Catching the Fintech Wave 2016 was a launch event showcasing the results of a FinTech survey organized by PwC Malaysia and Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers (AICB) to explore the threats and possibilities of the global FinTech revolution. Our founder and CEO See Wai Hun was chosen to be the voice of Malaysian FinTech industry.
See Wai Hun was a panelist who put the spotlight on some key issues plaguing the industry. The most prominent of which is having to go through unwieldy regulations at banks and other financial institutions (FIs) on a regular basis. Wai Hun has had years of experience in dealing with major global banks due to her role as the CEO and founder of Malaysia’s leading FinTech solutions provider.
Many banks set up fintech transformation units, that are somewhat independent and may even be reporting to the CEO or the highest authorities. However, they do not have sufficient autonomy to implement their ideas because they cannot get buy-in from other stakeholders. When this happens the users that are championing the fintech initiative can’t get approval for their idea to be implemented unless the idea is so inconsequential that it does not impact other stakeholders.
“Currently a lot of banks are embracing FinTech, by creating this tiny department which is supposed to identify FinTech challenges and possible opportunities. They are yet to think about FinTech in a holistic manner. Creating an isolated FinTech unit is not sufficient. FIs need to create a team of stakeholders, which should include enterprise architecture, IT security, compliance, and people who are genuinely invested in implementing bold new innovations. Decisionmakers at traditional financial institutions need to ask themselves what are the issues preventing them from adopting new technology. What are the issues preventing us from breaking free of medieval archaic compliance regulations that were implemented centuries ago? Everything we do needs to comply with this traditional stuff.
I believe banks and FIs need to run on two modes: mode one which is focused on maintaining the current system of records. Which requires stability and consistency. Mode two, is exploratory. Experimenting on new ways to solve problems. Both modes need to run independently. If mode two is not enabled the bank can’t get value from their investments into mode two.
Financial institutions need to focus on technologies that work instead of getting caught up in the FinTech hype. Never has a bank or a financial institution experienced a point in time like this where a single innovation could gain them enormous competitive advantage, enhance customer satisfaction on a massive scale and dramatically increase their customer advocacy ratio,” said Wai Hun when asked about where FinTech fits into the strategic priorities of banks and FIs.
The survey was deeply concerned with answering the question, “Is Fintech a threat or an opportunity of a lifetime?” According to the survey, 82% of the FI respondents are worried about losing business to FinTech innovations but only 47% of them are positioning FinTech solutions at the forefront of their strategic decision making. The survey considers all the major stakeholders in the FinTech industry, which includes financial institutions (FIs) in banking, asset management, insurance and the FinTech companies themselves.
This attitude of viewing FinTech as a threat is unhealthy, according to Goh Ching Yin, former Executive Director of Securities Commission Malaysia and currently a board member at Maybank. The same sentiment was echoed by other panelists as well.