Drivers for Growth? People, Technology and Regulations- a collaborative approach
Driven by digitalisation, fintech is one of the most important innovations embedded in everyday transactions, supported by emerging technologies including automation, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, smart contracts, and machine learning.
While fintechs are here to stay, the image of the future is a little uncertain. Challenges such as the modernisation of financial architecture and changing consumer perceptions, the disruption of existing service models, incumbent employers and regulatory frameworks posing double edge implications for the overall ecosystem, and to access human capital, a discussion initiated by the University of Dundee Business School inviting FinTechs, regulators and Academics.
Regulators’ concerns have become increasingly complex because of technological integration and at times, fintechs exist in an environment with limited guidance. This challenge is underscored by regulatory regimes that multiply across countries, states, and even regions, a point emphasised by Professor Hisham, Birmingham University Business School, added how the terms around fintechs are not comprehensive or standardised, which needs to be addressed in order to enable the ecosystem to grow.
Quicker responses from financial markets are crucial in terms of developing new instruments to battle the challenges about security and reliability of data and in terms of developing the regulatory framework, fostering relational and behavioral trust with consumers.
We must understand that regulations can be a barrier too, another point emphasised by industry experts, emphasising the need for a more balanced approach that allows flexibility and innovations. Najia ( Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan) shared a regulatory perspective by adding that attitudes are shifting as a result of regulatory sandbox initiatives, providing a safe environment for early-stage development for fintech start-ups to test their innovations without the need for full license, thereby, playing another critical role in the development of fintech, ultimately breaking down the current regionalism of the sectors.
Nonetheless, different countries are at different stages of fintechs growth, for developing countries like Pakistan, a bigger issue is contract enforceability, suggesting that the biggest challenges are from the other side of the table, hence being mindful of the fact of how the investors are and can be protected. This signifies the emergence of new developments and technological innovations that can help to develop a global friendly fintech ecosystem, breaking down the current regionalism of the sector.
“….Fintech innovations will only become more pervasive in everyday transactions as their adoption increases and more inclusive and open regulatory frameworks allow them to grow.” [Stephen Ingledew, CEO at FinTech Scotland]
Opportunities abound for fintechs to engage in dialogue with regulators and raise awareness of rapidly emerging technologies and consequences they may have for market integrity, stability, and sustainability. Knowledge shared between regulators and fintech companies can enhance regulators’ awareness of consumer habits, behaviours and desires.
The technology supports the human understanding, where the growth opportunities are, but it will never replace a human in making those decisions, a point emphasised by Clive representing ACCA and Morris, Dean of Dundee Business School, adding that Digital transformation requires a transformation of people, technology, and processes, with people being the most important factor.
The key challenge organisations are facing globally, is the right talent. Despite searching for it, businesses are not getting the right people to assist them in this particular transformation. You can't really have one without the other, Marijus (NCR) and James (Zudu), Tayseer (SadaPay) and Hazel (Candocollective) continuing the debate, suggested that people are extremely important, especially development of human capital, we need to put more emphasis on people’s learning, not only in their own skill set and knowledge, and also for their cross-functional flexibility.
After all, everything connects and technology, human capital, and businesses are dependent on each other now maybe more than ever before. The importance of educators was emphasised by most participants in reducing the gap between the needs of FinTechs and the offer of the current human capital market.
Overall, the promises offered by fintech certainly far outweigh the risks, at least in the medium to long term! However, we need to act now and get the regulatory environment and the human capital market “fintech ready”.
University of Dundee Business School ; SadaPay; Sehatkahani; Fintechscotland; Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan; Candocollective; Birmingham University Business School; Zudu; NCR; ACCA; Tez Financial Services