Financial Technology (FinTech)

IT professionals are crucial to advancing the efficiency and security of financial services through technological innovations.
Ivy Simon
Editorial Writer
IT professionals are crucial to advancing the efficiency and security of financial services through technological innovations.

Financial institutions rely heavily on IT systems in addition to a range of software to manage their transactions and offer their clients seamless and effective services. For instance, banks run online banking platforms and e-payment gateways, insurance companies operate portals where clients can purchase and manage their plans, and investment firms use customised or off-the-shelf software to assist them in making judgements when it comes to executing trades. 

Most financial institutions hire internal tech teams to maintain and develop their systems and platforms because they recognise how critical it is for them to keep ahead of other players in the business. However, as financial organisations' needs evolve and become more sophisticated, it has become more popular to outsource financial software development and maintenance responsibilities to specialised companies instead.

Career Overview

Graduates interested in entering this industry can expect to work with technologies targeted at automating financial transactions, as well as those developed to support activities like as data management, exchanges, and transactions between financial organisations and their partners and clients.

Employers in this line of work typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Product suppliers: Organisations that sell financial products, such as retail and corporate banks, investment management firms, and insurance providers. 
  • Service providers: These are businesses that collaborate with product suppliers to facilitate trades, provide advisory services, and other kinds of support. This category includes e-trading platforms, financial advisors, actuarial businesses, and other business consulting organisations.
  • Technology providers: These are external technology vendors who cater to the software and technology service requirements of financial product suppliers and service providers.

Work for IT professionals in FinTech typically centres  on the following types of roles:

  • Application development: Building and deploying apps and software to enhance an organisation’s service capabilities.
  • Infrastructure: Creating and maintaining the systems and architecture needed to host an organisation's software/platforms, or offering consulting services to organisations on their infrastructure needs.
  • Support: Assisting end users and troubleshooting problems with platforms when necessary.

Since this area of IT deeply linked with finance, you can expect plenty of interesting challenges. You can be working with complex mathematical models, Big Data sets, distributed systems, high-speed parallel processing, cybersecurity challenges, and developing graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that can visualise complex data in seconds.

Developers are typically involved on multiple projects at the same time, so even if you’re not working on huge back-end systems or new software, you’ll be spending time on minor projects such as improving current systems to make them more efficient and user-friendly. Projects may take anywhere from a few days to a few years to complete, depending on their scope.

Trends and developments

Malaysia has made a series of regulatory announcements and actions over the past year, laying the groundwork for increased development and expansion in the fintech industry.

According to data from Bank Negara Malaysia, there were over 7.2 billion electronic payment channel transactions in 2021, a 30 percent increase from the previous year. Malaysia's first digital banks were also announced in 2022, in addition to an ambitious five-year development plan. These brand-new market entrants are anticipated to spark a surge of innovation in the banking industry and advance financial inclusion.

Pros and cons

Work satisfaction
Many FinTech professionals enjoy the fact that their work covers both the IT and finance industries. This gives them the chance to work with the latest technological developments and understand the latest financial market trends, as well as see how both might influence each other.

A demanding profession
Demanding clients are a common occurrence in this industry, and keeping up with ongoing technological advancements is a constant challenge. Depending on your role, you may also be required to work odd hours, since systems and infrastructure can only be maintained after the banks and markets close.