This month at The Fintech Times our focus switches to reflection as we look back at developments over the last 12 months. 2022 has certainly been a challenging year for everyone with global economic activity experiencing a severe slowdown, with inflation higher than seen in several decades.
What lessons were learnt over the last 12 months? Leaders at FinregE, Provide Finance, Prove, Gresham Technologies and Mojaloop Foundation reveal all.
Rohini Gupta, FinregE
FinregE‘s director and lead regulatory advisor, Rohini Gupta, has over 15 years’ experience in asset and wealth management, investment banking and retail banking.
She says there have been a few lessons from 2022 that she will be taking into 2023 and beyond.
“This year I have learned:
- To never waste an opportunity spotted. Once you have located a problem, success often comes from recognising an opportunity to serve an untapped segment or problem.
- Rather than developing a product you think is brilliant, develop a product solution that services or creates a better or unique experience, something that is more efficient, user-friendly or engaging than other solutions or no solution in the marketplace
- That perseverance is key – keep going if you really believe in your product and you know you are tapping into an opportunity. Perseverance always pays off.
- To keep learning and growing from further opportunities. Your product can always be flawed. You can always make it a better experience, or expand it to fill further market opportunities or gaps.
- To listen to your customers – they are the key to your success. Focus on your customers needs.”
Miranda Khadr, Provide Finance
Founder and CEO of Provide Finance, Miranda Khadr, has worked in debt structuring for more than 15 years. She says that through running a fintech company, she’s learnt that standing still is not an option if “we are to remain relevant and resilient”.
“To these ends, I have spent a lot of time this year monitoring our systems and making sure that they have the digital capability that we need to respond to our clients’ needs. In addition, cyber threats have been a concern so I have invested in digital security measures to limit our exposure should we find ourselves under attack. I am increasingly aware of how vulnerable small fintechs are so building resilience has been a key focus in 2022.
In terms of my personal development, every day is a day for learning and trying out new things. I have lots of ideas for Provide Finance but sometimes the fear of taking a chance has been a hurdle for me. There are days when I have had to push beyond my fear barrier and be brave and most of the time my ideas have worked. And, even with those that haven’t quite paid off, I’ve been resilient and learned from them.”
Paula Hunter, Mojaloop Foundation
As someone who leads an international organisation, 2022 made it very clear for Paula Hunter, executive director of the Mojaloop Foundation, that having local capacity, skill, and tech resources around the world continues to be a huge challenge.
She says: “It slows your ability to move a project forward if you can’t find the talent on the ground in the countries and regions where you’re looking for them. I’m sure everyone can relate to this.
“Solving this problem will require more investment in training and education and encouraging the university systems to steer their students towards fintech.
“There’s endless opportunity for people that come out of college with those IT and finance skills. We could also be leveraging hackathons and boot camps that are sponsored around the globe to tackle some of these problems and give students real-life experience with commercial players.
“But it’s not enough to have the new workforce based out of Silicon Valley or New York or London: we need them in places like Tanzania and Rwanda, because remote working isn’t always effective, and local deployments also need ongoing maintenance and operational support, best done locally.”
Rodger Desai, Prove
Prove is used by businesses to enable their customers to prove identities with just a phone. The company is used by more than 1,000 businesses across diversified industries, including banks and financial institutions.
Rodger Desai, CEO and co-founder of Prove, says that for payments providers – it’s all about the customer experience, specifically, removing friction to facilitate seamless transactions.
“We live in a world where the average consumer expects speed-to-purchase – whether it’s retail, banking, gaming, subscriptions or any digital service that requires payment.
“The best way to keep customers engaged is to ensure that the experience is so effortless that they never even think about the backend technology that is facilitating it.
“That seamless brand experience should be extended from the first touchpoint (website, physical location, social media ad, etc.) right through to payment.”
Ian Manocha, Gresham Technologies
The major lesson that we have learnt in 2022 is around staff satisfaction says Ian Manocha, CEO of reconciliation software company Gresham Technologies. He says employees want to feel fulfilled and stretched in the work that they do.
He adds: “However, consider this – there is a significant strain for asset managers operating across different jurisdictions already being felt in the middle and back office — where regulatory reporting requirements are becoming greater as deglobalisation in financial markets accelerates. The more that UK regulators diverge from their European counterparts, the more time will need to be spent in focusing on repetitive, but vital reporting tasks.
“When considered against the backdrop of ‘The Great Resignation’, where employees want to feel challenged, it is hard to see how operations teams will retain stability from a staffing perspective. Operations teams don’t want to be exclusively focused on these kinds of tasks — they want room to grow. Financial institutions need to address this issue head on. Unless they can find a way to empower operations staff, the effects will be felt on the back office.”