FinTech go: can we afford to miss it?

Financial technology – FinTech is a new buzzword touching customers at all level across economic industry. FinTech companies are bringing in transparent, affordable, and easy to use financial solutions. Generally, they are startups targeting to address the technological needs of corporations who bank on manual systems rather than technology. It refers to the section of the technology scene that is changing financial sectors such as crowd sourcing, mobile payments, money transfers, loans, fund raising. FinTech investments have grown vastly at very high speed in international market within last decade. In first quarter of 2017, global investment in FinTech companies hit $3.2 billion and made 260 deals (KPMG: The Pulse of FinTech Q1 2017). This trend will continue to create opportunities for financial sector to improve product offerings, service delivery and cost savings. The PWC Global FinTech Report 2017, reveals global trends as, 82 percent of officials expect to increase FinTech partnerships in next three to five years; and 77 percent expect to adopt blockchain as part of an in-production system or process in next three years; whereas the ROI is expected at 20 percent on FinTech related projects. There are competitive advantages for those businesses who knows, how to deal with technology and innovation. Transition of money in economies to cashless society, new technologies, government programs and customer preferences are the prime aspects to enable this shift.  Since Pakistan is a cash based economy, there is lack of awareness about FinTech in the country. Corresponding FinTech companies’ officials, banks are progressively collaborating with them but non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) are far behind. According to the findings of a survey, ‘Pakistani market can show the potential of adopting the new financial technologies with world’s 5th largest young population and an increasing usage of internet and smartphones’. The survey was conducted to identify the opportunities and gaps in FinTech ecosystem and future of digital financial services by Karandaaz Pakistan. FinTech Industry in Pakistan facing many constraints encompassing lack of corporate sector support, not promising leading environment, and non-innovative environment. Many of corporations and companies are functioning in businesses since many decades but the problem lies in their conventional non-innovative working environment which can enable them to develop niche for operating the business to compete in the world. Pakistan has low ICT access due to low per capita bandwidth and high entry level prices for fixed broadband plans and also microfinance banks lack an extensive distribution system. These kinds of gaps should be bridge and create opportunities to FinTech industry to grow as well in Pakistan by providing essential FinTech coaching via FinTech programs and collaboration platforms. Government role in promoting FinTech industry is not encouraging at all, rather there is lack of supportive policies and their attitude is sluggish. If this scenario continues to prevail, we will miss the bandwagon of world financial technology market.

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