Technology is upending workflow and processes in the financial services industry. Tasks once handled with paper money, bulky computers, and human interaction are now being completed entirely on digital interfaces. Given how pervasive financial services are across the globe, the disruption opportunity for fintech startups is massive.
Almost every type of financial activity — from banking to payments to wealth management and more — is being re-imagined by startups, some of which have garnered blockbuster investments. Meanwhile, the old guard is trying to solve a puzzle presented by the fintech revolution: How can they benefit from the rise of digital, and how can they avoid obsolescence?
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we provide a detailed overview of the fintech ecosystem, explain the challenges and opportunities for incumbents and startups and evaluate the key areas of finance being disrupted by new technologies. We also determine which financial sectors are most vulnerable, which are still shielded from immediate disruption, and what that means for new entrants and financial giants.
Companies mentioned in the report include: Lending Club, Stripe, Square, Apple, Western Union, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, TransferWise, China Rapid Finance, Lufax, OnDeck, Dwolla, PayPal, Adyen, Simple, Moven, Ally, Capital One 360, Betterment, Wealthfront, Vanguard, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Allstate, Oscar, Metromile, Azimo, Klarna, Number26, Atom Bank, LendingRobot, Earnest, and more.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- Fintech — financial technology — is an umbrella term describing disruptive technologies in financial services. Fintech has transformed the way money is managed. It affects almost every financial activity, from banking to payments to wealth management. Startups are re-imagining financial services processes, while incumbent financial services firms are following suit with new products of their own.
- Established players and startups face very different challenges. Banks are investing more heavily in innovation, however, they haven’t yet fully diffused their innovation strategies throughout their organisations. Meanwhile, startups are trying to navigate the regulatory landscape. Banks will have to find a way to develop new platforms while overcoming legacy infrastructure; startups will have to find a way to scale out their business while facing increased regulations, higher costs, and larger infrastructures that will be more difficult to change and manage.
- The blockchain is a wild card that could completely overhaul financial services. Both major banks and startups around the world are exploring the technology behind the blockchain, which stores and records Bitcoin transactions. This technology could lower the cost of many financial activities to near-zero. This would have a dramatic effect on big banks, which currently face high operating costs. It’s also disruptive in that it could disintermediate many financial processes.
In full, the report:
- Defines fintech and explains the main growth drivers of this new ecosystem.
- Frames the challenges and opportunities faced by incumbents and startups.
- Provides data on global and regional fintech investments, evaluating which regions are the most significant and which are poised for the highest growth.
- Determines the financial sectors facing disruption and breaks them down in terms of investments.
- Explains why blockchain technology is critically important to banks and startups, and assesses which players stand to gain the most from it.
- Examines what banks and startups see as their greatest challenges in navigating this ecosystem.
- Offers concluding thoughts on which sectors are the most vulnerable, which regions and segments will see the highest growth, and which new entrants and established players will fare the best during the migration to digital.
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