The financial industry is arguably one of the more evolved industries when it comes to adoption of technology. This is due to the ease with which technology helps deliver new and complex financial products in a simplified form. Popularly known as ‘FinTech’, the phenomenon of integrating technology with finance has seen rapid and intuitive adoption. Historically the financial services industry, known for its sensitive nature, had to include manual safety measures to secure customer data. This was not only a laborious task but also meant tedious documentation and increased processing time for clients and customers. Formalities like ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) documents, credit checks and financial history had to be cross-referenced manually which acted as a deterrent in consumer adoption.
FinTech has essentially addressed these issues by streamlining and automating data collection. Digital records of all the documents have also resulted in easy adherence to compliance which eventually results in reduced processing time in the backend. The front end of the business has also seen a significant change. User experience has taken priority with the evolution of UI and UX technologies. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) has been making inroads. By leveraging the power of cloud computing and interconnected devices, AI is enabling financial firms to provide a tailored experience to the end customer. With robust learning algorithms, it has become easier for these firms to collect data and turn it into meaningful information.
With all this technology coming into play, one would think that finance professionals could soon be replaced by technology? However, that is far from being the case. On the contrary, Fintech has unlocked a whole new gamut of opportunities for finance professionals. Organisations are now seeking seasoned professionals who come with transferrable knowledge and can assist in the transition from a traditional platform to its technology-driven version. In the capital markets, for instance, there is a huge demand for high-frequency traders who harness the potential of data-driven high-frequency, low-latency technology to their benefit. Using technology to fine-tune financial modelling is yet another case where organisations are looking for talent with a good understanding of programming languages.
A larger scenario is where fintech firms are looking at seasoned finance professionals in an advisory capacity. With technology giving valuable insights into consumer preference and consumption patterns, financial firms are on a constant lookout for people to leverage available information and come up with new age products and services that are tailored to the exact needs of the customer.
Impact on the job market
Hong Kong and Singapore have grown to become the financial hubs of the east. With evolved tech and financial markets in countries of this region, there is an increased requirement for roles like Financial Analyst’s, Compliance Experts, and Quantitative Professionals. These roles work in unison with tech teams to create the right technology that assists in streamlining operations of a financial services firm. Due to the niche nature of these roles, organisations are open to relocate candidates and even offer them visa sponsorships if they are the right fit. We are also seeing several Senior roles like Head of Finance and Operations where they are looking for finance professionals that are keen to explore and support their initiatives and provide their subject matter expertise to the organisation.
We are also witnessing an increased number of tie-ups between FinTech companies and financial services firms. This kind of merger creates a symbiotic relationship where traditional financial services firms bring their finance experience and customer base to the table and the Fintech firms get their technical know-how to automate processes.
It is evident that in this customer-centric market, technology is adapting to the needs of the end-user. Users are showing an increased propensity to try out newer, more efficient solutions and are more receptive to change. This has called for the need for continual development in the FinTech space, giving rise to exciting opportunities for FinTech and financial services professionals to work on challenging greenfield projects and industry-changing technology.