It is quite an established fact that technology is changing the face of finance. In our previous post we have seen how Big Data and analytics have become an integral part for a finance professional. The union of Finance and Technology has formed an altogether a different sector called the Financial Technology or FinTech.
The Indian Fintech software market is poised to touch $ 2.4 billion by 2020 from $ 1.2 billion in the Financial Year (FY) 2016. (KPMG)
Technically speaking, Fintech or Financial Technology is a set of technological innovations that improves or eases the delivery of back-end financial services. This is not just restricted to new software but also other processes and applications. Not only start-ups but established players like HSBC, Citibank, Bank of India etc are gearing up for Fintech. Today every financial services player such as banking, insurance, risk advisory firms, regulatory authority or equity research wants to be involved in Fintech. An urge to tap latest technology and provide high quality services to client has fuelled competition and is pulling most companies into the Financial Technology fold.
Mobile payment apps, Blockchain technology, mobile banking, alternative finance, wealth management, credit management, , personal loans, data security, analytics, ‘insurtech’, ‘regtech’ and remittances all come under the big umbrella called Fintech.
Mid-level transition from traditional financial role to FinTech
But does it mean that finance professionals in the traditional profiles have risk from Fintech companies? Well, it is too early to say that. However, it is certain that many finance professionals in routine roles want to voluntarily shift to roles in the Fintech sector to reap advantage of the sunshine sector.
There exists a preconceived notion that Fintech always employs software developers and IT –oriented people. This is not completely true. Fintech companies are also hiring in areas such as financial analysis, accounting, credit risk analysis, risk management, compliance etc. and these are the roles wherein the demand for professionals with core financial expertise is high. So if you are a finance professional, planning to make a transition from your conventional finance job to Fintech, opportunities are many.
That said, the transition for mid-level professionals into a new sector such as Fintech is going to be a tad difficult. It is quite natural for you to feel jittery because of the ambiguity surrounding the operations and roles in the Fintech sector. However, the transition can be made easier if you have a proper action plan in place.
Here you go:
1) Know where you belong
To make the move from traditional finance profile to fintech, you first need to be well aware about the fintech ecosystem. This involves knowing the business models of various fintech companies, the value chain through which the services flow, the various people involved in the deliverables and the complete process right from the designing stage to the time it reaches the customer. Not only will this give you a clear picture about where you best fit in, but also convince prospective employers that you’re genuinely ready for a big career switch.
The Fintech Ecosystem
Source: Make in India
2) Acknowledge and strengthen your transferable skills
You are about to make a transition, but you are a skilled professional in your field. So it is very important not to short sell yourself. Your previous skills and expertise might not be an exact fit for the new role but it may be useful and relevant in many other ways. Fintech companies require professionals with good understanding of global financial system, global consumer market, good analytical skills as well as someone who is great with numbers. Being from the traditional finance sector, it is quite likely that you already possess these skills. Do some introspection and be prepared to replace and refresh them according to the demand of the situation.
3) Do networking big time!
This is something that will really help you to make a foray into the Fintech company of your choice, You must use social media and other online methods of professional networking to expand your reach. Other ways of getting introduced to other like-minded professionals or established names in the Financial Technology industry is by attending events such as fintech conferences, new financial app launches and fundraising drives. By meeting people from this sphere, you can get to know more about the inside news of the industry, upcoming trends and the various roles in this sector. After all, success is all about being at the right place at the right time!
4) Get familiar with the technology
Once you have decided to enter the Fintech sector, it is a given that the role will involve technology. You may be not be a pro at handling coding, analytics or machine learning but you can try to learn slowly. There are plenty of renowned training providers offering courses in Data Science and Business Analytics. Sign up with one of them. You not only need to prove your expertise in financial services to your prospective employer, but also show your inclination to embrace technology and its constant changes. This is particularly important for you if you have not been exposed to technology in the past many years.
5) Be more flexible
Whenever you make a transition, being flexible or adaptable is one of the most important qualities. Fintech companies are always on the search for people with a flexible approach. The Financial Technology is a dynamic field and the demands at work is always changing. You should be ready to unlearn many things from your traditional financial job as well as learn new things as and when demanded.
Skill gap can create a vicious circle. There aren’t many people with experience, but then they cannot gain experience until they are given an opportunity to work in that sector. This means that companies may have to adopt a more open and innovative approach where domain knowledge will have to be given adequate importance.
A Fin Tech company may produce the best product/ service using cutting edge technology, but what good is it if it doesn’t meet the business requirement of the client (financial services company)? So, while technology remains the backbone of the Fintech sector, domain knowledge of financial services is the soul of the sector. For this sector to see success, technology and domain knowledge have to co-exist.
So make hay while the sun shines! Take one step at a time and transition seamlessly from traditional finance to being a Fin Tech professional.