FinTechNZ’s inaugural Annual Meeting was held on 1 November, hosted by EY. Many insights were shared by the leadership team; a highlight – the association has achieved phenomenal growth in the past 12 months, with membership doubling from 77 members to 153 members in the year to September 2018.
In 2019, FinTechNZ plans to narrow its focus, moving from a large working group of 22 members with a sector-wide focus, to several smaller working groups with a specific vertical focus. This model has been tried and tested by InsurTechNZ and will now be picked up by five new working groups:
- Open Ecosystem (including Open Banking)
- FinTech Start-ups
- International Relations
- Talent/Test Environment
- Investor Guide and Ecosystem Map
Each of the working groups are looking for members, with the outcomes and plan of work for 2019 yet to be confirmed, so there are plenty of opportunities for FinTechNZ members to become leaders in the various verticals.
Six members of the Council from the previous year will continue into 2019 to give the leadership team continuity, and two non-elected seats, Government and Independent, are yet to be announced. Mitchell Pham stated it’s important to have those seats, so that regulators can be in the room and have equal footing when decisions are being made by the FinTechNZ Board; similarly, the Independent seat can be filled from an under-represented interest area such as Wealth Management.
FinTechNZ is now part of the Tech Alliance, with 24 tech communities. In 2019, the association plans to collaborate more closely with other relevant communities, with the first Connect event of 2019 being a collaboration with the AI Forum, which will discuss how machine learning technologies are being used in the sector.
The coming year will see more collaboration with Government, to map the FinTech ecosystem. The research project will seek to uncover opportunities and continue to build on the success and growth of the sector, becoming the third largest contributor towards our GDP. Outlining the investment opportunities for overseas investors will be a key outcome of any research project.
James Brown’s goals for 2019 include increasing exports of services, currently at 23 percent; working more closely with Government in driving transparency and new technology within the FinTech sector; and continuing discussions with MBIE, Callaghan Innovation, DIT, NZTE and other partners from around the world to create a more cohesive ecosystem both locally and globally.
Mitchell Pham would like to see all members of FinTechNZ exploring the use of new technologies such as Blockchain in 2019, to continue advancing the sector forward.