key aspects and sell the solution.
Domain Knowledge: Last but not the least. You develop all the technologies, but without the right knowledge, efficient use of the tools is not possible. So it is required to have strong domain knowledge. Along with this, the future employees must learn courses of Fintech. You can’t imagine graduating out of Finance programs without Fintech courses.