By now most of us have heard of fintech, a byname of “financial technology”, which refers to the use of digital technologies to provide and automate banking and other financial services.
Consider the many ways you can now perform transactions or access financial services through digital platforms, and you’ll see that fintech startups are disrupting the traditional banking and financial service sector.
Control of our finances was once centralised, belonging solely to big banks – fintech has scattered that control. Fintech products are by far more straightforward and easier to navigate than traditional banking, and remove the need to go into a bank and deal with corporate bureaucracy – a huge part of its attractiveness. Financial services once reserved for those with IDs and traditional bank accounts are now accessible to those without – and with 1.7 billion unbanked adults in the world, that’s a significant development. Fintech encompasses products like digital banking, digital wallets, payment gateways, peer-to-peer lending, alternative insurance underwriting technologies, and much more, reaching into every corner of the finance service sector.
While fintech is not projected to completely replace traditional banking, it is nevertheless reshaping everything from the way we do banking and handle our finances to the business environment, world economy and the very framework of society, as fintech allows a way for many out of problems as big as poverty. It’s also transforming jobs in Finance and even how Finance courses are taught. Traditional financial managers may not be replaced, but skills in fintech will become increasingly in demand in the Finance sector as fintech continues to disrupt it. Jobs in Finance will increasingly include those in:
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- Data Analysis, data science, and data visualisation
- Cyber Security
- Software development
- Quantitative Analysis
- Business and Financial Analysis
- Product Managers
- Compliance Experts
- UI Design
- This is to name but a few.
Henri Arslanian, an Adjunct Associate Professor who currently heads Asia’s first-ever Fintech course, in Hong Kong, predicted in 2016 that the rise of fintech means that a large number of banking jobs will disappear, having dire consequences on economic centres, and that fintech jobs will be created, however, these won’t be enough to replace the lost number of banking jobs. He stressed therefore that programmes and degrees in Finance will need to adapt to the fintech landscape and include modules and courses on fintech, coding, product development, and design thinking, as well as the usual courses like Economics and Corporate Finance. He posed that traditional bankers will no longer lead the way in Finance; instead, creative thinkers, designers, and tech-savvy programmers will lead the way in fintech-led Finance.
Banks can only respond to these changes by adapting their own products and services to become a part of the digital realm, and by making them more accessible, AI-controlled, and user-friendly.