In my recent travels, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing the dynamic landscape of the FinTech industry. During the past month, I joined forces with Kiwi FinTech companies at Intersekt (Australia) and had the opportunity to attend the Manchester FinTech festival (UK). These experiences have reinforced my belief that our FinTech scene is generally on par with global development, and that we are quite often, punching above our weight. However, the delay in Open Banking regulation (and thus market incentives) is not only holding back market innovation and investment but could potentially introduce new challenges for some market players who are brave enough to progress in the absence of regulatory certainty. We hope the new government keeps up the focus on the important area.
In terms of emerging trends, it’s apparent that different countries are strategically positioning themselves based on areas of expertise, which serves as a unique selling point and a competitive advantage. Hong Kong, for example, has embraced Web3, crypto and digital assets, meanwhile United Kingdom has seen the accelerative impact of Open Banking legislation and is accelerating AI, aggregator products and platforms and more – all of which reflect the undeniable certainty of a new playing field of ‘normalised Fintech’ (more on this below).
Reflecting on my time at Intersekt, it’s evident Australia boasts a large FinTech ecosystem with a multitude of players, robust sector support, strong government backing, and well-established investment channels by comparison with Aotearoa/NZ. Cybersecurity and privacy, much like New Zealand, are top priorities in Australia. These are fundamental for maintaining trust, otherwise the entire sector is highly vulnerable. The concept of partnerships is not just theoretical there, it’s a concrete practice. In my view, New Zealand is in dire need of a dedicated FinTech incubator and investment-focused funds to sustain the sector’s growing momentum.
In the UK, my travels led me to engage with various organisations and reconnect with familiar faces. However, what struck me profoundly was a conversation with my nephews, in their early 20s. They shared their perspective on how they manage their finances, highlighting several trends shaping the financial landscape. While they have traditional bank accounts for income and everyday transactions, what intrigued me most was their indifference towards traditional banking systems. They had actively sought out and embraced various tools that catered to their needs, many of which leverage Open Banking technologies and cross-sector integrations. A few examples they mentioned include Starling Bank and Monzo – both with no fees and streamlined sign-up processes. Other services include MoneyBox and Emma-app with its focus on user experience and community. They also regularly used digital micro-payment systems for utilities, shared rent payments and managed insurance and health plans – all driven by innovative, non-traditional systems. My nephews also pointed out shifts towards greater inclusion, including LGBTQ+ initiatives, along with a proliferation of niche products and services. If the UK’s financial landscape is any indication of what’s to come in New Zealand, it’s an exciting evolution.
On the election trail, we’re sharing our views on what we think is important for political parties to prioritise for our ecosystem. Read our FinTechNZ 2023 Manifesto here. Following National’s recent policy announcement, Boosting the Tech Sector, I’m following the election campaigning with interest, and look forward to sharing your views too.
Looking ahead to next year, I’m delighted to announce the return of our FinTechNZ Hui Taumata on 27 February in Auckland. Following the success of this year’s event, we’ve seen increased sector collaboration and growth. Next year’s theme is partnering for success and we will focus on accelerating positive partnerships, tackling challenges and creating opportunities for all stakeholders. If you would like to know more about partnering with us for this event, please contact us.
Read full news here: FinTechNZ – Exploring emerging trends