Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity & Inclusion Editor's Choice Fintech Trending

Does Having a Diverse Team Make Your Fintech Company Better?

This June at The Fintech Times, we’re focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). No longer just a trending topic but an essential consideration to not only your business operations but in your offering as well, this topic feels more relevant now than ever before.

The fintech industry is known for its innovative, agile reputation, and yet it still faces a significant diversity problem that threatens to halt its growth and stop that innovation moving.

But what’s in it for fintechs? Other than it being the right thing to do of course, how can implementing DEI make your company better? We spoke to key members of the industry to find out how embracing diversity can help improve your operations and offerings.

A necessity
Deepak Jain, CEO and founder of Wink,
Deepak Jain, CEO and founder of Wink

Deepak Jain, CEO & founder of multi-factor biometric authentication provider, Wink, said: “At Wink, our commitment to diversity is fundamental to the development of our cutting-edge multi-factor and multi-modal biometrics platform. We understand that creating technology that works seamlessly across different genders, races, age and ethnicities isn’t just an option—it’s a necessity. This commitment is driven by the diverse perspectives and experiences within our team.

“Having a diverse team enables us to identify and mitigate potential biases right from the initial design stage, ensuring our technology is both fair and highly efficient for all users. In all phases of development, from testing and tuning our AI models and down to final deployment, our focus on inclusivity has been integral to our product philosophy. This approach has not only enhanced the robustness and reliability of our software but also elevated customer satisfaction.

“Incorporating diverse viewpoints has propelled Wink to the forefront of innovation and excellence. Our success is a testament to the power of diversity, reinforcing that it’s not just a goal but a vital element in creating technology that truly serves everyone.”

Creativity and innovation
Katie Barnes DEI
Katie Barnes, chief human resources officer, BHG Financial

Katie Barnes, chief human resources officer at financial solutions company BHG Financial said: “Having a diverse team fosters creativity and innovation.

“Team members from varied backgrounds bring unique perspectives and experiences from all walks of life, which contributes to a richer pool of ideas and solutions.

“A diverse team enables us to address a wider range of our customers’ needs and preferences, leading to more innovative and market-relevant products.

“Overall, diversity within a team drives better decision-making, enhances problem-solving capabilities, and ultimately leads to improved performance and competitiveness in the market.”

A no-brainer
Ed Thompson
Ed Thompson, founder and CEO, Uptimize

Ed Thompson, founder and CEO of Uptimize, a company that has helped the likes of JPMorgan supercharge their teams’ performance by leveraging the talents of all neurotypes said:

“Since our mission is to show companies how they can supercharge team performance through embracing neurodiversity, diversity is a no-brainer for our organisation. We practice what we preach. We attract and hire a highly neurodiverse team. This informs our product, as we create educational courses that show how to leverage all neurotypes. It makes sense to have a diverse range of thinkers developing these materials.

“I, myself, suffered a traumatic brain injury, so I understand what it’s like to deal with information and memory processing challenges. In addition, we have a very neurodiverse team. We take time to understand how each other’s brain works and how we work best. We all understand ‘what’ we need to do, but give each other the flexibility to determine ‘how.’

“At the end of the day, all of our collective experiences enable us to create a well-rounded and complete training program.

“And the results speak for themselves. After working with our clients on their neurodiversity programs, they’ve seen 90+ per cent retention rates and 50 to 90 per cent increases in team productivity.

That’s a competitive advantage companies can’t afford to pass up.”

Navigating change
Jen
Jen O’Ryan, DEIB strategist, Double Tall Consulting

Jen O’Ryan, DEIB strategist at Double Tall Consulting, said: “Without diverse perspectives in the real (or metaphorical) room during design, potential barriers to customer engagement are missed. Without equitable access and representation, companies miss out on new markets. Without an authentic approach to inclusion and belonging, customers will stick around only until there is a viable alternative.

“Diverse systems are inherently better suited to navigate change. But they only thrive when other aspects (psychological safety, inclusion, healthy levels of challenge) are ingrained into the organisation.

“Doing this work, I’ve found that most companies don’t notice there’s a problem. Industry leaders think their product or culture is welcoming, or at least okay enough to get by.

“Or they simply don’t know where to look for (and how to fix) exclusionary experiences. All of those micro experiential blips that shut people out of a company’s offerings.”

Diverse perspectives
Michael Bystrov
Michael Bystrov

Michael Bystrov, chief revenue officer at online payments company Noda said: “Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential for companies like Noda within the fintech sector as they drive innovation and creativity.

“At Noda, our team comprises individuals from all over the world, bringing a wealth of diverse perspectives that are crucial for developing innovative solutions in open banking. This global diversity allows us to better understand and meet the needs of a worldwide customer base, enhancing our competitiveness and reach.”
Critical importance
Kate Hampton NMI
Kate Hampton, chief strategy officer, NMI

Kate Hampton, chief strategy officer at NMI, embedded payments solutions providers, said: “Having worked in the technology and payments sector for almost two decades, I have gained a deep understanding of the critical importance of addressing DEI within the fintech industry.

“Women in the fintech industry are still significantly under-represented, especially at higher levels, and I have often found myself to be one of the few, if not the only, women in high-level meetings and discussions. I’ve had a very positive experience, supported by numerous mentors who encouraged me to dream big, however, I recognise that many women in fintech do not share the same journey. That’s why it’s important to me to act as a mentor and set an example for other women in the industry.

“Fintech organisations must actively support and uplift women by creating enrichment opportunities, establishing mentorship programs, and providing a safe space for those seeking support and guidance. Advocating for women in fintech can drive meaningful change in the tech workforce, encouraging organisations to prioritise DEI efforts. This change must be championed by board members and C-suite leaders, ensuring it starts at the top. The fintech industry holds immense potential, and intentional DEI efforts will drive success for both organisations and their employees. Diversity at all levels creates undeniably better business results and success in DEI outcomes will also benefit fintech as a whole.”

A healthy work culture
Sylvia Baffour
Sylvia Baffour, speaker, author and trainer

Sylvia Baffour, speaker, author, and trainer, said: “When you consider the core objectives of fintech companies—improving accessibility, driving innovation, enhancing efficiency, and elevating user experience—it’s clear that these goals cannot be fully realised without a diverse and inclusive workforce. Why? Because diverse teams bring multiple perspectives, and the kind of creativity and robust problem-solving needed for innovation.

“But having a diverse team isn’t enough. Your true impact as an organisation happens when your employees feel included, valued and free to share their ideas and concerns openly. That’s the mark of a healthy work culture that people want to be a part of. Fintech companies with reputations for psychological safety and inclusivity are more attractive to skilled professionals, which is vital in this dynamic industry.

“Additionally, creating a culture where everyone feels a sense of belonging isn’t just a moral imperative; it makes sound business sense. Inclusive companies are better positioned to thrive and remain competitive in the fast-evolving fintech landscape. Word spreads quickly about company culture, and those known for valuing and including diverse voices will attract the best talent. Ultimately, DEI is essential for innovation, employee retention, and overall business success in fintech.”

Empowering diverse voices
Belton Flournoy,
Belton Flournoy, managing director, technology consulting, Proviti

Belton Flournoy, managing director of technology consulting at management consulting firm, Protiviti, said:

“48 per cent of all startups in 2023 were tech startups. Despite this, the number of fintech startups has slowed. To thrive and stay competitive in this digital-first world, fintechs need to ensure they continue to innovate and take advantage of the diversity within their organisations.

“An innovative culture is essential – one that not only empowers people to speak up and challenge ideas the company might be executing but also has a diverse set of people to share their thoughts.  The concept of the M-Pesa and the rapid spread across Kenya is a great example of an idea that benefitted millions, yet would not have happened without diverse thinking.  Design Thinking is one technique that can be utilised to empower diverse voices, alongside considering diversity when you’re a small team—ask yourself, do you really have different perspectives on your current team?”

Author

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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