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Finance & related services

PwC’s 2019 Global FinTech report – how firms will change

By Aleksandra Bańkowska, partner, PwC Legal and Anna Maj, FinTech leader, PwC
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Last month, PwC published its Global Fintech Report 2019, based on a survey among more than 500 managers worldwide in the financial services (FS) and technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sectors.

The research aimed to examine what factors will determine the winners and losers in the race to develop and profit from technology-based business models.

Modern financial technologies and their impact on the sector are an extremely new topic and are becoming the subject of research. ‘FinTech’ is financial technology, an innovation that can lead to the development of new business models, applications, processes and products that have a significant impact on financial markets.

FinTech's future

FinTech is increasingly being used by the FS and TMT industries to increase operational efficiency, reduce costs, improve customer experience and increase the attractiveness of their products and services. New business opportunities are also being created. Banks operating exclusively in the digital realm offer new customer propositions and cost profiles. Investment managers can offer fully customised advice. Insurers use sensors to monitor people's health and prevent road accidents. Consumers are ready for digital shocks. The question is no longer about whether FinTech will transform FS, but which companies will use it best and emerge as the new leaders.

According to the survey, 47% of TMT and 48% of FS organisations have fully integrated technology into their strategic business model. Besides, 44% of TMT and 37% of FS organisations have integrated new technologies into their products and services. In the context of customer retention, the FS managers surveyed by PwC believe that the key to this will be to use FinTech to improve ease and speed of use. TMT leaders, on the other hand, focus on personalisation. In a market that is rapidly moving towards mass customisation, it can be expected that the use of FinTech in this way will be more likely.

Companies' desire for cross-sectoral merge

FS and TMT should look at each other and retrain to fill skill gaps. As shown by the PwC survey, 80% of TMT companies and 75% of FS organisations have created jobs related to FinTech. However, 42% of both TMT and FS organisations have difficulty filling these roles. While 73% of FS organisations have employees in the technology sector, only 52% of TMT companies are looking for FS employees.

It will be important for future success to find ways to attract people across from TMT to FS and vice versa because each sector needs the other's expertise. Upgrading skills, as well as appropriate mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures will also be significant challenges.

Among the organisations that are planning a takeover, strategic alliance or joint venture to stimulate growth through FinTech, 78% of TMT companies and 76% of FS companies focus on their sectors. Less than half (44% of TMT and 47% of FS organizations) focus on a company specialising in the FinTech industry.

Over the next two years, three-quarters of the FS and TMT directors surveyed will increase their investment in precision technologies. More than 90% of them are convinced that in the next two years FinTech will bring an increase in revenues. The adoption of a technology-driven strategy is now of the utmost importance, but the focus, maturity and speed of the market are different.

It is now a fact that FinTech has brought innovation to the FS and TMT sectors. As is the reality of cooperation between FinTechs and corporates.

However, translating opportunity into successful execution is difficult. Most tech developments are still stuck in the lab, in the incubation phase. Fewer than 40% of executives surveyed have moved AI projects beyond the pilot stage into implementation. We all face the same challenges to move solutions from a pilot proof-of-concept stage to implementation, regardless of geography. At the end of the day, it comes down to commercialisation and monetisation of innovative technologies.

The high-potential technologies include AI, IoT, as well as RPA, voice and biometrics, as indicated in the report. I would also say they are the most promising ones, in payments for example.

When it comes to building data-driven models and use cases, in a data-intensive but also data-intuitive environment, I would stress the importance of the end-to-end digital customer journey and its personalisation, with data privacy and trust still remaining the key pain points.

It's all about the collaborative models, not only between different stakeholders within the same industry, such as FinTech and corporate entities, but also between different sectors, such as FS and TMT.

Entering the FinTech market is a very attractive option for both traditional financial services providers and IT companies. Activity in this area is usually connected with the implementation of breakthrough technologies and innovative solutions. It is a fascinating journey filled with huge business possibilities. However, it is also associated with the necessity to comply with the regulatory requirements applicable across the sector. Indeed, it is the fear of regulatory barriers that is mentioned by our respondents as one of the top three most important challenges facing FinTech development.
 
The financial services sector is one of the most regulated in the world, an area encompassed by the enhanced due diligence standards in terms of business ethics. Trust is the foundation of the financial services market. Appropriate and fair regulatory requirements should be the key element of the strategy of every FinTech. Such behaviour allows the company to build in trust from the perspective of both regulatory authority and the client. It is a high level of trust that should be considered as the success formula for every FinTech

The full report is available on the website
https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/financial-services/FinTech-survey.html

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