FinTech is one of the great evolutions of modern times. It might not compare to the ancient invention of the wheel, but most of us would agree that the likes of digital banking have made life easier for financiers and consumers alike.
Any industry with such growth and predicted expansion rates is naturally of interest to anyone looking for an exciting and fulfilling career. However, we’ve spoken to countless professionals with a background in traditional finance who have never considered switching to FinTech. The reasons given are usually technology-led, almost as though it’s a sector geared up wholly to employ coders and inventors.
Thankfully, that’s simply not the case, as anyone currently enjoying employment in FinTech will testify. Yes, there’s most definitely a place for digital dynamos within the FinTech industry, but there’s a huge need for traditional financier skill sets too. Let’s take a look at why NOW is the perfect time to make the leap from finance to FinTech.
- Traditional finance v FinTech
- The impact of FinTech on banking
- FinTech isn’t just for whiz-kids
- FinTech skills in demand
- Make the most of transferrable skills
Traditional finance v FinTech
It may be tempting to view traditional finance as an industry stuffed with individuals who resemble 1970s Open University teachers and to see FinTech as being dominated by scruffy, T-shirt wearing infants with a penchant for coding.
However, reputations generally cause more harm than good, and when it comes to these examples, neither is true. We can sit here and point out differences until the cows need milking, but finance and FinTech have far more in common than some might think.
Both are ultimately industries where solutions to financial problems dominate proceedings. The main difference is that FinTech relies on technology to do so, whereas traditional finance might utilise a number of different options. The leap from one to another is not necessarily as big as you might imagine.
The impact of FinTech on banking
Those who are working in traditional finance settings are already likely to have experienced FinTech in some shape or form. The world of banking has long-embraced technology by introducing contactless payments and online apps. FinTech solutions have been adopted by the traditional finance sector as a way of improving their quality of service, as well as meeting public demand head-on.
The big difference for those working in trad-finance is that FinTech will, at present, take up just a percentage of their daily tasks. Whereas switching to a 100% FinTech company means embracing this brave new world on a full-time basis.
FinTech isn’t just for whiz-kids
FinTech is one of the fastest-growing industries around, and that’s set to continue until someone invents something else that we never knew we couldn’t live without. However, given its very nature – that of finance – a vast amount of experience can prove very useful for those looking to create solutions that the big financial players are willing to adopt.
To secure such contracts, FinTech companies need more than coding whiz-kids at their disposal. The finance industry is heavily regulated and one of the most targeted areas for cybercriminals to exploit. No FinTech company can be successful if the security of their product can be compromised, or if they’re unable to navigate the necessary legal regulations to see a product become mainstream.
Here’s why the knowledge and skill-sets of experienced traditional finance professionals can prove invaluable. No major bank is likely to sign a contract regarding some new piece of FinTech software unless they’ve met its creators, established a level of trust and built a relationship.
The old-school ‘face-to-face’ approach so often used by the traditional finance sector contains a rich set of skills that can only come from experience – skills that recent graduates or those immersed in the digital world may not have had the opportunity to learn.
FinTech skills in demand
If you’ve consumed all the above and still remain unconvinced that a switch to FinTech can work for you, consider your own perceptions of this relatively new industry. With anything steeped in technology, there’s always a certain amount of wariness involved. New tech comes with its own language, its own values and approaches. It’s understandable why some might feel they don’t belong.
Rather than viewing FinTech as something brand new that’s going to destroy everything that’s ever been before, it’s important to remember that the entire industry – like the traditional finance sector – is geared around finding solutions to problems. And where money exists, there will always be problems.
Those working in FinTech may be adept at solving these through tech, but they’ll still require ideas when it comes to identifying the problems in the first place. That’s an area where experience is invaluable.
Make the most of transferrable skills
With a cluster of large organisations, small and medium-sized businesses and close to 30,000 start-ups worldwide, there are plenty of opportunities out there for any finance professionals looking to make the leap into the FinTech industry.
Don’t be perturbed if your own technological knowledge starts and ends with knowing how to fill up an ATM with £10 notes. Your present career likely has a wealth of experience that can benefit any FinTech company, as well as having a set of transferrable skills that recent graduates or technological whiz-kids might not have. Plus, it’s possible for those with little or no industry experience to secure a position in FinTech – if you’re already working in finance, you already have a headstart.
When strumming through any list of job requirements, focus on your strengths. If you’re working in banking or the realm of financial advice, you’ll likely be an expert communicator and a great problem-solver. You might not even see it this way, but if you’re regularly meeting with clients to, say, discuss investment portfolios or solutions to cash-flow problems, then that’s precisely what you are.
Many roles in traditional finance are also incredibly varied. Building such knowledge of concepts like loans, stock management, trust funds and inheritance gives an individual a more rounded view of the world when compared to the average genius coder. Such knowledge of the bigger picture can be invaluable when it comes to brainstorming new ideas or dreaming up potential stumbling blocks for new innovations.
A love of technology will be useful for those looking to switch to FinTech, but it’s not essential. Whereas a love for problem-solving and finding genuine solutions is of great importance. Check out these rules of success from a leading FinTech consultant.
The FinTech industry could never have grown at such impressive rates without the know-how of a diverse bunch of people. Everyone from tech masterminds to experienced financiers has played a part in its monumental rise, and it’ll only continue to grow with such inclusivity in its ranks.
Operating across 20 companies worldwide, EC1 Partners are the leading global FinTech recruitment agency, sourcing talent to allow the world’s leading firms to grow, and shaping the future of innovation. Take a look through our careers board, or contact us to find out more.