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Bankers lured towards the FinTech field need to think carefully before making the switch

Question :

There has been a lot of talk lately about bankers moving into financial technology and starting up their own companies in this sphere. I have been on the client side of investment banking for over eight years now and I am wondering if I am being left behind. I have moderate IT skills, but my passion is for dealing with clients on a personal level. With a wave of layoffs at major banks recently, should I be looking at upgrading my skills to become more tech savvy?

Posted by Banksy on Saturday, 06 Jun 2015

Comments :

There has been a lot of talk lately about bankers moving into financial technology and starting up their own companies in this sphere. I have been on the client side of investment banking for over eight years now and I am wondering if I am being left behind. I have moderate IT skills, but my passion is for dealing with clients on a personal level. With a wave of layoffs at major banks recently, should I be looking at upgrading my skills to become more tech savvy?Banksy

It is without a doubt that the technology industry has been booming in recent years and venture capitalists continue to show increasing interest in investing in this industry. Technology is often seen as relatively low cost to break into and can lead to high returns. However, it’s also a highly-competitive market and you will face competition on a local as well as global basis, as the internet is a borderless world.

Your background in investment banking will indeed give you a certain level of advantage in the areas of client relationship building and networks. There is no harm in taking courses and upgrading your skills, as it can boost your CV and benefit your future career.

From a recruiter’s point of view, I have worked with a lot of tech start-ups and I can say that this is an extremely competitive space. While having the client relationship and network does help, in terms of business development the major challenges of these technology companies are often in their own internal operations and also the lack of the right skill sets to execute projects, which often have very niche and specific requirements. Being a technology professional yourself is one thing, running a technology company is another and the latter requires people with very unique skill sets and a certain amount of capital backing. A lack of structured management or skilled talent are the reasons why many tech start-ups fail.

If you are passionate about dealing with clients on a personal level, there is a growing demand for IT/tech sales professionals who have a strong network in both the financial services and commercial sectors. These positions tend to require people with a passion for the tech industry together with strong interpersonal skills, as they need to generate new accounts and build relationships, so this could be a potential way for you to enter the tech industry.

Finally, do think it through before switching career. You will have to start from scratch again and have the mindset of an entrepreneur. It is crucial that you have fully assessed the potential risks and consequences and also take into account the necessary financial investment required before making a decision. 


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Should i bail out of banking for FinTech ?

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