Defining FinTech


FinTech is still a market and concept in need of a precise definition. I have been struggling myself to portray the booming field with something more than the basic definition of FinTech as the intersection of financial services with internet, mobile, and other digital technologies.

This week’s articles show a range of organizations working through the dynamics of the market, its technologies, and their value. Regardless, FinTech is the talk of the economic town. I’m interested in your thoughts. Feel free to shoot me an email.

FinTech and the fear of froth

Jeffrey Kutler, editor-in-chief of Risk Professional magazine, asks, “Everyone wants a piece of FinTech, but what exactly is it really?” It seems like venture capitalists, investment bankers, and other interested parties are both optimistic about FinTech’s future and unsure of its true value. It’s a market in need of much greater definition, he concludes in an Institutional Investor column.

Biggest global banks at Davos: We’re all FinTech innovators now

Fuzzy market or not, FinTech hits the big time at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, and the big banks are now proclaiming themselves to be innovators, writes Bloomberg Business. Much of the discussion centered on virtual currency and blockchain rather than regulatory reforms and crisis prevention. “We’re moving into a world where value — money, payments — is moving like information already does on the internet, and that’s a big deal,” said Chris Larsen, CEO of cryptofinance startup Ripple, in a video interview at Davos.

Bank-wise analysis of blockchain activity

Part of the innovation claim lies in the public acknowledgement of the potential for cryptofinance technologies to improve financial systems. Banks from around the world are lining up to see how blockchain technology can streamline their operations, Let’s Talk Payments shows. As Goldman Sachs recently pointed out, the blockchain system ensures that transactions are authorized by both parties much quicker than today’s system and provides greater transparency, especially with the potential use for smart bonds and smart contracts.

One place where FinTech isn’t trending: bank earnings calls

Despite banks appearing to be tech savvy in the public eye, they hardly discuss financial technology efforts during investor calls, writes Robert Barba inAmerican Banker. For analysts determining the value of banks, it could be that they don’t fully recognize the value of FinTech developments at big banks, or they see it as merely a component of the overall operation, not a strategic initiative that can add to shareholder value over the long term.

People first: the primacy of people in the digital age

It’s always good to remember that technology is designed to serve people, as Accenture reminds us in its latest trends report. Digital accounted for 22% of the world’s economy in 2015. The firm outlines five new trends ahead for the digital business era.