Adam Johnston is managing director, Hong Kong, at Robert Half .
How do I go about getting a career in fintech?
I have worked as a front-end programmer for over 10 years, for both online platforms and in-house systems. I am very intrigued by fintech and I feel that this could be a lucrative area to explore for my future career.
I don’t really know where to start about getting into the area and I feel I lack a full understanding of what the sector entails. What advice would you give me to start off?
You’ve definitely set your eyes on a very interesting and dynamic industry. Fintech is shaking up the banking and financial services industry in Hong Kong in a big way. A wave of new start-ups and disruptive technologies is challenging the traditional business model by offering everything from peer-to-peer payments and loans to investment management and crowd funding.
One of the most important things to remember about this emerging industry is that fintech firms aim to capture customers by offering a more intuitive way to access products and services.
We anticipate that the biggest impact of fintech will come from online investments firms, challenger banks and peer-to-peer lenders – which all aim to differentiate themselves from traditional banking and financial services providers by their adoption of new technologies and streamlined customer service offerings.
A second point to remember about the fintech industry is the power of disruptive technology, which lies in owning the customer interface, not in owning assets. A disruptive start-up company makes it easier for customers to access products and services that other companies own or produce. The challenge to banks and financial institutions is to ensure they do not lose their customers to new firms offering easier, cheaper or more intuitive ways to compare and acquire the financial services they need.
Hong Kong banks and financial institutions are actively countering this threat by upgrading their own user interfaces and moving more of their interactions to mobile and digital. Which is good news for IT and technology professionals experienced in these new technologies – this level of momentum within the fintech and financial services industries is driving strong demand for highly skilled technology professionals.
The best way to start exploring opportunities within the fintech area is to do your research. Find out as much as you can about fintech companies you’re interested in working for, monitor their company stock performance, if they’re listed, and read what’s being reported about them and the wider fintech industry in financial newspapers and online news sites.
Secondly, talk to a professional recruiter specialising in financial services about your career options. They’ll have the expertise and knowledge of the up-and-coming companies within financial services and fintech, and will be able to guide you in the direction of making the right career move. You may even have access to job openings that haven’t even been advertised yet.