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FinTech

The skills that will define the fintech leaders of tomorrow

The launch of a fintech peer-to-peer learning platform offers a new model for finance professionals to keep up with the accelerating pace of change.

Imagine having to know about everything to be successful in today’s world. New knowledge and technology are emerging so quickly that success would be rare indeed.

Fortunately, technology also empowers us to find answers to questions more easily. Being successful now is about being able to ask the right question and make the right connections to find answers that can be trusted.

In the professional environment, attitudes haven’t kept pace with the new skills that we need.

To project the knowledge that most people think they need to be successful, the temptation is to bluff and pretend.

This is perhaps particularly so in the world of fintech, where change is happening quicker than most. Financial services has always moved at a fast pace, but the combination of exciting new technologies, cost pressures on banks and higher customer expectations set by popular consumer tech mean the pace of change has accelerated dramatically.

A recent survey of professionals in finance by the Fintech Circle Institute (more on which in a minute) found that 94% suspect their colleagues of using buzzwords such as “blockchain” and “artificial intelligence” without understanding their meaning. Over half (60%) claim such bluffing is a common occurrence. So is everyone in financial services bluffing their way to the future?

How can financial service professionals ensure their skills remain relevant when old certainties about how businesses operate are being overturned by fintech start-ups and other innovators?

The launch of the Fintech Circle Institute is part of the answer. It is a peer-to-peer online learning platform, designed to empower finance professionals with the necessary digital skills to adapt to our rapidly changing industry.

We learn best when we learn from each other.

I am passionate about sharing new ideas, knowledge and ways of working so that we can meet together the challenges facing our industry through collective enterprise and co-innovation, which is why I have worked closely with FINTECH Circle on the launch of the Institute as a board member. I like the model: we learn best when we learn from each other.

What are the skills that will define the leaders of the future?

First, having the vision to understand how technology can be used to change the way things are done. This is different to understanding how technology works. It is about understanding how businesses add value for their customers and having the flexibility of thought to envisage innovative new applications of technology to form the business models of the future.

Second, leaders of the future will be problem solvers.  The growth in automation in the years to come will mean simply getting stuff done becomes less important, but fixing problems will be much more important.

Third, changing business models will create new legal and regulatory challenges, particularly around issues like accountability, as distributed ledgers decentralise and federate responsibility, and privacy, as big data and machine learning take hold.

Bluffing won’t help to solve today’s problems, let alone tomorrow’s.

Those that are successful in the future will be open about the limits of their knowledge, will learn from each other, and will collaborate with partners who can bring their skills and experience to bear on shared problems. Bluffers need not apply.


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