Leaders in Financial Services and FinTech from across the world today reveal their thoughts on the FinTech fads of the last 12 months and their predictions for 2018.
In a report by global PR & digital marketing agency FleishmanHillard, 30 experts from brands including Ant Financial, Citi, Ripple, Santander, Western Union, Starling Bank and Visa share their insights on the biggest opportunities for 2018 and lift the lid on their biggest fears for the year ahead.
In the report, titled ‘FinTech: The Fads, The Fears and The Future’, the experts identified Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as the most over-hyped trend of 2017. Over half of the Financial Services experts questioned believe that “ICOs represent more risk than opportunity and regulation needs to step in before disaster strikes”, with Daniel Aranda, Managing Director Europe, Ripple, even claiming that this year “lawsuits, fines, and jail time [linked to illegitimate ICOs] would not be a surprise”.
Similarly, Bitcoin was identified as an overhyped trend by a number of the respondents; among them Jonathan Vaux, Executive Director, Innovation and Partnerships, Visa Europe, who claimed, “I think we can safely expect the [Bitcoin] bubble to burst at some point as people break from the “inner circle”.”
… but not Blockchain
Despite the undeniable hype around cryptocurrencies during the past year, many experts predicted there could be a future for both ICOs and Bitcoin with the right regulation in place. Meanwhile, Blockchain – and the distributed ledger behind it – were identified as major opportunities for Financial Services in 2018.
… or Open Banking
In addition, 85% of respondents believe that Open Banking – including the introduction of Payment Services Directive Two (PSD2) in Europe – will be the most important development for the FinTech industry in 2018, enabling better collaboration between traditional Financial Services and FinTechs. However, many respondents also recognize that complying with new regulation, including PSD2 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will pose one of the biggest challenges of 2018.
Meanwhile, experts including Anne Boden, CEO and Founder, Starling Bank, revealed that the major challenge for a number of FinTech enterprises in 2018 will be reaching profitability – and finally giving investors real returns on their investments.
…but not AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was identified by the experts as the second biggest opportunity for 2018. This is despite respondents being largely in agreement that the expectations of what AI could achieve in 2017 were often overhyped.
Claudia Bate, Head of Financial Services and Fintech at FleishmanHillard Fishburn commented:
“What’s interesting is that our experts identified that an overhyped fad and the future of finance are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Take artificial intelligence (AI) for example – even a number of AI providers we spoke to admit that the technology was hugely overhyped in 2017. That’s not to say that AI won’t completely alter the financial services industry in the future, but likely in a more measured way.
“Our experts recognise that there is a fine line between being excited about the future of finance, and over-hyping its potential. Customers of Financial Services, whether consumers or other businesses are increasingly able to see through overly exaggerated claims and are crying out for rhetoric based in realism. As such, authenticity in communications will be more important as ever for the sector in 2018 and beyond.”
Commenting on the findings, Chris Skinner, financial services and Fintech influencer said:
“The future is uncertain. However, some things are certain. I am certain that the Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and ICO craze will continue through 2018. I am certain that Artificial Intelligence and distributed ledgers will be discussed by many and implemented by few. I am certain that Open Banking, APIs and the collaborative change in banking will still be high on the agenda. And I am certain that Brexit will continue to concern all those in FinTech and finance.
“These are topics picked up in this report, although not everyone agrees with my views here. We will see what happens through 2018 to see who is right and who is wrong. The one sure thing is that anyone commenting on the future is right at the time they made the statement. It is only with hindsight that we are wrong. The thing we are normally wrong about is the impact of technology. We nearly always over-estimate the speed and under-estimate the impact of technology.”