Thursday, January 08, 2015

Fintech disruptors to keep an eye on in 2015

With a prosperous 2015 in mind, we are taking a close look at fintech (Financial Technologies) so that we can help you to properly evaluate potential high growth investments you might want to consider for your portfolio this year.

Fact is, we have seen trends during 2014 regarding fintech that are sure to make a splash in the industry moving forward into the new year and we are hoping to help you to consider these things before they make more of a ripple within the industry.

Banks have been realizing that innovations brought about by competing startups are best met with agility so as to evolve from  the old mentality into one that proactively, meets head on, challenges in the market, even foresees them.

1) New payment options: 

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been in the news both positively and negatively in the past year.
It's important to note that such new payment technologies, Bitcoin specifically, has been warmly accepted by Governments such as the UK's but not so much by China.
Many believe that interesting new technologies will sprout out of the cryptocurrency/digital payment market with disruptive solutions that will grow very fast.

2) Mobile payments:

Mobile payments has been a hot topic this year. Not only does mobile payment tech make life much easier, but it is set to become standard in the near future. More new entrants than ever before have been springing up with what many consider to be "disruptive" solutions, meaning they are changing the landscape with which businesses traditionally transact.

Some experts believe that Apple Pay has the potential to disrupt the entire sector. Since October 2014, US residents with an iPhone 6 have been able to pay for retailers and restaurants via their fingerprint or by holding their iPhone over an enabled Point of Sale (POS) system. 

2015 promises to be a year in which the world of payments will change dramatically. The industry is at the beginning of a period of intense structural change but it is far too early to pick winners and losers in this changing market. At one end of the spectrum, the banks appear to have the most to lose, given the threat to their traditional position that alternative providers of cheap, secure and timely payments can provide. But they have long records of resilience, have strength in their existing customer relationships and reach and should not, therefore, be under-estimated. At the other end of the spectrum, who would bet against Amazon, Apple or Google, given their rapid growth and success in other sectors? And, in between, there are a multitude of offerings that must find a way to carve out a unique, lucrative and sustainable position in an increasingly competitive field.
- Anthony Duffy, Management Consultant in Financial Services in UK & Ireland at Fujitsu

3) Financial Data:

With the accumulation of necessity to store more and more financial information. From front to back-office, trade operations, regulatory controls and risk management, firms have been searching for new easier to manage ways to help them cope with the velocity, volume and variety of big data.
Banks are trying hard to understand their customers better. This, because they have seen disruptive startups creeping into their space with innovative solutions that are well received by consumers. An example of a way that they are trying to utilize customer data is by using it to target people with ads on their bank statements but this targeted marketing method has yet to be evaluated in terms of efficiency.

4) Customer-centricity:

Banks have come to realize that it is better to get to know their clients on a one on one basis rather than clustering them into large categorical groups. Demands for digitalisation and enabling customers to send money on the go is a task that every bank is now undertaking, whether this is through the implementation of a mobile banking app, or providing omni-channel banking over a variety of different devices. 

"Embedding client-centricity into a company’s culture is a key differentiator. This is about every employee owning the client experience and using every interaction as an opportunity to delight and strengthen relationships."  -Bill Pappas (CIO  of Global Wholesale Banking Technology & Operations at BofAML

5) Cloud Migration:

Cloud computing has become far more widely accepted during 2014. Many firms have learned that marketing, collaboration and productivity are more easily managed in the cloud. Cloud adaptation greatly reduces costs and research shows that many companies who have yet to transition plan to do so in the next year or two.
In terms of security however, the cloud still poses some very real risks. 

6) Integration and collaboration:

Fact is, so many startups have disrupted the fintech space this year that banks have come to realize that it is a good idea to partner with or buy several of them.
All types of fintech accelerator programs have sprung up looking to help grow innovative entrepreneurs and their ideas.
DevOps is a buzz word that became pretty hot in 2014. DevOps is the fusion of development and operations teams which usually work in sync around a common set of tools. The aim is for developers and operations professionals to work closer together to benefit the business and the result of this union is tighter integration that allows applications to be developed more quickly with better quality results. 

There have been many more developments in the fintech space last year but these are the significant ones that are worthy of keeping an eye on.