Over the past decade or so, the workforce in the United States has been going through some major changes. One of the most significant of these changes has been the rise in popularity of freelancing. In 2005, only 10% of the workforce was made up of non-traditional employees like freelancers and independent contractors. In 2016, however, 16% of the workforce is made up of these alternative workers. By 2020, it is predicted that up to 40% of the workforce may be freelancers.
The sharing economy continues to grow and disrupt entire industries.
A recent report published by the Brooking Institute concluded that the sharing economy would become a major part of the global economy.
Merchant banks and acquirers have hit a vendor-shaped wall. The lack of choice in payment terminals is crippling banks who are currently at the mercy of the hardware vendors, and are unable to offer a payment device that meets the needs of their modern merchant customers. For years, there has been no route around for banks and acquirers, but now a pioneering concept is set to put the power back into their hands.
The financial industry is not new to innovations. As the human civilizations became more and more sophisticated, there was a need to create new financial products to serve the ever-evolving requirements of these complex societies. Technology in the financial sector is also not new and is around for a few decades now. Machine readable cheques, automated data processing, automated teller machines and electronic payment systems made banking easier, accelerated innovations and gave rise to various new financial products in the second half of 20th century. But the proliferation of Fintechs in last decade or so has been driven mainly by the advancements in software and internet. Given that financial services are made up of non-tangible goods (unlike automobiles, oil, housing, pharmaceuticals etc.), the financial services industry is most vulnerable to the disruptions in information technologies.
Everyone wants a piece of the $100 trillion pie. I can rattle off a list of 50 payments companies you’ve never heard of and never will. Companies that do millions of dollars in transactions a day. Everyone has a different niche, a different value proposition - more security, less personal data storage, more rewards, less fees – whatever. You want to pay with the palm of your hand? Yeah, there’s an app for that too. And there’s nothing wrong with any of this. Competition fuels technological progress, and the payments space is in desperate need of progress. Progress to eliminate the pain, cost, and time spent dealing with traditional payment processes.
FinTech is currently one of the fastest growing sectors of technology. It is expected that by the year 2020, investment in FinTech companies will grow to 46 billon USD, while global investment in this sector today amounts to more than 26 billion USD (Statista). Because of their high degree of innovation, solutions originating in East-Central Europe, including Poland, are the subject of considerable interest in the branch and are represented at many international conferences. This year is no exception, and on 7-8 February at Finovate London, we will be able to see some new and interesting FinTech from Poland.
I am very pleased that Mark Carney has robo-advice on his mind. For him to be speaking about a nascent industry, he must believe that firms using technology to help manage people’s money will grow to become a significant part of the market. This is a fantastic promotion of the industry and one I am extremely proud to be a part of as we put the client back into the heart of our service.
However, in his speech he appears concerned about robo-advisors becoming a risk to our well-functioning financial system. The argument is that they may lead to excess volatility or increase pro-cyclicality as a result of herding. I see his attack on robo-advice as misinformed for several reasons.
Banking operations are diversifying, fast. Outsourcers control more of many big banks’ core and non-core operations than ever before. The age of mobility has dawned and vastly increased both the number and the kind of devices that are interfacing with banks’ core systems.
InsurTech well and truly made its mark in 2016, stealing some of the thunder (and investment) away from its big brother, fintech, and with tonnes of exciting start-ups and innovations hitting the market.
So, what does the next 12 months have in store for us?
The financial technologies (FinTech) revolution, which has the potential to disrupt traditional financial services and banking systems in most jurisdictions, is likely to see the cutting of costs and an improvement in the quality of financial services.
Two years back after my trip to the US, I still had a coin of 1 dollar cent in my wallet. In a supermarket in Berlin, mistaking it for a 2 euro cents coin, I presented it to the cashier. The cashier immediately recognized it and returned it to me saying it’s not the right coin and they don’t accept it. Realizing my mistake I presented the right coin. The two coins (1 dollar cent and 2 euro cents) are almost of same size, weight and material. Why couldn’t the supermarket accept it?
According to a recent survey, more than half of banking executives want to improve their social and mobile channels. However, the same survey revealed that over 50% of consumers did not feel their bank knows them as a customer (TimeTrade). The challenge facing banking executives in 2017 is bigger than just shifting budget towards mobile app development and Facebook strategy, it’s the ability to connect the dots across multiple channels resulting in more accurate and relevant communications between a financial institution and its audience. By taking this ground-up approach to marketing, financial leadership can invest in accurate, impactful marketing that drives brand loyalty now and for years to come.
We had the privilege to talk to João Vasconcelos, Portugal's Secretary of State of Industry and former Executive Director at Startup Lisboa, about the thriving tech scene and reasons for fintechs to come to Lisbon. Besides the beautiful landscape and great people, of course.
Banks acting in a manner that leads to distrust of financial services is nothing new. The financial crisis, market rigging and - most recently - a scandal at Wells Fargo show that banks continue to work for no-one but themselves. Mike Galarza, the CEO of Entryless, discusses why banks are untrustworthy and what FinTech firms are doing about it.
Blockchain technologies are attracting increased interest from Russian financial institutions and IT companies, and may be poised to overcome skepticism from Russian regulators. This is perhaps not surprising, given Russia’s prominence in the technology sector, with over 120,000 local programmers and continuing growth in ecommerce and online activities. However, certain legal obstacles may still pose challenges for promoters and developers of cryptocurrencies and other blockchain applications.