The stale financial services industry is being turned on its head by the fast moving, ever evolving FinTech faction, which just won’t stop booming. What better industry to work in right now where ideas breed ideas? Historically, financial services have placed profit ahead of customer experience so it comes as no surprise that these highly sought after simpler, better, faster ways of handling financial transactions are opening up a wealth of opportunity in varied roles.
The demand for accessible, user friendly, individually tailored financial products is boundless. And with infinite demand comes infinite opportunity. Everybody has money right? And whether having lots or just a little, people are looking to do more with their money. Spend it, trade it, bequeath it, invest it, save it, move it, maximize it, change it, or just better understand it! Banking no longer implies an over-qualified, over-dressed teller who helps you cash a cheque through a bulletproof ticket window. There is a world of change underway so here are a few tips to help you navigate toward the FinTech fast train.
1. Check out the tech hubs
Get familiar with your local tech hubs. Reach out to the respective administration departments and get info on any public days that they might be hosting: forums, tech talks, meet and greets. Offer your services, be it volunteering or paid and get networking!
Some of the better-known hubs around Hong Kong are the FinTech Collaborative Innovation Centre located in Hong Kong Science Park at the Applied Science and Technology Institute (ASTRI). The labyrinth of innovative tech going on down at Cyberport is certainly worth exploring, most notably check out their Incubation Programme for cool start-up initiatives. It also might be worthwhile reaching out to FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific, who currently run 12-week accelerator programmes for early stage financial technology companies.
There are also endless FinTech conferences, which welcome the attendance of the young, hungry minds. Look out for FINNOVASIA, Money2020, BankTech, FinTech World Forum and TechCrunch to name just a few.
2. Be in the know
Get your daily fix of FinTech news and updates from the most credible sources available. Lets Talk Payments is a high-quality content and research platform, which is helping to define the FinTech space. The Paypers is another independent source of news and information for professionals in the global payment community. As well as Steve McLaughlin Financial Technology Partners who generate high quality research on a regular basis, made easily accessible on their site. FT Partners pride themselves as being the only investment bank focused solely on the financial technology sector. Watch out for KPMG’s quarterly report on FinTech Investment Trends, made available for public access on their website. This one is a must read for anyone trying to break into the FinTech market place.
3. Be digital savvy
Not everyone needs a degree in Computer Science but being able to code might just nudge you to the top of the candidate list. Being familiar with current delivery methodologies such as Agile, as well as understanding the principles and advantages of leveraging Cloud computing networks, can really help. Understanding the logistics around what goes into creating an app or user-friendly frontend design won’t hurt either. And of course having every possible payments app available at your fingertips for exploratory purposes is a must! Know what’s on the market and how its offering can impact different demographics across both business and personal divisions.
4. Expand your skillset
Many FinTech opportunities will be in their infancy when they start on-boarding new staff. The siloed job roles you find in a big corporate will likely not be part of the deal – there’s so much to do that you’ll have the opportunity to gain great experience outside of your core responsibilities. So be the Jack-of-all-trades and bring bucket loads of energy along with you. Peripheral qualifications or experience in entrepreneurial roles will go a long way in a start-up. Experience in sales, marketing or promotional roles would likely be welcomed too. If you don’t have it, make it clear you’d love to be involved across the business.
5. Don’t run from traditional financial institutions just yet
A degree in finance and a few years’ experience in a financial institute could adequately open your eyes to at least a few of the giant gaping holes that FinTechs are trying to plug. Do yourself a favor and slog it out at one of the corporates for a stint (even just a summer internship!), if only to be rewarded with gainful insight into what’s not working on the inside. Seek out the holes and guaranteed there will be a FinTech who is already looking to rectify it or one who will be damn interested in hearing your thoughts on how to go about it.
Financial institutions the world over are funding FinTech opportunities. Many of which are being fostered under their own roofs, with their own testing labs. It makes perfect sense for them to customize products for their own brand instead of waiting around for someone to sell them an alternative, perhaps slightly less applicable product solution. These may not be the out-of-the-box, industry revolutionizing FinTech opportunities but the big bank initiatives will offer great exposure to the mentality and framework of what’s being done more broadly in the market today. Check out the internal FinTech initiatives on offer at the bigger corporate financial institutions – you might be pleasantly surprised. Keep an eye on HSBC and Standard Chartered
Don’t hesitate to be a part of this monetary movement. It is a modern day revolution and a pretty cool one at that.
What kind of jobs can I get in fintech these days?