Fintech Future-Disrupt or Be Disrupted
By Dr. Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, Chief Ethics & Innovation Officer GBA
The Global Fintech market size is expected to grow at CAGR of 20% and reach $305B by 2025. The Fintech industry investment portfolio is also showing a growing trend with alternative payment practices being key drivers.
The Fintech ecosystem is highly dynamic and entails key stakeholders such as major consulting firms, large, medium and small enterprises, venture capital firms, third party knowledge providers, investment banks, value added resellers, and investors. Numerous new entrants are entering the Fintech arena and aim to transform or event disrupt the Fintech industry by offering a full gamut of novel lending options, personal finance management, mobile first banking, mobile payments, mobile wallets, digital assets or currencies, MSME services , etc.
Given the highly volatile post-pandemic environment it is now an imperative for legacy organizations to embark on a digital transformation journey and disrupt themselves in order to remain competitive. The rapidly emerging technologies and consumer-centric global economy demand agility and all fintech ecosystem stakeholders will need to embrace a disruptive mindset to survive and thrive.
Legal and regulatory frameworks are not able to keep up with the rapid pace of technological advancements and the interoperability or portability challenges that emerge for multi-national companies with cross-border operations.
Additionally, it has been difficult to harmonize efforts among various markets and industry verticals.
Cybersecurity threats remain the highest risk in this digital economy and require their own set of innovative solutions to reduce cyber-attackes and priavcy breaches.
Novel emerging technologies offer a whole array of solutions that can amplify and accelerate Fintech growth. Examples include Artificial Intelligence, IoT, 5G- and soon 6G-networks, as well as next generation computing such as cloud-, edge- and quantum computing that can completely change the paradigm. Futurists also envision a Fintech Metaverse where augmented or virtual reality can enhance and fully redesign the user experience.
Innovative companies strive to disrupt the finance industry and reshape the global economy by accelerating the transition towards fully digital infrastructure and customer engagement platforms. A recent Fortune report highlighted that financial institutions around the world are encouraged to innovate and shift their services in order to meet the growing demands of digital customers.
The disruptive trends are intriguing and showcase human ingenuity as well as leverage the latest technological developments. They can be categorized in 3 domains: novel service types, novel technologies and novel funding mechanisms.
Novel Service Types
Online digital banking, open banking, autonomous finance, robo-advisory services, mobile wallets and mobile payments are only a few of the service types that are eagerly adopted by Millennials, GenXs, GenZs and Gen Alphas, and are poised to become the predominant offerings in the next decade of the digital era. The Fintech stock offerings also have increased exponentially with investors having a choice between payment processing, online and mobile banking, online and P2P lending, P2P payments, as well as financial softwares or services.
Biometrics powered solutions aim to address the cybersecurity threats and are gaining high traction in the mobile payments and wallets market globally. However, the cost-benefit remains a challenge that will need to be overcome. It is estimated that 80% of smartphones distributed currently include at least one biometrics sensor type. Artificial Intelligence deployment via Robo-Advisors has also been accelerated by the pandemic environment with numerous legacy organizations offering these types of services in addition to a growing number of startups. The main differentiators include: fees, account minimums and maximums, as well as the variety of investing options, educational resources or tools, or customer support. IoT, DLT and digital assets also have the potential to completely change the Fintech paradigm by decentralization and by facilitating a transition towards democratizing the internet. Web 3.0 is seen by many experts as one of the solutions that can address many of the current industry pain-points. 6G-networks will double down on high band spectrum, will operate in terahertz frequency ranges and will deploy ultra-high radio frequencies which can further enhance the efficiency of fintech services.
Fintech investments have remained strong despite the pandemic downturn observed in other industries. Fintech startups have been raising massive amounts of funding by offering new solutions that cover the fintech ecosystem such as enablement of businesses to be able to accept payments at point of sale or on-the-go, or offering new tools and access to digitally enabled financial systems, access to crypto-asset backed loans, building cybersecurity platforms for security ratings, payment infrastructures for global merchants and payment service providers or connected revenue operations platforms.
Digital investing, digital lending, mobile banking and mobile payments are consistently ranked high in many investment portfolios, with Charles Schwab, E-Trade and TD Ameritrade reporting increases ranging from 197%-310% for new digital investing accounts.A recent S&P report also highlighted a pandemic-induced 44% increase in mobile banking among US respondents, whereas Papal, Square Cash App almost doubled their user base during and post-pandemic.
Impact investing has been described as one of the most powerful new trends which includes emerging markets. Increased social awareness and interest in ESG conscious investing have spurred investment in a variety of financial instruments that can facilitate the attainment of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
Furthermore, the Fintech industry can become a major catalyst for impact investing in other industries as well. While converging technologies clearly play a foundational role, we need to pay special attention to digital ethics and apply design thinking methodology in order to build a human-centric Fintech 2.0.