Moving Fintech forward: With FinTech Wales, FIS, Women of Fintech, Prove and Tech Passport
Fintech is at an inflection point amid rumblings that the industry is “losing its luster”. We have seen companies struggling to raise new funds, reports of falling valuations, fire sales, layoffs and hiring freezes. Some fintechs have closed abruptly, while others have said goodbye before they’ve even had a chance to say hello.
Throughout January Fintech Times, we’re asking industry experts to share how we can move “fintech forward” over the next 12 months.
Today we share the views of Sarah Williams Gardener, Silvia Mensdorff-Pouilly, Layla White, Gemma Young and Rodger Desai.
“We must increase investments and develop expertise”
As investment in fintech falls in the UK in 2022, it will be more important to attract investors to “ensure the fintech sector continues to grow”, says Sarah Williams gardenermanaging director i FinTech Wales and a founding member of Starling Bank.
“To ensure that the fintech sector continues to grow, we need to increase investment and develop skills. Funding for fintechs in Wales decreased slightly in 2022 compared to 2021, but we are influencing the change to close the funding gap.
“In addition to experienced entrepreneurs, scaling and established fintechs, we have a committed and active angel network, support from Development Bank of Wales and the recently launched CCR Innovation Fund. FinTech Wales is also working with the City of London to attract new investors to find opportunities in the region.
“We will also continue to influence the skills and talent space to ensure fintech can grow with the employees they need. In the last 12 months alone, members of FinTech Wales are estimated to have created over 1,000 jobs. Skills was a key concern which was traveled in Kalifa reviewand one that FinTech Wales has been addressing for a long time as highlighted in our annual report.
“In Wales we are very proactive in this area; increase the number of technological graduates to create a rich pool of talent, as well as build bridges between academic institutions and industry to provide new opportunities for students and graduates. We also have over 22,000 students engaged in fintech-related studies here in Wales and are home to a number of centers of excellence, including the National Software Academy.
Supporting “the health of the fintech industry itself”
As the economic environment changes, fintech must adapt to support financial health for all, says Silvia Mensdorff-Pouillysenior VP for banking and payments in Europe for FIS.
“In the past decade, we have seen fintech come of age and begin to transform traditional financial services into an industry fit for the future. But we now find ourselves in a very different macroeconomic environment, and fintech has a critical role to play in supporting the financial health of everyone, including businesses, consumers and merchants, as well as ensuring the financial health of the fintech industry itself.
“Finding sustainable and healthy business models, achieving competitive advantage through flexible user-friendly products, and bringing niche and future-ready technology to the mainstream are some of the critical elements to focus on.
“At the same time, we must balance a steady pace with innovative reforms, and embrace comprehensive regulation to redefine traditional methods and encourage meaningful inclusion of all segments of society. We must maintain our drive to reduce complexity and make financial services safe, accessible and efficient in 2023 and beyond.”
Embracing social mobility is key
Gemma Youngfounder of the fintech community Women in FinTech suggests that the cost of living crisis and struggling economy mean that a focus on social mobility is more important than ever.
“Active inclusion of social mobility would really bring fintech forward in 2023. We are facing the cost of living crisis and a slowdown in the economy. We should embrace social mobility to have a workforce that can bring a different background to find solutions to these problems.
“By actionable inclusion, I mean that instead of just talking about the importance of diversity, as so many have done over the years, that each company chose achievable tasks for the coming year that they can act on to create inclusive workplaces so that diversity can thrive .
“This could be as simple as visibility, having diverse and inspiring speakers come to your business and inspire your workforce. Or you could create a role for someone who couldn’t afford university to learn on the job, so you support social mobility.”
Prioritize the consumer experience
Prioritizing the consumer’s experience alongside their security is set to become the most important part of attracting and retaining market share over the next 12 months, suggests Roger Desaico-founder and CEO of Prove.
“Companies that prioritize the digital consumer experience and modernize their acquisition, transaction and engagement journeys while controlling for fraud will gain market share in 2023, as consumers flock to and remain loyal to businesses that respect their time and security.
“In a digital world, phones are by far the most secure, accurate and frictionless way to prove identity, and Prove’s authentication technology will continue to be a key tool in making digital journeys far better.”
Collaboration ‘will drive fintech forward’
Layla Whitefounder and CEO of the onboarding company Technical passportexplains the importance of collaboration for fintech in the coming year.
“Collaboration is what will drive fintech forward in 2023. IBM recently reported that 48 percent of banks had partnered with a fintech in the past three years, while only 12 percent reported increasing competition from fintech, showing that collaboration is taking over from competition in this room.
“Through collaboration, we will see the industry rise from strength to strength as we solve problems together for the good of the whole sector.”