Delegates at Davos urgently need to make a big and bold commitment this year to financial technology (fintech), an opportunity that the world cannot afford to miss amid a slowing global economy, an industry expert said.
The call comes as world leaders, CEOs, academics, influencers and celebrities head to the Swiss mountain resort of Davos for the 50th annual World Economic Forum (WEF), starting on Tuesday.
As it celebrates its landmark 50th year, Nigel Green, founder and chief executive of deVere Group, said the World Economic Forum 2020 has the opportunity to champion and enhance the transformation of business, which has been dubbed the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution.’
“We’re living through a pivotal moment in history in which increased and advancing technology is monumentally and profoundly changing the way we live, do business, and interact with one another.
“We can clearly see seismic shifts happening in the financial services industry – a sector trade and commerce is deeply reliant upon. The vast majority of this change is being driven by fintech,” he said.
Moreover, he said that mobile banking and investment apps, peer-to-peer lending, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, robo-advisers and crowdfunding are all part of this fundamental shake-up of the space.
The momentum and energy of this evolution now need to be harnessed by delegates in Davos, he said and added that they need to commit to fintech by using their time, energy and resources for its research and development for three principal, positive reasons.
- Jibrel aims to bring tokenisation of traditional financial assets to life
- Dubai-based Blue Logic is cashing in on growing need for chatbot solutions
- Qafila aims to become the Careem of UAE's freight forwarding industry
Opportunity to be agile
Following the shift from e-commerce to fintech in 2018 in the Middle East and North Africa, fintech retained its top spot in 2019 and accounted for 13% of all deals last year, according to startup platform MAGNiTT.
Talal Bayaa, Chief Executive Officers at Bayzat, said that fintech will continue to be a popular industry for investors and entrepreneurs as new startups emerge to enable financial services across the value chain.
“We’ll also see mature ones raise larger rounds as they look to become fully regulated, since there has been no traction in partnerships with traditional players,” he said.
Philip Bahoshy, founder and CEO of startup data platform MAGNiTT, said that accelerators and governments play a key role in supporting fintech startups.
Green said that fintech can speed up the pace of global financial inclusion and can provide access to financial services for millions of people who live in remote areas and/or who might normally not be able to use financial services because of historical biases of traditional financial companies.
“Second, fintech offers companies the opportunity to be agile, to diversify, to cut costs, and to meet regulatory requirements all whilst improving the client experience. This will help them thrive in rapidly challenging times of change and disruption.
“And third, the revolution is happening with or without them. As consumers, we increasingly want all our financial services needs to be dealt with online and/or on their mobile devices. We demand personal service and instant access anywhere and at any time. This trend is only set to grow as we all become increasingly dependent on tech,” he said.