Banks worldwide are working on their own digital transformation. Competition, but also the exchange between established market participants, start-ups and tech giants from outside the industry, is intense. The Singapore Fintech Festival clearly highlighted this once more.
The Fintech world meets this week at the Singapore Fintech Festival. The second edition of this event will be attended by 25,000 visitors from all over the world. Singapore is a key player and organized like an agile, fast-moving company: the government decided that digitization is a top issue and therefore developed a strategy and measures its development continuously. The result: Singapore is today ranking number one amongst digitized countries (IMD, 2017) and the Fintech Festival organized by the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) is as a result the world’s largest event of its kind.
A few years ago, Fintech was not yet on the radar of many banks but this changed two years ago when it became clear that existing business models would face challenges. In 2016, the first companies started experimenting with start-ups and today new business models and technologies are the new norm in the financial service industry.
Google and Facebook do not sleep
At the festival various executives emphasized that it is not the start-ups who will be the future challengers but primarily non-industry giants such as Google or Facebook. They already have direct customer relationships and are able to manage topics such as data security and data protection.
This established perception is certainly one of the main reasons why many Swiss bank managers and a handful of Swiss Fintech companies traveled to Asia.
The well-known statement that “Banking will always exist but banks not necessarily” can be relativized, at least from an Asian banking point of view: established players such as Standard Chartered, HSBC or DBS are driving their own digital transformation successfully forward and this either by themselves and/or together with Fintech companies. Probably every responsible bank manager in the world now recognizes the need for action and knows that it is time to make his organization fit for the new digital reality.
War for talent
Fintech start-ups are also facing challenges, which will determine their company’s success in the near future. In Singapore, various founders said that in addition to the challenging discussions with regulatory authorities, it is primarily a matter of finding more tech talents (keyword “war for talents”) and it is important for the industry that more well trained young talents dare to enter the field of entrepreneurship.
Zühlke has been represented in Singapore for a few months by its own subsidiary and currently supports various well-known market participants in the development and implementation of innovative solutions with a dozen experts.