If you are interested in a career in finance, you probably heard of “FinTech”. This is the segment of the financial services industry that leverages new technology to create a better user experience for consumers and businesses. FinTech is used by all sorts of companies, ranging across asset management, payments, insurance, banking, and personal finance.
What is FinTech?
FinTech, a combination of the words “financial” and “technology”, is used to describe providing financial services through software or other online technologies. FinTech helps companies, businesses, owners and consumers to better manage and facilitate their financial operations and processes by utilizing specialised software and algorithms.
FinTech is also used in the development of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. But while that segment may see the most headlines, the big money in FinTech actually still lies in the traditional banking and financial services industry. Here are five active areas in FinTech:
1. Open banking – which is the practice of sharing customers’ banking data with third parties electronically. This could include apps designed to help people keep track of their spending habits, messaging apps that enable people to transfer money to their friends, or centralised online payment gateways. The open banking segment in Malaysia is still in its early stage of development, though this is already widely implemented in many developed economies.
2. Artificial intelligence – such as chatbots that can respond to customers’ queries or execute financial transactions more quickly and cost-effectively. Examples of companies developing chatbots in Malaysia include XIMNET, Botsify and PointStar Malaysia.
3. Insurtech – which seeks to utilise technology to simplify and streamline insurance purchasing, claims, and payouts. An example is VSure.life which has leveraged its platform as a digital insurer by partnering with insurance companies such as Gibraltar BSN Life.
4. Regulatory technology or RegTech – which aims to help financial services institutions meet industry compliance rules, especially those on anti-money laundering and Know Your Customer (KYC) due diligence protocols for fraud prevention. Some examples of companies offering KYC services are Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions, Shufti Pro and CTOS.
5. Robo-advisors – a digital platform that uses algorithms to automate your investment portfolio, enabling the execution of trades in response to market movements without the need for constant human intervention. Wahed Invest, StashAway, Akru and KDI Invest are some of the companies offering robo-advisory services in Malaysia.
Careers in FinTech
Getting a job in FinTech is dependent on your skill level and how well you can showcase that skill to your employers. FinTech graduate jobs vary depending on the companies that recruit for them, but here are some of the main entry routes into the industry:
• Product Manager
• Data Scientist
• UI/UX and Graphic Designer
• Product Engineer
• Cloud Management
• Back-End Developers
Learn more about the roles you are looking to apply for and narrow them down to a couple of options that interest you. Reach out to professionals within the industry if you can to hear their input on what a career in FinTech involves. This may help you plan your career journey better.
The skills you need for a career in FinTech
FinTech is an evolving industry, and as new developments arise you will need to keep upgrading and reskilling yourself. Here are some of the skills you may need to be familiar with, depending on your desired entry role into FinTech:
• Working with application programming interfaces to synchronise multiple tech platforms
• Machine learning, data mining, and data interpretation (for data science roles specifically)
• Basics of software/app development ̶ useful regardless of whether you are joining a technical or non-technical FinTech role
• Analytical and critical thinking skills ̶ you will need to identify users’ pain points or predict their behavior and develop solutions in response to those insights
• Problem-solving skills ̶ the FinTech segment is constantly evolving, so knowing how to address ambiguous or developing problems at work with no clear past precedent will be key to thriving in this line of work