Technological transformation is changing many aspects of how we live and work, and this is particularly true when it comes to financial services. Discover what this means for investors.
What is Fintech?
Fintech describes the ecosystem of companies that apply technological innovation such as data and analytics, software, artificial intelligence or mobile technology to disrupt and/or improve the financial services industry. These companies can be existing financial or technology firms developing in this area, or companies specifically created to focus on financial technologies.
Technological transformation is changing many aspects of how we live and work, and this is particularly true when it comes to financial services. Innovations in financial technology like mobile banking, digital payments and blockchain are taking us into a new era of disruption.
What does this mean for investors?
The number of financial transactions we make each day has risen steadily in recent years, and digital payments are becoming more embedded in other routines. As this pace of innovation gets quicker, customers increasingly expect the ability to make secure financial transactions anywhere, anytime, on any platform.
Number of Worldwide Non-Cash Transactions (Billion), 2017-2022
Sources: World Payments Report 2019; ECB Statistical Data Warehouse, 2017 figures released October 2018; Bank for International Settlements Red Book, 2017 figures released December 2018; Countries’ Central Bank Annual Reports, 2018
Financial companies are acutely aware of how quickly their consumers’ behaviour is changing, and many established players are expanding their digital offering to give customers all the services they need.
Around the world, companies are capturing the potential of this financial technology to disrupt their markets, serve their customers more efficiently, and ultimately gain market shares compared to their peers.
Consumer-Bank interactions by distribution channel, 2015-2020 (Million)
Source: BBA.org; Five Future Trends Shaping the Retail Banking Sector, Knight Frank, January 2018
The average fintech adoption globally in 2019, compared with 16% in 2015 and 33% in 2017.1 The adoption rate is still unequal, implying a necessary catch-up in many countries.
Estimated spend by financial services companies on IT infrastructure in 2021.2
Global fintech investment (through private equity, venture capital and M&As) surpassed the $100bn mark for a second consecutive year in 2019. We believe that such investments will continue to underpin innovation and future growth in fintech, creating further opportunities in public markets.
Investing in fintech
We have identified three themes as being multi-year trends for the fintech industry under which we believe companies are poised to experience rapid growth:
Cashless society: people around the world are increasingly making digital payments, taking us towards a cashless society.
Innovative leaders: many established companies are disrupting or improving the financial services industry by using technology to serve their large, existing client base.
Technology enablers: these companies provide the crucial technology to support and develop fintech companies’ digital presence via various channels and devices.
We also see the business-to-business (B2B) fintech space as an area with high-growth potential: such firms look to fill the gap left by banks’ withdrawal from small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) lending, while also providing solutions in payment processing and workflow streamlining.
Why now for fintech?
Financial institutions are also beginning to speak ‘fintech’ and are becoming more aware of how innovation can transform their businesses. Meanwhile, established technology companies are seeing the value of partnering with fintechs as they tackle the complexity of entering the financial services industry – for example, local regulation, capital requirements and reputational risk.
1 EY FinTech Adoption Index 2019
2 International Data Corporation, 2018’
3 KPMG, The Pulse of Fintech H2 2019, February 2020
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